By Yuvraj Malik
– India’s Reliance Industries is investing $200 million in Glance, a lock screen content company backed by Alphabet and owned by ad-tech firm InMobi, to bring the service to new Jio smartphones this year, the companies said on Monday.
The investment, made through Reliance’s Jio Platforms unit, values Glance at $1.7 billion to $1.8 billion post-money, according to a source involved in the deal.
The integration will allow Reliance’s retail businesses to advertise products directly to Jio users through Glance, a platform that delivers personalised news, entertainment content and live videos to smartphone lock screens.
Glance could be on “hundreds of millions” of Jio phones this year, InMobi Group founder and Chief Executive Officer Naveen Tewari said in a phone interview.
Billionaire Mukesh Ambani’s Reliance launched its Jio Phone Next on Nov. 4 but sales figures have not been publicly disclosed.
Ambani has been steadily buying stakes in consumer internet firms and tying those services into Reliance Jio, as he looks to create a technology behemoth that incorporates connectivity, content and commerce.
“The deal is also expected to lead to further strategic collaborations between Glance, Reliance Retail and Jio across devices, commerce, content and gaming ecosystem,” InMobi said in a statement.
Glance is available on default in 60% to 65% of new smartphones sold in India, thanks to tie-ups with Samsung, Xiaomi, Vivo, Oppo and Realme, Tewari said.
It will use the fresh funds to expand to U.S. and Latin American markets, and is also testing new ways of content-driven commerce through live videos.
The company is backed by Peter Thiel’s Mithril Capital and Alphabet, which invested $100 million in December 2020.
(Reporting by Yuvraj Malik in Bengaluru; Editing by Devika Syamnath)