Reliance Industries invests $16M in US-based startup NetraDyne
Reliance Industries Ltd (RIL), controlled by billionaire Mukesh Ambani, said on Wednesday it has decided to invest $16 million (Rs 108 crore) in US-based tech startup NetraDyne Inc.
NetraDyne, which is yet to start commercial operations, is developing deep learning solutions and vision-based analytics targeted at industries such as fleet management, automotive, security and surveillance, RIL said in a stock-exchange filing.
“There are potential synergies with telecom and digital business initiatives of RIL… apart from commercialization benefits in India,” the company said.
RIL, which operates the country’s biggest private-sector refinery and has a large retail business, is close to launching operations of its telecom arm Reliance Jio Infocomm that will offer high-speed data services across India. The company has also started selling handsets as part of its telecom strategy.
The company said it invested half the amount in NetraDyne on 31 May 2016 and will put in the remaining by 31 March 2017. The investment will give RIL a 40% stake in NetraDyne on the basis of current fully diluted share capital.
RIL is investing in the startup through its wholly owned subsidiary Reliance Industrial Investments and Holdings Ltd.
The San Diego, California-headquartered NetraDyne was founded in September 2015 by Avneesh Agrawal and David Julian. Agrawal, a Stanford University graduate, was senior vice president of technology and business at Qualcomm for over 10 years. He was also president of Qualcomm India & South Asia, responsible for the company’s business, sales and marketing operations in the region.
Julian co-founded Mountain View Analytics, a financial investment startup, and later worked as principal engineer in Qualcomm Research for 12 years before launching NetraDyne. Julian has also worked at US space agency NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory in the past.
Reliance has been actively investing in startups through its venture capital arm Reliance GenNext Ventures. In a recent interaction with VCCircle, Vivek Rai Gupta, managing partner at Reliance GenNext Ventures, said the company planned to back five or six of the second batch of 11 companies that graduated out of its four month-accelerator programme and that it was actively looking for early-stage ventures outside its own mentorship programme.
GenNext looks to invest up to $10 million in a startup though it has not set a limit. It has a stage-agnostic approach towards early-stage investments. It has invested in four companies so far, including enterprise software firm Covacsis and surveillance solutions company Videonetics.
Speaking at the launch of Digital India Week last year, chairman Ambani had said that Reliance Industries would invest over Rs 250,000 crore in the digital space, including rollout of wireless broadband infrastructure and manufacturing of mobile handsets.
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Reliance Industries Ltd. (formerly Reliance Textile Industries Ltd.) is an industrial conglomerate. It is engaged in hydrocarbon exploration and production, petroleum refining and marketing, petrochemicals, retail, security and telecommunications. It manufactures petrochemicals, synthetic fibers, fibers intermediates, textiles, blended yarn and polyester staple fibers. Its retail segment includes wholesale and hypermarkets. The firm is also involved in refining petroleum products including liquefied petroleum gas, propylene, naphtha, gasoline, jet aviation turbine fuel, kerosene oil, high-speed diesel and sulphur and petroleum coke. The company also provides global corporate security solution for physical, events, loss prevention, travel protection, employee engagement training, law enforcement liaison, information protection and automated access control etc. The company was founded in 1966 and is based in Mumbai, Maharashtra.
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NetraDyne Inc. is an internet of things platform. It is engaged in high-end technology driven product development of deep learning solutions and vision based analytics. It caters its services to drones, fleet management, automotive, healthcare, security, and surveillance. The company was founded in 2015 and is based in San Diego, United States of America.
Videonetics Technology Pvt. Ltd. designs and develops video management software for video surveillance systems. It provides products such as intelligent video management software (IVMS) integrated with video analytics software, video summarisation, intelligent traffic management solutions like automatic number plate recognition (ANPR), red light violation detection with e-challan generation, retail business intelligence, banking security, device health monitoring, etc. The company was founded in 2008 and is based in Kolkata, West Bengal with an additional office in Gurgaon.