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Ronnie Screwvala, former Network18 CEO team up to float digital media firm

Media industry veteran Ronnie Screwvala, who has turned into an entrepreneur cum private investor after selling UTV to Disney, is launching a digital media company in partnership with B Saikumar, former group CEO of Network 18. Screwvala is investing Rs 150 crore in the proposed venture.

The company will provide (under a subscription model) digital brand services including multi-genre, multi-lingual content across video, audio, and text, etc. The partners see potential for their offerings as the government goes ahead with its ‘Digital India’ initiative to ensure high-speed internet access across the country.

Saikumar will act as managing director (MD) of the firm, according to separate media reports. The duo has also roped in Ajay Chacko, former COO at Network 18, as CEO for the new venture.

Last week, Screwvala had forayed (with an investment of Rs 100 crore) into online education sector with the launch of U Education. This was the second independent venture of Screwvala, who had earlier floated Unilazer Sports as a new unit focusing on sports management.

Screwvala had floated Unilazer Ventures around three years ago after selling UTV to Disney. Unilazer Ventures has been focusing on making private investments in segments like consumer, services, agriculture, healthcare, education, micro finance, etc.

In the past, Unilazer Ventures has also invested in Indus Insights, SilverEdge, Impresa Hospitality, Lenskart.com, EkStop.com, INI Farms, Himex and Tree House Education. With Unilazer Sports, U Education, and now this digital media company, it is moving beyond being an investment firm to become a holding company of new businesses.

(Edited by Joby Puthuparampil Johnson)

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