Wij willen met u aan tafel zitten en in een openhartig gesprek uitvinden welke uitdagingen en vragen er bij u spelen om zo, gezamelijk, tot een beste oplossing te komen. Oftewel, hoe kan de techniek u ondersteunen in plaats van dat u de techniek moet ondersteunen.

Weeks after Facebook invested $ 5.7 billion in Jio Platforms, India’s top telecom operator, private equity firm Silver Lake is following suit.

Silver Lake announced on Monday it will be investing 56.56 billion Indian rupees (about $ 746.8 million) in Jio Platforms for about 1.15% stake in the Indian telecom network, giving it a valuation of $ 65 billion, a 12.5% premium to the value implied by the Facebook investment.

The Menlo Park-headquartered PE firm, which has approximately $ 40 billion in combined assets and committed capital, has invested in dozens of tech firms over the years including video game engine maker Unity, Skype, consultancy firm Gartner, Alibaba’s Ant Financial, and Chinese ride-hailing giant Didi Chuxing, several of it in recent weeks.

This year, Silver Lake has invested in Expedia, Twitter (in which it invested $ 1 billion), Airbnb, Waymo, and ServiceMax. This is the second investment Silver Lake is making in an Indian firm. In 2013, it invested in Bangalore-based commodity trading and risk management software firm Eka.

Reliance Jio Platforms, which began its commercial operation in the second half of 2016, upended the local telecom market by offering bulk of 4G data and voice calls for six months to users at no charge. A subsidiary of Reliance Industries (India’s most valuable firm by market value), Jio Platforms has amassed 388 million subscribers since its launch to become the nation’s top telecom operator.

“Jio Platforms is one of the world’s most remarkable companies, led by an incredibly strong and entrepreneurial management team who are driving and actualizing a courageous vision. They have brought extraordinary engineering capabilities to bear on bringing the power of low-cost digital services to a mass consumer and small businesses population. The market potential they are addressing is enormous, and we are honored and pleased to have been invited to partner with Mukesh Ambani and the team at Reliance and Jio to help further the Jio mission,” said Egon Durban, co-chief executive and managing partner at Silver Lake, in a statement.

Jio Platforms, previously known as just Jio, also owns a suite of services including music streaming service JioSaavn (which has plans to become a public company), smartphones, broadband business, on-demand live television service JioTV, and payments service JioPay.

In a statement, Mukesh Ambani, who oversees Reliance Industries, said, “Silver Lake has an outstanding record of being a valuable partner for leading technology companies globally. Silver Lake is one of the most respected voices in technology and finance. We are excited to leverage insights from their global technology relationships for the Indian Digital Society’s transformation.”

In the company’s earnings call last week, Ambani said several firms had expressed interest in buying a stake in Jio Platforms, in which he has invested over $ 30 billion, in wake of the deal with Facebook.

Facebook said that other than offering the capital to Jio Platforms for a 9.99% stake in the firm, it would work with the Indian giant on a number of areas starting with e-commerce.

Days later, JioMart, an e-commerce venture run by India’s most valued firm, began testing an “ordering system” on WhatsApp, the most popular smartphone app in India with over 400 million active users in the world’s second largest internet market.

More to follow…


TechCrunch

Alibaba Cloud announced today that it will invest another RMB 200 billion (or about $ 28 billion) into its infrastructure over the next three years, prompted in part by increased demand for services like video conferencing and live streaming as businesses adapt to the COVID-19 pandemic.

The investment will focus on expanding Alibaba Cloud’s technology, including its operating system, servers and chips, in its data centers. The provider currently has 63 availability zones, located in Asia, Australia, the Middle East, Europe and the United States.

In press statement, Jeff Zhang, president of Alibaba Cloud Intelligence and chief technology officer of Alibaba Group, said, “By increasing our investment on cloud infrastructure and fundamental technologies, we hope to continue providing world-class, trusted computing resources to help businesses speed up the recovery process, and offer cloud-based intelligent solutions to support their digital transformation in the post-pandemic world.”

In its last quarterly earnings report, issued in February, Alibaba reported cloud revenue grew 62% to $ 1.5 billion. Alibaba Cloud is the top cloud provider in the Asia Pacific market, according to Gartner.


TechCrunch

It’s not quite business as usual in the world of business, but in tech, there is still a significant amount of money being raised and invested, both to help sustain the most promising startups, and to help find those emerging despite (or because of) the wider economic and social crises arising from the coronavirus pandemic. Today, one of the biggest names in VC, Index Ventures, announced that it has closed another $ 2 billion in funds –$ 1.2 billion that it plans to use for growth rounds (larger, later stage investments) and $ 800 million that it will put into emerging startups (smaller, earlier rounds, likely for younger companies).

At a time when it’s getting very tough for startups — which are often built not for immediate profit but growth, with big capital infusions to sustain themselves — Index will have its work cut out for it. To date, 70% of its initial investments are at Series A or earlier. Whether that will be a proportion it keeps remains to be seen.

The total amount is larger than Index’s last fund, dating from July 2018, which totalled $ 1.65 billion ($ 1 billion growth, $ 650,000 emerging), but it’s not clear if this was what the firm had intended to raise, or less or more. For some context, another huge VC firm, Insight Partners, last week announced a monster $ 9.5 billion round, which exceeded the company’s original target of just over $ 7 billion.

Like Insight, the focus for Index will be both to fund existing portfolio companies as well as seek out those diamonds in the rough that are being built now, a spokesperson confirmed to us.

Despite all the social distancing and tightening of purse strings due to unemployment and other indicators of economic struggle, there have been pockets of opportunity emerging around areas like delivery services, medical and healthcare technology, and of course anything that helps us live our lives in a more efficient and hopefully diversionary way online (which can come in the form of entertainment, but also better services for doing practical and necessary things, like shopping or have a work videoconference without websites falling over or getting hacked).

“Innovation is often born out of adversity,” said Jan Hammer, Partner at Index Ventures, in a statement. “The path to building a great company is not a straight line, with many obstacles and forks along the way. We take the long view and remain committed to investing in ambitious entrepreneurs at this unprecedented time.”

Yes, it is easy for a VC — who I’m guessing is probably not concerned about his income or health in the same way that a front-line healthcare worker or grocery check-out person might be — to wax lyrical about opportunity right now, but that doesn’t mean it’s not something that should be ignored. In fact, I’d argue that finding ways out of this is just as important as us all getting through it in one piece.

Index has remained one of the very active investors in the last several weeks, as a key backer in some of the biggest deals announced for Notion, Fast, Collibra and Safety Culture, “with more to follow,” the spokesperson said.

Other big startups (scale-ups perhaps being a more apt word) include Deliveroo, Glossier, Confluent, Figma, Revolut and Roblox. IPOs from its portfolio over the last couple of years have included Slack, Adyen and Datadog.

“We believe that entrepreneurs hold the keys to the world’s recovery, and we couldn’t support them without the backing of our investors, our limited partners,” said partner Mike Volpi in a statement. “Many of them have been with us for two decades, and we’re especially thankful for their continued commitment in times like these. The success of our entrepreneurs in turn helps to fund the research organizations, universities, medical institutes and the pension funds our limited partners represent, and we couldn’t be more proud to have them as part of the Index Family.”


TechCrunch

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