Reliance Industries Ltd. company’s digital platform Glance invests $200 million in mobile content company InMobi Pte, as regional startups continue to attract funding at strong valuations despite the setbacks of newly publicized tech stocks.
Jio Platforms Ltd. company’s funding values the startup at about $1.7 billion, said two people familiar with the deal, who asked not to be quoted because the terms were not disclosed. Glance is also backed by Alphabet Inc’s Google and Paypal founder Peter Thiel’s Mithril Capital.
The Singapore-based startup offers two types of service: Its name, Glance, delivers curated content to users’ phones without unlocking their screen or opening any apps. Its short video platform, Roposo, is increasingly becoming a celebrity and influencer-led shopping platform for brands.
The Jio Platforms investment will help Glance expand into global markets, including the US, Mexico, Brazil and Russia. The transaction is subject to regulatory approval and other conditions, the companies sent to the stock exchanges in a joint statement.
Reliance Jio Infocomm Ltd., India’s largest mobile service provider with more than 420 million subscribers, is trying to expand its base with its homegrown JioPhone Next smartphones built in partnership with Google. The American search giant invested $4.5 billion in the company in 2020 along with Meta Platforms Inc.
Glance will bring lock screen content to buyers of the new phone and will be integrated into an operating system called Pragati OS, which Google has developed specifically for Jio devices. Roposo, in collaboration with Reliance’s retail arm, will display content on the lock screens of Jio users.
“This strategic investment by Reliance will result in a strong collaboration with Glance across devices, commerce and games,” said Naveen Tewari, Group Founder and Chief Executive Officer, InMobi. “Glance and Roposo have created a category of live entertainment and live commerce through the lock screen that allows users to experience the web in a very different way.”
Tewari, 44, a graduate of Harvard Business School, co-founded InMobi in 2007 with colleagues from the engineering and business schools. InMobi in 2011 McKinsey & Co. After working as a consultant at InMobi, he became India’s first unicorn.
Tewari founded Singapore-listed subsidiary Glance InMobi Pte in 2019, which became a $1 billion unicorn in December 2020 with Google backing. It has 163 million daily users in India and another 25 million in Southeast Asia.