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

Reliance Manufacture, one of India’s largest industrial rooms, has acquired a majority stake in NowFloats, an Indian startup that helps businesses and individuals build online presence without any network developing skills.

In a regulatory filing on Thursday, Reliance Strategic Business Ventures Limited said( PDF) it has acquired an 85% stake in NowFloats for 1.4 billion Indian rupees ($ 20 million ).

Seven-and-a-half-year old, Hyderabad-headquartered NowFloats operates an eponymous scaffold that allows individuals and businesses to easily build an online presence. Using NowFloats’ services, a momma and pop store, for instance, can build a website, publish their list, as well as engage with their clients on WhatsApp.

The startup, which has raised about 12 million in equity financing prior to today’s announcement, claims to have helped over 300,000 participating retail spouses. NowFloats countings Blume Ventures, Omidyar Network, Iron Pillar, IIFL Wealth Management, and Hyderabad Angels among its investors.

Last year, NowFloats acquired LookUp, an India-based chat service that connects consumers to local business — and is backed by Vinod Khosla’s personal money Khosla Impact, Twitter co-founder Biz Stone, Narayana Murthy’s Catamaran Ventures and Global Founders Capital.

Reliance Strategic Business Ventures Limited, a wholly-owned subsidiary of Reliance Industry, suggested that it would vest up to 750 million Indian rupees ($ 10.6 million) of added capital into the startup, and conjure its stake to about 89.66%, if NowFloats achieves sure-fire unknown goals by the end of next year.

In a statement, Reliance Manufacture said the investment will “further enable the group’s digital and brand-new commerce initiatives.” NowFloats is the latest acquisition Reliance has met in the country this year. In August, the corporation said it was buying a majority stake in Google-backed Fynd for $42.3 million. In April, it bought a majority stake in Haptik in a slew value $100 million.

There are about 60 million small-scale and medium-sized industries in India. Like hundreds of millions of Indians, many in small towns and cities, who have come online in recent years thanks to world’s cheapest portable data programmes and inexpensive Android smartphones, occupations are increasingly building online proximity as well.

But vast majority of them are still offline, a fact that has created immense opportunities for startups — and VCs looking into this space — and major technology monstrous. New Delhi-based BharatPe, which promotions merchants accept online fees and provides them with working capital, raised $ 50 million in August. Khatabook and OkCredit, two digital bookkeeping apps for shopkeepers, have been previously caused substantial amount of money this year.

In recent years, Google has also looked into the space. It has launched tools — and offered counseling — to help neighborhood supermarkets fix some vicinity on the web. In September, the company announced that its Google Pay service, which is used by more than 67 million users in India, will now enable businesses to accept digital fees and reach their patrons online.

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