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Reliance buys 87% equity in e-commerce platform Fynd

Reliance Industries Limited (RIL) has bought an 87.6% equity share in software company Fynd for ₹295.25 crore, the company said in a stock exchange filing on August 3. The purchase was made by RIL wholly-owned subsidiary Reliance Industrial Investments and Holdings Limited (RIIHL) which has the option to invest a further ₹100 crore, which will likely be completed by December 2021. This ties up with RIL’s plans to venture into e-commerce.

RIL’s newest find is also backed by Google

Fynd, operated by Shopsense Retail Technologies Pvt Ltd, is a software technology company that helps offline retailers directly sell their products to consumers through the online store. Fynd connects more than 600 brands and 9,000 stores, TechCrunch reported. It was incorporated in September 2012 and was founded by Farooq Adam, Harsh Shah and Sreeraman MG. According to Crunchbase, Google is a lead investor in the seven-year-old company. Fynd was the second investment led by Google in an Indian start-up, after Dunzo, as per an Inc42 report.

As per Reliance’s filings, Fynd had a turnover of ₹4.84crore, ₹0.70 crore and ₹0.52crore, and net loss of ₹18.64 crore, ₹10.64 crore and ₹1.51 crore in FY18, FY17 and FY16, respectively. Shah reportedly said that the company is “profitable on an operating level and expects to be fully profitable in the coming quarters”.

Reliance’s focus on e-commerce

In January 2019, at the 9th Vibrant Gujarat Summit, RIL Chairman and Managing Director Mukesh Ambani had announced that Reliance Retail and Reliance Jio Infocomm would jointly launch a new e-commerce venture, with Gujarat as the first state to get it. Ambani had said that 1.2 million shopkeepers in Gujarat would be empowered by the project. Since then, RIL has gone on a spree of acquisitions to augment its digital businesses. Some of them are:

  • Amazon.com Inc is also in talks with Reliance’s retail unit to buy a stake in its retail business, according to a Reuters report.
  • On March 2, 2019, RIL, via RIIHL, acquired an 82% stake in C-Square Info Solutions Private Limited for ₹22.04 crore, with further investment of up to ₹60 crore by March 2021. C-Square provides software solutions, with specific focus on pharma sector, for various stakeholders, including e-commerce, retailers, distributors, etc. According to the company filing, this acquisition “will further enable the group’s digital commerce initiatives and solutions”.
  • In April 2019, Reliance Jio acquired an 87% stake in AI chat bot company Haptik Infotech for ₹700 crore to enable enable conversational AI with multi-lingual support across devices, as the company believes that “voice interactivity will be the primary mode of interaction for Digital India”.
  • On March 1, 2019, RIL, via RIIHL, acquired an 83% stake in Grab A Grub Services Private Limited, a logistics services platform, for ₹106 crore, with further investment of up to ₹40 crore by March 2021. According to the company filing, this acquisition “will further augment the group’s digital commerce initiatives and strengthen its logistics services, catering to both B2B and B2C segments”.
  • On February 22, 2019, RIL, via RIIHL, acquired a 76% stake in EasyGov, a cloud solution that enables citizens to avail Government of India’s schemes and services, for ₹18 crore, with further investment of up to ₹50 crore by March 2021. The aim of this acquisition is to “enable the group’s digital initiatives including G2C”.
  • On February 22, 2019, RIL, via RIIHL, acquired an 83% stake in SankhyaSutra Labs Private Limited for ₹16.02 crore, with further investment of up to ₹200 crore by December 2021. The aim of this acquisition is to “enable the group’s digital initiatives that include enterprise grade high end computing analytical tools and solutions”.
  • On February 22, 2019, RIL, via RIIHL, acquired an 83% stake in Reverie Language Technologies Private Limited, which is a language technologies development company that delivers multilingual user experiences, for ₹190 crore, with further investment of up to ₹77 crore by March 2021. This acquisition will “enhance the group’s digital initiatives including digital consumer platforms with multilingual capabilities”

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