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Exclusive: Radio Technology Startup Inntot Bags Funding From Unicorn India

Exclusive: Radio Technology Startup Inntot Bags Funding From Unicorn India

Unicorn India had previously led Inntot’s seed funding round back in 2018

The radio tech company plans to raise its Series A funding round next year to boost business

Inntot develops software solutions negate the use of specialised hardware chipsets, which in turn reduces the cost of digital radio receivers

Kochi-based radio technology company Inntot has raised an undisclosed amount from Unicorn India, who had led the company’s seed round in 2018. The recent fundraiser is a part of the bridge round before the company can open up its Series A round.

Inntot had planned to raise its Series A funding round this year, however, the plans have been kept on the backseat due to the pandemic. The company plans to use this funding for product development, business development and financing their solutions that are underway.

The company has four patents two in India and two in the US. The company plans to raise Series A funding to file for more patents and clock in more royalty deals.

The investment was a part of Unicorn India’s fund I. The company is currently raising INR 400 Cr Fund II, and which has invested in insurtech startup Fedo, blockchain startup ChitMonks, IoT startup Probus Smart Things and others.

Overall, fund II had announced its first close at INR 90 Cr, and has invested in six startups so far. It focuses mainly on Pre Series A and Series A investments rounds across sectors such as SaaS, fintech, healthtech, robotics, gaming and digital content.

Inntot Technology was founded in 2014 by two former Wipro employees Prasanth Thankappan and Rajith Nair to revolutionise the way radio content is consumed in India. The company develops software solutions to negate the use of specialised hardware chipsets with an aim to reduce the cost of digital radio receivers for original equipment manufacturers (OEM).

The company currently has three types of clients, namely home consumer electronics OEMs, OEMs of solutions for automobiles, and smartphone manufacturers. The company’s biggest client is the automobile sector, and includes names like Faurecia-owned car navigation unit Clarion (formerly owned by Hitachi), and South Korean chipmaker Telechips.

As Covid-19 may pose personal vehicles as a safe bet, the company has started noticing an increase in queries from this segment. Besides, digital radio may also become an effective solution for remote education.

Commenting on the latest fundraise, Anil Joshi, managing partner of Unicorn India, said, “At the time of [first] investment the company was at the development stage and since investment, the company has rolled out products which have been deployed in many cars. The company works with many OEM for leading car companies. Now in the process of deploying technology in a million cars.”

How Does Inntot Work?

A normal analog radio works on Amplitude Modulation (AM) and Frequency Modulation (FM). AM is the first mention used for the audio radio transmission for news and bulletins, it has a range of 200-300 Km for Medium Wave and Thousands of Kilometres for Shortwave, however, it is very noisy due to interference. Meanwhile, FM has a range of only 60 Kms which creates dropouts on highways, underground structures and remote areas.

Meanwhile, FM, which is used by current channels like Radio Mirchi and Fever 104, has limitations in content broadcasting and the number of channels.

In comparison to analog transmission, digital radio offers many advantages. For instance, it is possible to have 3-4 channels on a single frequency carrier depending if it’s FM or AM broadcast respectively. The digital radio technology will help broadcasters in the transmission of different kinds of data together such as music, news and traffic updates, and graphics-based advertisements.

Beyond entertainment, digital radio can also act as an emergency warning system that will give alerts in both switched-on radio or the one in the standby state. It will continuously issue warnings to listeners within a range of 300 km in the event of natural disasters.

Inntot Technologies provides software-enabled IP solutions for Digital Mondiale (DRM) receivers enabled receivers and ISDB-T (a technical standard for digital TV broadcast) Digital Television paving the way to digital radio transmission.

The company is facilitating software-defined radio (SDR) based DRM+ Receiver solution, wherein the software can be embedded directly to the fixed receivers, automotive/in-car radios, smartphones, as well as USB dongles.

These SDR solutions cover several digital radio broadcast standard and geographies, namely DRM in India, Russia, South Africa and Indonesia; DAB/DAB+ (Digital Audio Broadcasting) in Europe, Australia and Middle East, HD-Radio in USA, Canada and Mexico; and CDR (China Digital Radio) in China.

Inntot’s software solution can also help OEMs, radio receiver manufacturers, and semiconductor chip manufacturers in doing away with recurring costs of the demodulator chip that will reduce the bills of material. Inntot could support customers in porting SDR on different platforms, system integration and field testing.

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