Chinese hardware accelerator HAX to invest in 10 Indian startups in 2017

Benjamin-Joffe,-Partner-at-HAX

Benjamin Joffe, Partner, HAX

Benjamin Joffe, Partner, HAX

HAX, one of the largest hardware accelerators and most active hardware seed investors in the world, plans to make at least 10 investments in India in the coming year.

The company, that has already made its bets on two Indian IoT startups in recent months, wants to make as many investments in India as it does in China, Benjamin Joffe, Partner at HAX told Techcircle.

“We hope our partners here in India will identify at least 10 good investment opportunities for us next year. That will represent 10% of our global investments, which is as many as we do in China,” Joffe said.

HAX has already selected two startups from India for its programme. Last month, it has invested $100,000 (about Rs 66 lakh) in Bengaluru-based Ray IoT, a non-contact baby monitoring technology solutions company. It also has selected Mumbai-based health-tech startup Diabeto for its boost camp in San Francisco. Diabeto is a hardware device, which wirelessly transmits blood glucose readings from a glucometer into a smartphone which can be analysed with the help of a smartphone application.

The Shenzhen- and San Francisco-based firm is backed by venture capital firm SOS Ventures, which, with a $250 million fund, typically invests in early-stage IoT, robotics, health-tech, infrastructure and fabrication technologies. It has so far invested in 200 startups globally. It focuses on five categories – IoT, robotics, health-tech, infrastructure and fabrication technologies. Half of its investments are in the US and the remaining half spread across the rest of the world.

HAX has recently signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU) with TIE IoT Forum to collaborate in market assessment and technology assimilation covering a range of IoT segments. In particular, IoT Forum will coach and help HAX select Indian startups for their programmes.

“This year, we started to look closely at India, where we feel the hardware and IoT technologies are growing really fast. The sector is very active in the grassroots level in India and that’s very important for us because we invest very early on in companies, basically in proof-of-concept projects,” he said.

HAX runs two program – an accelerator program in Shenzhen, China and a boost camp at San Francisco in US. In Shenzhen, it’s a 4-month acceleration programme where the selected early-stage startups will be housed in its offices in Shenzhen, and the company will invest up to $100,000 for 9% equity. The San Francisco programme is a scaling boost camp, which doesn’t involve cash investments, but the company takes 3% equity for an in-house six weeks programme that will offer startups greater exposure to different global markets.

He thinks the most active sectors in the hardware space in India are agri-tech, industry, and IoT security. “Each country is different and has its own problems to solve. In India, industry and agriculture are very important. Health-tech is also an emerging IoT focus in India, especially in diabetes and heart disease segments,” he added.

Joffe said the fund is global and agnostic in terms of geography, age and gender. He added that the company would invest the whole amount in India if it feels the best opportunities are here. HAX also does follow-on investments of up to $200,000 in startups that it finds interesting.

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