US-based global tech giant Google has acquired Where Is My Train app for around INR 280 crores ($30-$40 million). Bengaluru-based Sigmoid Labs, the company behind Where Is My Train app was founded by five former members of TiVo corporations and is a lean startup with only 10 members in the team.
“We’re excited to share that Sigmoid Labs, the team behind the “Where is my train” app, is joining Google,” the company shared in a post. “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,” it added.
Founded in 2016, Where Is My Train gathers information from cell phone towers and tell users where a particular train is located. The USP of the application is that it can function even without an internet connection or GPS. The app allows users to create and set alarms which alerts them if the train is near the destination.
Apart from displaying the location of the train, the application also provides information like PNR status, train schedules, and coach and platform numbers. The application has more than 10 million downloads on the Google Play store and is considered one of the highest rated travel apps in the country.
But why is Google interested in the product? If we look into the Google acquisition strategy, we can see that Google cares about data. Earlier, the firm has acquired a majority stake in Dunzo to understand the urban consumer market in India. After that, it acquired a stake in Fynd to understand the behaviour of e-commerce shoppers. And with the acquisition of Where Is My Train app, Google is trying to tap into India’s Tier 2 rail passengers.
Google has been showing a keen interest in the Indian Railways for some time now. It has contributed to the ambitious RailTel program to enable free WiFi access at railway stations across India. And why it should leave the railways, as India’s train network is among the largest in the world, and finding the location of trains is worth a lot of money.
Google is also focused to build features that would make users access its services without an internet connection. It has introduced a feature to view YouTube videos offline with basic phones. The acquisition of Where Is My Train is a clear indication that startups focused on solving India-specific problems can also draw the attention of multinational corporations in the future.