After acquired Unicom Techlabs Pvt. Ltd. in January 2014, Knowlarity Communications, Asian cloud telephony company, has now announced the acquisition of Delhi-based Smartwards, a customer engagement platform that simplifies loyalty for local businesses and their customers. As part of the move, Shantanu Mathur and Dhanraj Singh Bisht - the co-founders of Smartwards, will lead the India operations for Knowlarity. The deal will see Knowlarity integrating the Smartwards product and technology into its own product ecosystem to provide enterprise software solutions to small & medium businesses.
Smartwards started operations in 2013 with a team of 6. The company‘s proprietary technology enables SMBs to identify, reward, engage customers, in-store and out-of-store. With presence in over 150 locations across 8 cities, Smartwards provided engagement solutions to local businesses, including restaurants, cafes, cinemas, salons and retail outlets.
Commenting on the acquisition, Ambarish Gupta, CEO and Founder, Knowlarity said, “We are thrilled to welcome Shantanu, Dhanraj and their team on board at Knowlarity. We look forward to working with the Smartwards team and utilize its expertise. Shantanu and Dhanraj are solid entrepreneurs who are early movers in the space and do not shy away from tackling complicated problems. We look forward to them driving the core communication business in India and utilize their experience in developing more analytical tools. We will continue to use acquisitions as a natural extension of our strategy to further build capabilities and acquire top talent.”
In his new role as Country Head, Shantanu Mathur said, “The Smartwards team is very excited and is looking forward to being a part of the Knowlarity family. We share the larger vision of tackling this unique opportunity, not only in India but world over. Our journey in building a strong B2B2C product has been quite fascinating. We realized early, that to make a successful product for the Indian customer, one has to solve the problem in-depth and at-scale. However, the SME is not an easy market to crack in India and thus we were looking to move to a larger platform. With Knowlarity, we get the freedom and agility of a start up in a well-established organization.”
Knowlarity was founded by Ambarish Gupta in 2009 to solve the pain points of managing calls and SMSes for companies, without getting into the hassles of a full-fledged call center or having to be bound to one phone. In the past 7 years, Knowlarity has grown into a 450 member powerhouse with more than 15,000 customers across 65 countries. Knowlarity is backed by Sequoia Capital and Mayfield.
The other players which operates in cloud telephony space are Exotel Techcom Pvt. Ltd and Ozonetel Systems Pvt. Ltd. These companies have also made acquisitions in the last couple of years. Exotel acquired a platform that helps businesses collect customer feedback, Voyce in 2015 and Ozonetel bought the speech recognition business of Yantra Software, a provider of speech and voice technology products and services, two years back.