Jio Platforms Limited (JPL) has agreed to invest $200 million (about Rs 15 billion) for a roughly 17 per cent stake in Google-backed consumer internet company, Glance, which allows users to consume personalised content even with a locked smartphone screen. The transaction is subject to the satisfaction of customary closing conditions and regulatory approvals.
The proposed investment by Jio is aimed at accelerating Glance’s launch in several key international markets outside of Asia such as the USA, Brazil, Mexico and Russia. The company is aiming to create the world’s largest live content and commerce ecosystem on the lock screen and will use the funds raised to expand globally. In addition to Jio Platforms, Glance is also backed by technology giant Google and Silicon Valley-based venture fund Mithril Capital.
Concurrent with the proposed investment, Glance has also entered into a business partnership arrangement with Reliance Retail Ventures Limited, providing for Glance’s ‘lock screen platform’ to be integrated into the JioPhone Next smartphones to transform the internet experience for millions of Jio users. This is the latest in a series of strategic partnerships between Glance and global players in the mobile ecosystem. The deal is also expected to lead to further strategic collaborations between Glance, Reliance Retail and Jio across devices, commerce, content and gaming ecosystem.
Glance’s lock screen platform is present on more than 400 million devices across markets in Asia. Glance has made it possible for users to experience the best of the internet without searching, downloading any apps or even unlocking their phones. It has accomplished this by pioneering personalized, AI-driven content, live entertainment commerce and gaming on the lock screen.
Jio is pioneering the digital services ecosystem in India with a transformational impact on the Indian digital ecosystem over the last 5 years. Jio aims to support innovation, enterprise and solutions in the tech-digital space and has emerged as one of the most active digital accelerators for the Indian market, having backed several exciting technologies and entrepreneurial teams.
Commenting on the investment, Akash Ambani, director, Jio Platforms Limited, said, “Glance has grown at a phenomenal pace over the past two years and has given users a truly unique solution by unlocking the power of the lock screen for experiencing the internet, live content, creator driven entertainment commerce and gaming. With the help of this investment, Glance expects to launch in several key markets globally as well as extend the experience to millions of Jio users, further reinforcing our commitment to provide the most advanced and next-level tech and digital ecosystem for consumers in India and beyond.”
Meanwhile, Naveen Tewari, founder and CEO, InMobi Group, said, “Mr. Mukesh Ambani has been a source of immense inspiration for me since my early days and it is an honor to have Jio becoming a strategic partner in our journey. Jio’s investment into Glance brings a deep synergy of vision and philosophy. Jio is a truly disruptive company. It made internet accessible for millions of users, making India one of the largest internet markets in the world. Reliance is now disrupting the smartphone market with launch of its JioPhone Next smartphones. Jio’s investment into Glance and Glance’s presence on the lock screen of JioPhone Next smartphones will lead to a paradigm shift in how its users experience the internet.”
Also, Piyush Shah, co-founder, InMobi Group; and president and COO, Glance, said, “Glance has created a disruptive lock screen-first discovery platform for live content, commerce and gaming in Asia, and we intend to scale it globally going forward. Jio’s investment is a huge validation of this vision and gives us the firepower to take the innovative experience of Glance to surfaces across the world. We look forward to working with Jio to build the content, creator and commerce ecosystem of the future, together.”
Morgan Stanley acted as the exclusive financial advisor and Khaitan & Co. acted as the legal counsel to Glance. White & Case and K Law acted as the legal counsels and Ernst & Young provided accounting and tax due diligence services to Jio Platforms.