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The disruption of the good-enough £30 tablet and the IPO
Jun 19, 2014 // Reviews //

You may have already read the Housing Tech Blog post on the £30 Tablet or Brett Sadler’s post on the same subject, but if not, they are certainly worth a read as they both review what is currently the worlds cheapest tablet on the market, both with positive outcomes.

7Ci

Datawind, which manufacturer the low cost entry-level device, was founded in 2000 by two brothers Suneet Singh Tuli and Raja Tuli. Both Canadian Citizens, born in India and with the Datawind company being registered in the UK – largely because of Canada’s conservative venture capital market. So far, the company has been privately owned, mainly manufacturing the devices for India where the government subsidise the cost of the tablets down to between US$20 and US$35 to encourage college and university students to get online. Digital Inclusion on a mass scale!

In December 2013, Datawind opened up the products to the UK market and that’s when our review of the Ubislate 7Ci took place.

As can be read in the review, we were very impressed with the device for such a low cost, could this be the answer to Digital Inclusion in the UK? But what about the company? Would organisations be purchasing devices on a large scale only to find the Company out of business in 18 months time, were they a fly-by-night outfit or was there more substance to the organisation behind the worlds cheapest tablet? They had certainly cracked the Indian market, with the help of the government, but how were they going to fair on the UK market?

Well recent news suggests that they are not going anywhere. The company has filed documents to sell between 5.2m and 6.3m shares in Canada and become listed on the Toronto Stock Exchange. The IPO price will be between C$4.75 and C$5.75 a share. Based on the mid-point of the offering size and price range, Datawind would be raising US$27m and have a post IPO value of US$107m.

CEO, Suneet Singh Tuli, was also awarded the ‘Intelligent Community of the Year’ Visionary of the Year award last week in Toronto, another accolade for the CEO and the company.

Tuli is now calling for “the disruption of the good-enough” to improve lives of those who are digitally excluded.

The company is clearly in it for the long haul. There has been little said around how Datawind will use the fundraising proceeds, but is is almost certain that they will invest in R&D and improving manufacturing processes in India. Their products will undoubtedly reduce in cost as they buy components in mass, and streamline manufacturing. There is already talk of the £30 tablet being the £20 tablet this time next year.

So no concerns of the viability of Datawind nor their products. Disposable tech is here and it is here to stay.


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