On Thursday, Mukesh Ambani announced plans to set up a 5,000-crore VC fund — Reliance Jio Digital India Startup Fund — to boost entrepreneurship in the country over a five-year period. The fund will be used to develop and fund new businesses across sectors such as agriculture, education, health, rural livelihood, and e-commerce. Speaking at Reliance Industries’ 42nd annual general meeting, chairman Mukesh Ambani said Reliance Jio’s aim is to build a platform for young Indians who want to create “businesses of the future.”
This is set to provide a big boost to up and coming start-ups that are looking for funding opportunities to grow in the current business scenario. With 5,000 crore in the kitty, experts say that Reliance will directly become of the main players in the Indian VC market, Reliance’s fund is one of the largest VC fund in the country, and puts it in the league of Sequoia Capital ($900 million) and Tiger Global ($1 billion), The Hindu’s Businessline reported.
Reliance Jio Digital India Startup Fund sets aside Rs 5,000 crore of venture capital to be invested over the next five years to encourage young entrepreneurs to build their businesses ground up in India, Ambani said.
With the launch of the fund, Mukesh Ambani also seeks to create an entire ecosystem, throught Reliance Jio, that helps provide many other structural support to multiple new age start-ups. He added “We have created a Reliance Jio Digital India Startup Fund and are also working to create digital entrepreneurship hubs in key cities and towns in India. Our aim is to build a platform for young Indians who want to create businesses of the future. In the coming months, we also plan to introduce apps around education, health, rural livelihood, agriculture and many more categories because we truly believe it is time for digital life to reach the remotest corners of India”
Currently, the total VC market in India is pegged at around $3 billion, and the new fund will further boost it. This boost is bound to have an impact on the current venture funding scenario as more start-ups will now have access to funding opportunities and helping to build a sustainable mix of secured funding. In times of volatility in the startup jobs space, having access to new source of significant funding comes as much needed relief to start-ups.