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Daily Tech Briefing: Reliance Jio Funding Spree Continues, Zomato May Shutter Grocery & More

Daily Tech Briefing: Reliance Jio Funding Spree Continues, Zomato May Shutter Grocery & More

Mubadala is the latest investor in Reliance Jio Platforms

The company also got INR 4546.80 Cr from Silver Lake Partners

Zomato will reportedly shut down the Zomato grocery service due to scalability challenges

Continuing its mega funding spree over the past couple of months, Reliance Jio Platforms has raised billions in funding from two investors, including a new backer. The company first announced that Mubadala Investment Company, the Abu Dhabi-based sovereign investor, will invest INR 9,093.60 Cr in Jio Platforms for a 1.85% equity stake.

Later in the day, Jio announced that Silver Lake Partners made its second investment in the company within a month. With INR 4546.80 Cr committed in its latest round, the total funding from Silver Lake Partners in Reliance Jio Platforms reached INR 10,202.55 Cr, with the private equity firm bagging 2.08% stake in Jio Platforms.

The investment has come at an equity value of INR 4.91 Lakh Cr and an enterprise value of INR 5.16 Lakh Cr. Overall, the company has raised over INR 92,202.15 Cr since April this year, with Facebook’s $5.7 Bn investment leading the pack.

Mukesh Ambani, chairman and managing director, Reliance Industries said that Silver Lake’s additional investment in Jio Platforms, within a span of five weeks during the Covid-19 pandemic, is a strong endorsement of the intrinsic resilience of the Indian economy.

Zomato, Swiggy Adapt To New Market

As Jio booms, the foodtech industry is adjusting to the rules in a post-lockdown world. Bruised and facing heavy losses, Zomato and Swiggy are now chasing exclusive deals with restaurants to improve their business that took a body blow due to the pandemic.  Zomato and Swiggy are evoking the force majeure clause that frees restaurants from tying up with another food aggregator. Swiggy and Zomato are bringing these changes for local restaurants and national chains as well.

While it may further disrupt the strained ties between restaurants and food delivery players, it could play to Amazon’s advantage, after the ecommerce giant recently launched its food delivery service in Bengaluru.

Further, Zomato has also reportedly decided to shut down the grocery business after finding that the business is not scalable. As food orders dwindled in the past few months, grocery seemed to be the way out for Zomato as well as its Swiggy. However, the company is now looking to utilise most of the resources for food delivery.

In response to Inc42’s queries, a Zomato’s spokesperson said, “We started delivering groceries to offer easy and quick access to essentials in the safest manner possible. Zomato Market will continue to operate and service users who need on-demand delivery of essentials.”

Ola Pledges Funds For Safety Initiative

Further, cab-hailing company Ola has committed INR 500 Cr over the next year towards various initiatives globally, to enhance safety in mobility amid Covid-19. Ola said it will aim to drive various safety initiatives which include highest levels of driver standards, a host of technology advancements including a newly designed Covid-ready app, hygiene and safety benchmark for vehicles. Ola has set up a network of over 500 fumigation centres across the country at various hotspots and airports, to enable mandatory fumigation for all vehicles every 48 hours.

Hotstar Doubles Down On Fitness

Further, as fitness at home picks up pace, OTT platform Disney+ Hotstar has entered into a strategic alliance with Brilliant Wellness, Sarva and Cultfit to introduce value-added content from top fitness experts, yoga and spiritual gurus, along with celebrity nutritionists spread across more than 100 fitness programs.  Additionally, they will work to instil a healthy lifestyle and fitness regime among audiences bound by social distancing and lockdown restrictions.

Disney+ Hotstar will bring 3,000 pieces of content in English, Hindi and Telugu on the platform. The category and offerings are aimed at helping viewers monitor and maintain their wellness quotient while quarantining at home, and even after, as and when they resume their normal lives.

Facebook To Label State-Backed Media Accounts

Facebook said it has began labelling media organizations whose editorial calls may be under the influence of governments and said ads from those outlets would be blocked later this year. Facebook later this year will begin adding similar labels to ads by such news outlets, blocking them entirely ahead of the US presidential election in November “to provide an extra layer of protection against various types of foreign influence in the public debate”.

The move comes with Facebook under scrutiny for failing for stem foreign interference in the 2016 US presidential elections, and amid heated debate over how the social network handles misinformation and inflammatory posts.