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Mukesh Ambani Launches $748 Mn Fund For Indian Digital Startups

Mukesh Ambani Launches $748 Mn Fund For Indian Digital Startups

Mukesh Ambani’s Reliance Jio Infocomm Limited (RJIL) has launched a $748 Mn (INR 5000 Cr) Digital India Startup Fund. It aims to help budding entrepreneurs in the country to build their business. The announcement came at Reliance Industries’ 42nd Annual General Meeting.

The funds will be utilised over a period of five years. There are plans to partner with the Indian entrepreneurs, “whose digital ventures can bloom in the grounds that Jio is preparing.” Also, it is working to create Digital Entrepreneurship Hubs in key cities.

“… we have created a Reliance Jio Digital India Startup Fund and are also working to create digital entrepreneurship hubs in key cities and towns in India. Our aim is to build a platform for young Indians who want to create businesses of the future,” said Mukesh Ambani.

Reliance Jio (live on) is an upcoming provider of mobile telephony, broadband services, and digital services in India. It will start offering its services from 5th September 5, 2016 and will commercially get launched at the end of December this year. Jio currently has a strength of 15,000 employees.

Ambani claims that Jio has the potential to push India from 155 to the tenth position in mobile broadband Internet access among 230 countries. It will be offering data at INR 50 per GB, which is the lowest in the world. “We have price points starting from INR 19 for the occasional data user, to a monthly INR 149 plan for the light data user and all the way up to a monthly INR 4,999 plan for the heaviest data user,” Ambani said.

Also, it will provide free voice calls and increase transparency in bills along with several other benefits. The further plans are to cover 90% of India’s population with Jio’s 4G network reaching 18,000 cities and towns, and over 2 lakh villages by March 2017.

There are still debates on how it will result in a profitable and sustainable revenue model to justify the $21 Bn investment in the venture. Also, experts believe that Reliance’s aggressive price strategy with Jio will bleed rival telecom operators, and even affect its own prospects in the near term.

Recently reports surfaced that Ratan Tata will soon launch a venture capital fund with a corpus of around $100-150 Mn.

The development was first reported by ET.

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