Reliance Industries' latest acquisition takes Mukesh Ambani closer to e-commerce launch

  • RIL has just acquired a controlling stake of 85% in the Hyderabad-based startup Nowfloats for ₹141.63 crores.
  • Earlier in the year, the company acquired online fashion e-commerce platform Fynd and conversational AI startup Haptik.
  • These investments are in line with the much awaited Reliance e-commerce debut.
Mukesh Ambani led Reliance Industries is gearing up for its e-commerce launch and looking at its latest startup acquisitions, they all seem to be a strategic investment to enable the company’s marketplace model.

RIL has just acquired a controlling stake of 85% in the Hyderabad-based startup Nowfloats for ₹141.63 crores. Nowfloats offers SaaS based solutions to SMEs, enabling their digital presence. This comes in line with Reliance’s e-commerce venture, where it is reportedly working with kirana stores and small businesses in the country, to bring them online.

“The aforesaid investment will further enable the group’s digital and new commerce initiatives,” said the official statement from Reliance.

It has been clear for a few quarters now that the next leg of growth for Reliance will come from its consumer business and e-commerce will be an important pillar in that aside from the telecom venture Reliance Jio.“RIL is most attractively priced large cap growth stock in India. EBITDA from consumer biz will drive further re-rating” global broking firm CLSA said in its latest report.

Reliance’s startup acquisitions are driving its e-commerce dream

Reliance has also mentioned that it would invest another ₹75 crore in Nowfloats if they achieve their agreed milestones. However, Nowfloats isn’t the only big startup acquisition Reliance has made this year that brings it closer to its e-commerce vertical.

Earlier in August 2019, Reliance acquired a majority stake in the Google-backed startup Fynd. Working in the online fashion e-commerce space, Fynd is the middleman for physical retail outlets and e-stores. Reliance pumped in ₹295.25 crore in the startup, during which Google exited Fynd. Back then too, Reliance had said that this investment would help its commerce initiative.

Prior to that, Reliance acquired the Artificial Intelligence firm Haptik for a whopping ₹700 crore. Haptik is a conversational AI platform which enables customer engagement through support, concierge services, lead generation and more.

Even after rumours of a Diwali launch, Reliance’s e-commerce venture is still awaited by all. Reports say that pilot for the e-commerce vertical has already begun across India. However, with these acquisitions Reliance is putting together a strong tech vertical with already established businesses and consumers.

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