Firstouch, India’s first and only fully indigenous mobile operating system targeted at enabling the next 500 million users to connect to the internet in their native language, today crossed the 1-million user mark in just a 100 days.
The company offers a comprehensive platform for the first-time, non-English speaking smartphone user, including not only a local language interface, but a highly simplified user experience, a local language app store and full translation.Firstouch’s vision is to bridge India’s digital divide by bringing millions of rural consumers online.
The company was founded by Rakesh Deshmukh, Akash Dongre and Sudhir Bangarambandi from IIT Bombay and just closed an angel round led by leading technology entrepreneurs and investors, including Kunal Bahl and Rohit Bansal from Snapdeal, Pranay Chulet from Quikr, Naveen Tiwari and Amit Gupta from Inmobi and Mayank Singhal from Temasek.
“AtFirstouch, we have developed the most superior language capabilities across a multitude of Indian languages, but have also customized and enhanced the functional and user aspects keeping in mind the unique needs of a first time smartphone consumer who has never interacted with technology.” said Akash Dongre, the company’s COO.
The company took over three years to develop its core product, including building a repository of over two million words across various Indic scripts to be able to offer a fully functional keyboard, autocorrect and suggestions, matra predictions and complete translation and transliteration. In addition to its language functionalities, it also has a thriving developer ecosystem with developers creating mobile apps in many regional languages for the Firstouch App Store (called App Bazaar), which has recorded over 1.5 million app downloads since inception. The company is also in discussion with a number of strategic partners and businesses that are looking to create a strong reach in to the next 500 million internet users that will come online from India’s remote corners and transact via the FirstTouch platform.
Another local language player, Reverie raised $4mn in Series A from Aspada and Qualcomm Ventures.