Billionaire Mukesh Ambani is scouting for startups that could dovetail with his own plans for e-commerce and phone services in India. For that, he is willing to look as far as Israel and Silicon Valley in the US. GenNext Ventures of Reliance Industries are in talks with overseas venture capital companies and private equity (PE) investors. The startups picked by Reliance Industries will be benefited with the company’s widespread network. The foreign companies will have an access to the largest market of India, while Reliance Industries may get innovative ideas from varied countries. The First batch of GenNext Innovation HubGenNext Ventures along with Microsoft Ventures trained and mentored 11 upcoming companies in its program known as GenNext Innovation Hub. It did not invest in the startups of the first batch. In the joint initiative, GenNext has set up the infrastructure and called experts from Reliance Industries for the mentoring sessions and Microsoft has taken the charge of the functioning of the program.
Ambani is readying a $13.6 billion high-speed 4G phone network across India, where Morgan Stanley sees e-commerce reaching $100 billion by 2020. GenNext, backed by the refining-to-retail conglomerate, is an “evergreen fund that will invest opportunistically ,” Gupta said.
“It can be a two-way street,” said Gupta, who used to head the India operations of consulting firm A T Kearney until 2008.”It gives them an opportunity to come to a big market like India and for us, it is an opportunity to interface with the best new ideas from that country.”
GenNext Ventures Managing Partner, VivekRai Gupta informed that the selection process for the second batch will be stricter than the previous one. The company is keen to pick up startups that are involved in the fields of information technology, broadband services, retail, energy management and security.