Following the recent acquisition of a logistics startup Grab, and software firm C-Square, Reliance Industries Ltd has now acquired three more Indian startups including, a vernacular language-as-a-service platform, Reverie Language Technologies; Indian government schemes/services aggregator, EasyGov; and a multiphysics simulation service, SankhyaSutra Labs.
According to BSE filings, the conglomerate has acquired 76% equity stake in EasyGov and more than 80% stake in SankhyaSutra and Reverie. It is further looking to invest around INR 327 Cr together in all the three startups by 2021.
Reverie, EasyGov And SankhyaSutra Labs: An Overview
While Bengaluru-based, Reverie enables real-time delivery of online content in multiple Indian languages, EasyGov is a software-as-a-service (SaaS) startup enables citizens to search and apply for various Indian government schemes/services from a single platform.
At the same time, SankhyaSutra helps virtually simulate solutions to industrial problems, removing the need to conduct costly physical experiments.
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RIL: Push For Rural Retail & Ecommerce
While alone the acquisitions may not make much sense, together they complete a stack comprising vernacular, SaaS, and research and development for Reliance. The recent acquisitions are an important bet considering Reliance Industries plans around strengthening its rural ecommerce play.
Reliance Industries Limited (RIL) had entered the ecommerce segment in July 2018 with the announcement of its plans to operate on the online-offline hybrid model.
Recently in December 2018, there were reports about Reliance Retail’s plan to use 5.1K Jio point stores in the expansion of its ecommerce venture to rural areas including Tier 2 and Tier 3 towns.
Now, with the acquisition of platforms like Reverie and EasyGov, which are specifically targeted at mid-tier cities and towns, Reliance’s ecommerce strategy looks strengthened further.
Reliance Is Not The Only One
So far Reliance is not the only player here. Kishore Biyani’s Future Group is also working on a similar hybrid model under its Retail 3.0 plan, Tathastu.
Other existing players in ecommerce are Flipkart and Amazon, who respectively own 31.9% and 31.1% market share in Indian ecommerce. Also, Paytm Mall is aggressively growing to acquire the third largest market share.
A recent Deloitte India and Retailers Association of India (RAI) report have predicted ecommerce market to grow to $1.2 Tn by 2021. Also, with the Indian government taking its stand on finalising the ecommerce guidelines, the segment will get organised further and in favour of the local players. Will the acquisition route be able to help Reliance win the dominance it craves for in the Indian ecommerce, only time can tell.