Google has never made any bones about the fact that India remains one of the critical markets as far as investment is concerned. The search giant on Monday once again reaffirmed this fact by acquiring Bengaluru based Sigmoid Labs, which operates the popular train tracking app ‘Where is my Train.’
Google has done this acquisition as part of its ‘Next Billion Users’ initiative, which is focused on developing products and services to increase internet penetration across the emerging markets.
The financial details of the acquisition have not been disclosed, but Economic Times claims the value of acquisition to be around $30-$40 Mn.
Sigmoid Labs announced about the acquisition news on company’s official website earlier today.
“We can think of no better place to help us achieve our mission, and we’re excited to join Google to help bring technology and information into more people’s hands,” company’s founders wrote.
Google, on other hand, said that it will “continue to build on app’s current offerings,” potentially ruling out any major changes in the app in the short run.
Where is my Train app happens to be one of India’s most popular train tracking apps. This app that can be currently used only on Android phones boasts more than 10 Mn users across India. It helps in making commuting through Indian trains a more hassle free experience by notifying the users about exact arrival and departure of trains. Users can get this information by merely inserting source and destination or even partial names of the trains.
The app’s ability to offer precise information about the arrival and departure of Indian trains is not a small achievement given that nearly 14,000 trains commute across different parts of India on daily basis.
So what does Google’s latest Acquisition Indicates?
It surely indicates that in future Google may be more than willing to take bets on some of high profile areas; for instance the ride-hailing, payment, entertainment so and so forth. Owing to India’s growing internet penetration, there is abundance of investment options available for the search engine giant.
Interestingly enough, earlier this year when Walmart – Flipkart deal was hogging all the limelight speculations were quite rife that Google may end up taking a minority stake in India’s homegrown retail giant. However, so far nothing concrete has happened on this front and now it appears that Google has completely shelved the plan to pick minority stake in Flipkart.
Overall, Google’s investment journey in India has been quite low profile. Unlike Alibaba and Walmart, it has shied away from investing in India’s well-known startups. Rather it has chosen to take bets on emerging startups that are still far from acquiring the glamorous tag of unicorn. This includes startups like O2O e-commerce platform Fynd and Chat-based hyperlocal services app Dunzo.
Last year Google also acqui-hired Bengaluru based artificial intelligence company Halli Labs.