In yet another startup acquisition, Reliance Industries has scooped up Hyderabad-based SaaS startup NowFloats Technologies.
The filings with the stock exchange show that Reliance Strategic Business Ventures Limited, a wholly-owned subsidiary of Reliance Industries Limited has acquired equity shares of NowFloats for a cash consideration of INR 141.63 Cr ($20 Mn). With this, Reliance will hold 85% equity in NowFloats.
Reliance has further proposed to further invest up to INR 75 Cr, after the company achieves agreed milestones. This is expected to complete by December 2020. After further investment, Reliance will increase its stake to 89.66% in NowFloats.
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NowFloats was founded in May 2012 by Neeraj Sabharwal, Nitin Jain, Ronak Samantray, and Jasminder Gulati. As a SaaS company, NowFloats enables digital presence for SMBs and enterprises. The company also offers local content discovery platforms, online business management suite, website promotion, marketing solutions, among others.
The company has raised $17.4 Mn from investors such as Iron Pillar, IIFL, BlackSoil and Omidyar Network, etc. In FY19, the company recorded revenue of INR 32.56 Cr and a net loss of INR 43.24 Cr.
NowFloats is the latest in Reliance’s startup acquisitions, especially in the deeptech space. In August, Reliance acquired a 92.7% stake in Mumbai-based VR startup Tesseract. Inc42 in its analysis noted that in the period between FY18-FY19, RIL has entered into nearly 49 mergers and acquisitions, strategic investments and joint venture deals globally.
Some of its tech-focussed acquisitions were:
- Fynd Reliance Industries Limited is set to acquire an 87.6% stake in fashion ecommerce platform Fynd for INR 295 Cr (about $42.33 Mn). Presumably, Fynd’s ecommerce platform would be integrated with Reliance Retail and the conglomerate’s upcoming ecommerce service, which would work on an offline-to-online (O2O) model, which Fynd also operates in.
- Haptik: Reliance Industries via its subsidiary Reliance Jio Digital Services Limited entered into a definitive business transfer agreement with chatbot maker Haptik Infotech for acquiring an 87% stake in the company.
In the first quarter of 2019, the deeptech sector recorded a total investment of $9.58 Mn, a mere 1% compared to ecommerce, which received $958 Mn. In fact, the deeptech was the only startup sector in India to receive lower funding than the quarterly average.