Fri | Sep 22, 2017

ICD takes a stake in Amber Connect

Published:Friday | July 29, 2016 | 7:00 AMNeville Graham
The Amber Connect vehicle tracker is seen on display at its unveiling on October 6, 2015 in New Kingston.

Jamaican conglomerate ICD Group Holdings has taken a minority stake in Amber Connect Limited, a provider of vehicle tracking and security solutions for both consumers and large commercial fleets.

ICD Group CEO Peter Melhado would not be drawn on the value of the purchase or the magnitude of ICD's interest in Amber, saying only that "it's a significant minority position".

The deal was initially disclosed in a release in which Melhado noted that what Amber Connect has to offer made a compelling case for a partnership with far-reaching potential.

The tech company founded by Dushyant Savadia is just months into its start-up, having launched into business in February - the product itself was first unveiled last October - but has already grown beyond its Jamaican market and is distributing its tracker in parts of Europe and elsewhere.

"It is very rare for us to see an early-stage company with such compelling technology," said Melhado.

"Amber Connect has the opportunity to disrupt the traditional way of monitoring and securing vehicles by providing an affordable, user-directed platform that is unlike any other we have seen in the many markets we have studied. Its partnership with Viezu in the UK, a leading aftermarket service provider, bears out the quality of the application and its ability to compete in more developed markets."

ICD Group Holdings Limited is a Jamaican company that has investments in home building and construction, general insurance, insurance broking and property management. They have more recently diversified into e-commerce and business process outsourcing.

"ICD is interested in investing in technology-focused businesses that can be internationally competitive," said Melhado. "We believe Amber Connect has world-class technology and addresses a genuine consumer need across many markets. It is an early-stage business, but we expect strong growth in the short to medium term, given the evidence at hand."

Savadia, who is both founder and CEO of Amber Connect, said that his company has global ambitions that ICD can assist to realise.

"ICD fits all of our requirements for a partner, particularly with regard to our global ambitions for Amber Connect. In the months leading up to the investment, we have secured relationships in the Spanish-speaking Caribbean and Latin America, through their connections in the region," Savadia said.

While Amber is a Jamaican company, Savadia has immediately positioned it as one serving a global market.

"We want to bring easily accessible and affordable smart security to the global landscape. We have successfully launched in Trinidad, UK, Ireland and Estonia. We are also currently in negotiations with partners in several countries in South America, South and East Africa and others," he said.

Savadia also plans to expand beyond vehicle tracking and fleet management services.

"In a short span of time, we pioneered with feature-rich product suites for both personal and fleet management vehicle-tracking solutions. Amber Connect is also about to launch smart home-security solutions as well as a wide range of personal security devises for business, as well as for kids and the elderly," he said.

Amber Connect Limited's head office is located in New Kingston. It also has a corps of developers at its offices in India. Savadia is an Indian now resident in Jamaica.

The Amber tracker, a mobile application with a desktop companion, allows individuals and fleet managers to monitor their vehicle from their mobile devices. The product allows live tracking, remote engine shutdown and real-time vehicle and driver-behaviour alerts.

neville.graham@gleanerjm.com