18 Apr 2019

Source : Mergermarket

Unlimit, a Mumbai-headquartered enterprise internet-of-things (IoT) company, is considering an inorganic growth strategy as part of its next stages development, said CEO Juergen Hase.

The firm, a unit of Indian conglomerate Reliance ADA Group, has embedded over 500 certified IoT partners on to its technology platform, the CEO said, adding that Unlimit has reviewed its portfolio and is aware of the specific areas it could look to bolster through acquisitions or minority investments.

While IoT connectivity related innovations, like in car streaming capabilities, are still important companies with access to unique connected data resources, data collection and analytics-related firms are particularly interesting, he said. Indian targets are also easier to consider, due to being closer to the company’s team for integration and collaboration, but it can look further afield, Hase added.

Unlimit has been approached by sellside advisors in the past, but has so far turned down offers as they failed to understand the company’s gaps, he explained. The company has also received offers from smaller IoT-related firms that want access to Unlimit’s network and capabilities.

The firm has not set a size or budget as it wants to remain flexible for the right target, Hase noted. The Reliance Group-backed firm is not in a dire need of capital and has ample resources to carry out its strategic plans, he added.
The global IoT market comprises fragmented niche players that address very specific problems. As the market has gained popularity and matured, further consolidation between players in the space is only natural, he noted.

Unlimit is targeting to capture over USD 200m in contract orders by the end of 2020, Hase said, adding the company is well on its way to achieve this. It has around 100 large enterprise clients.
The company currently has 80 staff and is looking to have around 180 in the next 12 months, noted the CEO.

As Unlimit has built up its own technology stack and is integrated with a diverse range of IoT related players, it has been able to scan the market and test new
technologies, prior to embedding their capabilities on to its platform, he explained. This allows Unlimit to identify potential technologies and synergies, Hase added.
Some partners include, India-headquartered Roambee, Dynalog, Stesalit, and Allied Digital [NSE:ADSL], as well as Taiwan headquartered Advantech [TPE:2395], and Hong Kong-headquartered maestro, according to its website. In 2017, Unlimit also announced commercial strategic partnerships with IBM’s [NYSE:IBM] Watson and Software AG [ETR:SOW]owned IoT software developer Cumulocity, the CEO added.
According to Hase, Unlimit is now ready to take its next steps for its growth plans. Part of this move is entering further into “data-as-a-service”, where it is looking to build a comprehensive data lake for building its own product capabilities and providing others access to use it as well, he noted.

Towards the end of 2018, Unlimit also started looking at expanding into new markets overseas, the CEO said. Much of this has been driven by its existing client base that has operations in markets like Indonesia, South Africa, the Middle East and North America, Hase said, adding that Unlimit is yet to finalise its overseas expansion plan.

The tech firm is setting up an R&D center in Bangalore next month. In the center, it will develop in-house technologies, especially for edge computing-related innovations, where solutions need to focus on intelligent compute in low power situations, he noted. Real time cyber-security technologies are also a key developing area in the enterprise IoT space, he added.

Further, Hase said that Unlimit has also focused its portfolio to cover three primary enterprise verticals – connected automobiles, industrial automation or “Industry 4.0” and transport & logistics. The company had previously covered a wider scope that included verticals like Banking & Financial Services (BFSI), Energy and even Healthcare. However, these are now part of Unlimit’s “Special Projects” vertical, he added.

According to Hase, the move made sense, given the synergies between its three focused verticals and its core expertise in these segments. Several of its industrial and manufacturing clients also deal closely with logistics and transportation as part of their supply chains, he said. This end-to-end connectivity, data analytics and hardware solution create a comprehensive offering, he noted.

In November 2016, Reliance Group launched Unlimit as an independent venture in strategic partnership with California-headquartered Cisco Jasper, a subsidiary of Cisco Systems [NADAQ:CSCO], to provide enterprise IoT services, according to a
Cisco press release at the time. The CEO did not reveal further details.