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Keydroid is on a mission to modernise the humble car keys

Gurugram-based Keydroid offers five variants of smart keys, with prices ranging from Rs 14,000 to Rs 17,000, and has sold close to 3,000 keys so far.

Keydroid is on a mission to modernise the humble car keys

Monday May 13, 2024 , 5 min Read

The automotive industry is evolving, revving with innovation which is fuelled by electric vehicles and the growth of autonomous vehicles, structural design using carbon fibre, and diversified sources of fuel like hydrogen.

However, despite the trend towards luxurious and technologically advanced vehicles, Rajat Jaiswal, an airline pilot and automotive enthusiast, identified that car keys have remained relatively unchanged and lacked customisation.

In 2020, amid the COVID-19 pandemic, Jaiswal began working to address this gap in the automotive accessory market. A year later, he developed a fully functional prototype of a smart key, marking the inception of Keydroid.

“We aim to revolutionise the car accessory market by offering a solution for upgrading the car key itself—a gap that car owners often face when upgrading other vehicle components like alloys, tyres, and stereo systems,” Jaiswal, Founder and CEO, Keydroid, tells YourStory.

The founders bootstrapped the startup with an initial investment of around Rs 50 lakh from personal savings and a loan.

What does it offer?

The Gurugram-based startup offers five smart key variants—Tron, Nova, Blade, Edge, and Slate, with pricing ranging from Rs 14,000 to Rs 17,000. It has introduced a limited edition Gold Tron variant with a satin gold finish.

The keys feature proximity lock, safety window lock, auto window shut-on locking, UI HD full touch display, USB charging port, phone number display to track lost keys, valet management, and car tracking. It also offers more than 200 days of battery backup.

“To upgrade, customers can order a smart key by placing an order on the website and sending a car key via the insured method. After receiving, the key undergoes a conversion process to become a smart key, which typically takes a couple of hours,” explains Jaiswal.

“A fully functional smart key is shipped back to the customer's address, and the process is reversible for future restoration,” he adds.

Keydroid

Keydroid keys

The startup's products also feature proximity locks that lock the vehicle when the key moves away and unlock it when it comes close as per a user-adjustable trigger circle. Additionally, it uses Bluetooth-based trigger circles to activate key functions when the user is near the vehicle.

Keydroid has installed a ‘KeyBridge’ device for car keys’ software upgradation by connecting the original key's PCB (Printed Circuit Board) to the Keydroid system. This integration doesn't require any modifications to the car and is reversible.

Security and access

Keydroid's smart key allows for remote monitoring through its Push Start system, which is equipped with a 4G system and data SIM card.

“The remote monitoring feature allows users to unlock, lock, or start their vehicle in Delhi from London, providing peace of mind and keeping them informed about the security status of their vehicle, even when they're not physically present,” adds the founder.

Additionally, the key prevents the screen from turning off if the battery drops below reserve levels. The system also reverts to the same functionality in case of screen damage, preventing security breaches.

Keys for each car

With its manufacturing unit located in Noida, Keydroid creates custom car key fobs based on specific vehicle models, with its manufacturing tailored to cater to the specifications of each car model, integrating its features.

“Also, we provide customers with a wide range of customisation options for their car key fobs, allowing them to match the exact shade code of their vehicle,” Jaiswal says.

The keys come with a one-year warranty, which can be extended to two years, and lifetime service support.

Keydroid's sub-brand Nerve offers a diverse range of car fragrances including electrical diffusers, hanging diffusers, and mist sprays. It also provides a leather case, dual dashcam with auto-dimming mirror, and keyfinder location tracker.

Business model

Keydroid generates revenue through sales of smart car key products, services like repairs and extended warranties, installation charges for push start systems, and accessories. The startup has sold nearly 3,000 keys so far and is adding 100-150 new users to its platform monthly.

With only eight months of sales, the company has recorded a total turnover of Rs 1 crore, with sales growing at a rate of 20% quarterly.

Keydroid targets revenue of Rs 50 lakh in the first quarter of FY25 and Rs 60 lakh in the following quarter. It aims to meet these targets with the introduction of new product categories, increased inventory, and the launch of a budget-friendly key variant called Keydroid Hexa.

It sells its products through its website as well as on Amazon. Keydroid has 18 offline stores and plans to expand its dealership network to 50-55 locations across India within a year.

However, establishing an efficient supply chain hasn’t been easy. The startup faced logistics challenges, especially in handling customer key collection and transportation to the lab for transformation.

”Overcoming this hurdle necessitated substantial digitisation and automation efforts, ultimately leading to streamlined operations and enhanced business processes for the company,” Jaiswal notes.

The startup, with a team of 15 employees, competes with players such as Gurugram-based Grandpitshop, Boodmo, and Rartogo. Keydroid says it stands out with touchscreen smart keys and premium car accessories.

Way ahead

According to Jaiswal, the automotive aftermarket industry is experiencing rapid growth, with India contributing nearly $2 billion to the global market, driven by rising disposable incomes of the middle class and a growing demand for car customisation and comfort enhancements.

The startup is working on developing a key, priced at Rs 6,499, with built-in breathalysers to test alcohol levels.

Keydroid plans to enhance its range of car fragrances by offering more choices and innovative diffusion methods. Additionally, it aims to introduce its own line of dashcams, customised car covers, and LED lights.

The company plans to expand its reach to markets like the UAE, Oman, Europe, and the UK.

In the coming years, it also plans to establish Keydroid Superstores as an automotive accessory shop, offering a range of useful gadgets.


Edited by Kanishk Singh