Reliance’s GenNext to Invest in Start-ups

Last week, 11 companies graduated from the four months long course offered by GenNext Ventures, the investment arm of Reliance Industries. The organization is now focusing on mentoring and investing in other start-ups to boost their growth.

GenNext initiative

The initiative known as GenNext Innovation Hub was launched by the joined efforts of GenNext Ventures and Microsoft Ventures. 11 new enterprises underwent training in the first batch. GenNext and Microsoft have now informed that they have started accepting invitations for the next batch. Around 12 start-ups will be given training in the second batch. The two companies did not invest in any of the start-ups from the first batch.

GenNext Ventures Managing Partner, Vivek Rai Gupta expressed his surprise over the quality of start-ups that formed its first batch and also on the way they adopted the training.

For the upcoming batch, Reliance Industries and Microsoft will be mentoring equal number of companies. The training session will take place at the same facility created by Reliance Industries at its campus in Navi Mumbai.

Microsoft India’s Director for start-ups, Kattayil Rajinish Menon, informed that Microsoft is not willing to invest in any of the companies that will undergo mentoring in the program.

Investment plans of Reliance Industries

Along with training, Reliance Industries had also announced of investing in the start-ups. Gupta said that it will be investing now in the companies of the second batch. He also informed that the company was not prepared for it when training the first batch and was itself in a learning process. But now, with the initial experience, it will start gearing up the investment plans. He also said that after VC funds have been introduced, 30-40% of the companies have received commitments.

Reliance Industries is more likely to invest in companies that give technological solutions and are associated with the fields of finance, energy management, home automation, security, healthcare and automobiles. Earlier, GenNext invested in two start-ups. However, these were not a part of the first batch. The company will be interested in investing in companies that will be related to its forthcoming 4G launch. Besides, it will also invest in companies that are involved in ‘core business.’

GenNext will adopt a flexible structure while investing. The company is mainly focused on providing opportunities and hence will be taking up only smaller stakes that may extend up to 15%. Gupta is confident that if Reliance’s name is associated with a start-up then it will help to expedite the growth of its business as other financial investors will also be attracted towards it. “If we invest, we think our validation is a good stamp of approval and there are a lot of venture capitalists who will top up with their funding,” he added.

Reliance Industries wishes that the investment which it makes should benefit both, the start-up as well as itself. He also said that Reliance Industries will be adding value to the company’s name while the company will give technological solutions and services for its future projects.

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