Reliance Industries Ltd has created a disruption in the market ever since the launch of Reliance Jio. Not only that, it also plans to own other segments through its latest in technologies services like Reliance Jio Fiber Broadbands.
For instance, Reliance recently announced its effectively zero priced JioPhone that will be targeting 500-million feature phone market and a step towards ‘Make In India’.
The Jio Phone comes with basic features such as Phone logs, contacts, headphone jack, torch,FM Radio, SD Card slot, Bluetooth Connectivity and with Alphanumeric Keypad. The JioPhone has also been tipped to come with a 4GB of internal storage, and 512MB of RAM. The mobile will also have the ability to install and run apps, including Jio’s own apps like JioTV, JioCinema, and others.
The Internet browser for the same phone was designed by Widely, a startup which is being monitored at GenNext Hub, the start-up platform RIL launched with Microsoft Ventures in 2014.
Where there are 11 companies which are working under this programme, 52 firms have been graduated from the hub until now.
“It’s an equity-free model. The agreement that we sign with them (the start-ups) says we have an option (and not a right) to invest. And they have an option to take money from us. In fact, many start-ups come to us for the mentoring (rather) than for funding.” said Amey Mashelkar, mentor-in-residence, at GenNext Hub.
The startups’ journey at GenNext Hub is of 4 months, during which they are guided on what they aspire to achieve and what they need to achieve. Then comes pitching and applying to raise funds for their startups.
During their stay at the hub, they are not required to pay any fees to the accelerator other than their own expenses of stay and travel. GenNext Hub runs two programmes—Scalerator for product-market fit for start-ups looking to scale up and Accelerator for concept-stage or product-ready start-ups looking for a market.
Mukesh Ambani had also earlier announced about a Rs5,000 crore startup fund called Jio Digital India Startup Fund to invest in digital businesses, which although is yet to start.
Another startup that helped setup Reliance a network testing farm is HeadSpin which is also the part of programme at GenNext Hub, that helps global technological companies to test their apps’ performance on the Reliance Jio network remotely.
“We first worked closely with the Jio app teams to get three proof-of-concept projects which were executed for three months from May to July 2016. The successful pilots paved the way for the partnership,” said Manish Lachwani, chief executive and co-founder of HeadSpin
Other than than another startup named DSYH (Don’t Scratch Your Head) had made a software that allowed real-time reconciliation of accounts in online marketplaces. While working in the hub, they introduced their services to RIL and have been doing for other RIL brands as well.
While the Rs5,000 crore start-up fund might take some time, RIL is planning to take some of these companies and provide them with a launch pad in Silicon Valley or the UK, he said.
“We are trying to figure out a programme through some partnerships in the Valley and see if we can take some of the B2B enterprise software with niche application areas and help them launch in the North American market as that is where they can get traction and that is where they will get access to large technology partners like Google, Facebook, etc., and also access to large amount of venture capital if they were to raise money for serving that market,” said Mashelkar.