Reliance Industries acquires a majority stake in SaaS startup NowFloats for $20M – TechCrunch

Reliance Industries, one in all India’s largest industrial homes, has acquired a majority stake in NowFloats, an Indian startup that helps companies and people construct on-line presence with none internet growing abilities.

In a regulatory submitting on Thursday, Reliance Strategic Enterprise Ventures Restricted said (PDF) it has acquired an 85% stake in NowFloats for 1.four billion Indian rupees ($20 million).

Seven-and-a-half-year outdated, Hyderabad-headquartered NowFloats operates an eponymous platform that permits people and companies to simply construct a web-based presence. Utilizing NowFloats’ companies, a mother and pop retailer, as an example, can construct an internet site, publish their catalog, in addition to interact with their prospects on WhatsApp.

The startup, which has raised about 12 million in fairness financing previous to in the present day’s announcement, claims to have helped over 300,000 taking part retail companions. NowFloats counts Blume Ventures, Omidyar Network, Iron Pillar, IIFL Wealth Administration, and Hyderabad Angels amongst its traders.

Final yr, NowFloats acquired LookUp, an India-based chat service that connects consumers to local business — and is backed by Vinod Khosla’s private fund Khosla Affect, Twitter co-founder Biz Stone, Narayana Murthy’s Catamaran Ventures and World Founders Capital.

Reliance Strategic Enterprise Ventures Restricted, a wholly-owned subsidiary of Reliance Industries, mentioned that it might make investments as much as 750 million Indian rupees ($10.6 million) of extra capital into the startup, and lift its stake to about 89.66%, if NowFloats achieves sure unspecified objectives by the tip of subsequent yr.

In a press release, Reliance Industries mentioned the funding will “additional allow the group’s digital and new commerce initiatives.” NowFloats is the newest acquisition Reliance has made within the nation this yr. In August, the conglomerate mentioned it was shopping for a majority stake in Google-backed Fynd for $42.3 million. In April, it bought a majority stake in Haptik in a deal worth $100 million.

There are about 60 million small and medium-sized companies in India. Like tons of of tens of millions of Indians, many in small cities and cities, who’ve come on-line in recent times due to world’s cheapest mobile data plans and cheap Android smartphones, companies are more and more constructing on-line presence as nicely.

However overwhelming majority of them are nonetheless offline, a incontrovertible fact that has created immense alternatives for startups — and VCs wanting into this house — and main expertise giants. New Delhi-based BharatPe, which helps retailers settle for on-line funds and offers them with working capital, raised $50 million in August. Khatabook and OkCredit, two digital bookkeeping apps for retailers, have additionally raised vital amount of cash this yr.

In recent times, Google has additionally regarded into the house. It has launched instruments — and supplied steerage — to assist neighborhood shops set up some presence on the internet. In September, the corporate introduced that its Google Pay service, which is utilized by more than 67 million users in India, will now allow companies to accept digital payments and reach their customers online.

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