The Taiwanese electronics giant is spreading its wealth across Asia. As it tries to acquire big brand Sharp, it also wants its hands on the pulse of local technology
Taipei is producing a lot of technology under the radar and it is time the world took notice. Athentek, a Taiwanese smart location technology that networks between family members to feed each other their locations, just scored $7 million in Series A funding led by Taiwan manufacturing giant Foxconn.
The new funding will go toward expanding their design, research and marketing teams in the United States. Athentek was co-founded by CN Chen and is led by CEO Yi-Hsiu Wang. Athentek just launched their first wearable solution, Circo. They are selling through csl Mobile and that company’s physical stores. The round was also joined by the Testrite Group, CSVi Capital and MediaTek Inc.
Athentek debuted their technology at the Hong Kong Pet Show at the Hong Kong Convention and Exhibition Centre that took place February 19-21, showing off how it can be used with dogs. Their gelocation uses GPS, AGPS, WiFi and Cell ID to nail down accurate positioning for the elderly, kids and pets. It’s a fairly advanced concept that allows parents to mark so-called safe zones by map on the Circo app, then receive notifications if their kids pull a Tommy Pickles and go on an adventure. The battery should last up to three days on pets outside, up to five in safe zone mode for kids and up to six if left on standby.
The obvious reason for the wearable trackers is to make sure kids are safe, pets haven’t run away and to keep track of elderly loved ones with memory issues.
Foxconn locks up local tech as it battles for Asia
Foxconn is one of the more prominent electronics manufacturing companies in Taiwan with clients running the gamut with Apple, Blackberry, Nokia and Nintendo. Their investments have become increasingly prolific since late 2014. Recent infusions include WiZN Systems, Cedexis, Qikpod, Nucleus, Yunmake and a colossal lead in a $500 million round for Snapdeal. They have invested hundreds of millions of dollars across Asia with major plans to invest $5 billion across the Indian state of Maharashtra. At the moment, the company is currently locked in a bidding war with rival South Korean company Samsung to buy the debt-ridden Sharp corporation: Foxconn is reportedly offering $5 billion for Sharp.
“Our terms and conditions are much much better than competitors,” Foxconn Technology Group Chairman Terry Gou said at the end of January. “We don’t want to destroy this company, we want to keep it.”
A recent analysis by the Financial Times estimates Foxconn is trying to diversify its holdings following Apple’s decision to let multiple manufacturers produce iPhones and iPads. The company is also trying to reduce its dependence on Chinese manufacturing, which is getting more expensive. This seemingly innocuous investment in a local tech startup like Athentek is actually part of a much grander strategy.
“We are very excited to launch Circo, a smart tracker pushing user experience to the next level with intelligent positioning and behavioral analysis algorithms,” said Athentek CEO Yi-Hsiu Wang. “We are equally thrilled to be recognized by these industry leaders participating in our first round of financing. Our goal is simply to make everyday life easier and safer.”