Akshay Kumar invests undisclosed amount in GOQii
Bollywood superstar Akshay Kumar has invested an undisclosed amount in GOQii, as part of the home-grown wearable devices maker’s ongoing Series C funding round in which it is aiming to raise $50-$70 million.
Vishal Gondal, chief executive of GOQii, confirmed to ET that Kumar had come on board as an investor and strategic advisor, but declined to comment on its ongoing funding round citing confidentiality.
“We are extremely happy to have Akshay Kumar as part of our GOQii Family. He personifies the values that GOQii stands for and is a living example of what we advocate – Exercise, Eat healthy and rest well,” Gondal said in a written statement to ET. “GOQii is committed to making the world a healthy and happy place, with Akshay Kumar we will get there soon.”
Akshay Kumar said, “I believe in the GOQii preventive health ecosystem, and am proud to be associated with such a passionate team. Health is not a short term goal and can be achieved by adopting a healthy lifestyle.”
According to sources aware of the developments, the Mumbai and Palo Alto-based company is in talks with multiple parties to raise its new round of equity financing, and has mandated GCA Corp to scout for fresh investors.
The new round, sources said, which comes about eight months after GOQii raised over $30 million, may be led by Japanese conglomerate Mitsui & Co, an existing investor in the company, with a number of insurance and healthcare companies also in play to invest in the company.
GOQii competes with the likes of global fitness trackers FitBit and China’s Xiaomi.
The insurance sector is key for GOQii, which has also partnered with Max Bupa, given that its data is used by companies operating in the space for risk profiling and underwriting, including calculating premiums, among other use cases.
“Insurance, actually, is going to be our biggest play. We expect to launch several insurance products, which are currently in various stages of approvals with the IRDA, with different insurance companies over the next three to six months,” Gondal told ET in an earlier conversation.
The new round, which is likely to close by August, could potentially value the company at about $200 million, double of what it commanded last time round, the sources added. ET, however, could not independently verify this.
Its existing set of investors, which includes DSG Consumer Partners, NEA, Edelweiss Financial Services and Cheetah Mobile also participated in the financing round, as did Paytm founder Vijay Shekhar Sharma and Tata Group chairman emeritus Ratan Tata, both early backers of the company.
This comes even as the four-year-old company prepares to make its entry into Japan in August, a market it has identified as a core one alongside India. GOQii has set up its Japanese subsidiary, GOQii KK, in partnership with Mitsui. It is also launching in Hong Kong, Singapore and Malaysia in July.
The company, which has a user base of about 2.7 million, is targeting to grow the same to 10 million by the end of the current financial year.
Source: ET Tech