Reliance Industries Ltd (RIL) is to invest $200 million in Bengaluru-based Kalaari Capital’s domestic Venture Capital fund, even as the company led by India’s richest man Mukesh Ambani has provided the first tranche of $100 million.
The balance $100 million would be invested over the next one-year period. The funding would be provided through Jio Platforms Ltd (JPL), the holding company of all digital initiatives of the group, sources close to the development said.
This follows RIL acquiring controlling stake in four Kalaari-backed start-ups — Urban Ladder, Embibe, Haptik, and Zivame – and reportedly to be in talks to acquire a stake in MilkBasket. Bengaluru-based dairy start-up MilkBasket had earlier raised $7 million in a Series A funding led by Kalaari Capital.
“Reliance remains committed to supporting the build out of a thriving start-up ecosystem in India, particularly in the digital enablement space, and will continue to explore various avenues to do so,” an RIL spokesperson said. Mails sent by BusinessLine to Kalaari Capital went unanswered.
Kalaari Capital, an early-stage VC firm, founded by founded by venture capitalist Vani Kola was looking to raise its fourth fund of $200 million. The company would also look at investors other than RIL to raise the remaining $100 million. Its portfolio companies include Dream11, Cashkaro.com, Cure.fit, Scoopwhoop and Myntra among others.
In April 2019, RIL through its subsidiary Reliance Jio Digital Services Ltd acquired an 87 per cent stake in artificial intelligence chatbot company Haptik Infotech Pvt Ltd for ₹700 crore. During the same month, RIL had invested an additional ₹500 crore in education start-up Embibe, which followed a ₹90- crore investment in February.
In November 2020, RIL’s retail subsidiary Reliance Retail Ventures Ltd (RRVL) bought a 96 per cent stake in online furniture seller Urban Ladder Home Decor Solutions Pvt. Ltd for ₹182.12 crore. During the same month, RIL said in an exchange filing, it acquired a minority stake in Actoserba Active Wholesale, which owns and operates online lingerie store Zivame.
In 2020, RIL – through its two wholly-owned subsidiaries JPL and RRVL – raised a total of $27.3 billion in fresh capital. RIL pared a total of 43.06 per cent stake (32.97 per cent in JPL and 10.09 per cent in RRVL).