Billionaire Mukesh Ambani-controlled Reliance Industries (RIL) digital services arm Jio Platforms is reportedly all set to pump in up to $200 million in Bengaluru-based venture capital (VC) fund Kalaari Capital in an attempt to cement its place in India’s fast-growing e-commerce sector.
The Mumbai-based oil-to-telecom conglomerate has already made an investment of $100-million, with an additional commitment of $100 million scheduled for later.
“Kalaari has communicated to multiple venture funds about racking up $100 million from Reliance, with the rest of the capital… to come in over the next year,” a person familiar with the matter told ET on the condition of anonymity as the discussions are private.
Serial entrepreneur and venture capitalist Vani Kola-led Kalaari Capital will decide to raise the second tranche over the next 12-18 months from either Reliance or external sponsors, the business daily mentioned citing a source with knowledge of the matter.
It is worth mentioning here that in the past decade the venture capital fund came into prominence by supporting several e-commerce startups, including Snapdeal, Urban Ladder and Myntra. Plus, the venture capital firm backed unicorns such as online gaming platform Dream11.
Following Reliance’s infusion of $100 million in Kalaari as its anchor investor or limited partner, the transaction will emerge as one of the largest commitments by an Indian business group in a VC firm.
In an emailed response to the financial daily, a Reliance Industries (RIL) spokesperson said: “Reliance remains committed to supporting the build-up of a thriving startup ecosystem in India, particularly in the digital enablement space, and will continue to explore various avenues to do so.”
Reliance’s fund infusion comes after some of Kalaari’s portfolio companies such as furniture and home décor retailer Urban Ladder and lingerie retailer Zivame were acquired by units of RIL.
The daily quoted an unnamed source as saying, “Reliance’s investment in Kalaari will give the company an early line of sight into startups and upcoming sectors. RIL won’t necessarily acquire all the companies in which Kalaari invests, but it will certainly act as a discovery pipeline.” TimesNowNews