RIL Mukesh Ambani

Reliance Industries announced that it is setting up a Rs 5,000 crore venture capital firm which will invest in Indian startups over the next five years. “We also have plans to partner with thousands of Indian entrepreneurs, whose digital ventures can bloom in the ground that Jio is preparing,” Reliance Industries chairman Mukesh Ambani said in the annual general meeting yesterday.

“For this purpose, we have created a Jio Digital India Startup Fund and are also working to create Digital Entrepreneurship Hubs in key cities and towns of India,” he added.

Reliance Industries will be joining a number of other funds in India looking to capitalize on the thriving technology sector. The Hindu Business Line points out that Reliance’s fund is one of the largest venture capital fund in the country, and rival the likes of Sequoia Capital ($900 million) and Tiger Global ($1 billion).

Amabani will also be joining industrialist Ratan Tata  in helping out startups in the country. In February, RNT Associates, the privately held investment firm of Ratan Tata partnered with the chief investment officer’s office of the University of California, to jointly fund startups and enterprises in India over the next 10 years. Tata’s fund will look to invest in various sectors, including healthcare, alternate energy etc. However, it did not disclose how much the fund will invest in each startup, or the startup selection procedure.

Other recent startup funds

– In July, the Karnataka government launched an initiative to offer funds worth $57 million for startups.

– In March, GSK Velu floated two investment funds – a Venture Capital (VC) fund under Stakeboat Capital targeting to raise $100 million, and a family office fund with a corpus of $75 million.

– The same month, equity firm Paragon Partners launched Paragon Partners Growth Fund I (PPGF-I), a $200 million India focused fund. The fund will focus on financial services, infrastructure services, industrials and healthcare services.

– In February, 500 Startups launched a new $25 million fund to invest in India, Sri Lanka and Bangladesh. The fund would focus on early stage companies that have demonstrated traction

– In the same month Nokia Growth Partners (NGP) announced a new $350 million fund IV,  for investing in IoT companies in the US, Europe, India and China. The fund will invest in companies around connected enterprise, consumer solutions, connected car and digital health and those focused on big data and analytics.

– Similarly, in the same month, IDG Ventures India had launched an India-focused tech fund with a target amount of $200 million.

– In January, Storm Ventures launched a new fund for software-as-a-service (SaaS) startups in India, with an allocation of at least $10 million for the fund.

– In the same month, Unicorn India Ventures finished a first close of Rs 40 crore on its Rs 100 crore fund. The fund will invest in early stage startups in verticals like mobile, social media, analytics, cloud tech and Internet of Things (IoT).