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India’s richest man spends $132 million buying majority stake in robotics company

India’s richest man, Mukesh Ambani, has bought the majority stake – 54 percent – in a robotics company called Addverb Technologies through his Reliance Industries conglomerate.

Addverb Technologies is a warehouse automation company, mainly in the intralogistics space, providing autonomous mobile robots and other systems, and was already working with Reliance Industries.

The purchase of the shares took place during the startup’s latest funding round.

On a statement on Addverb’s website, the company says: “Our strategic partnership with Reliance, led by an investment of $132 million in our Series B round, will help us deliver more advanced and affordable robots.

“This association brings an opportunity to deploy our robots at scale in omni-channel distribution centers across different segments like e-commerce, retail, grocery, fashion, pharma, digital and petrochemical.”

Sangeet Kumar, co-founder and CEO of Addverb, says: “Addverb will continue to operate independently and will use the funds received from Reliance to expand business overseas as well as set up one of the biggest robotic manufacturing facilities in Noida (in northern India).”

Reliance Industries is one of India’s largest multinational companies, with interests in energy, telecommunications and media, to name a few.

Its market capitalisation is well above $200 billion and its annual revenues are in the region of $70 billion.

The company has been on the acquisition trail in recent months, and among its recent investments was Dunzo, said to be “India’s leading quick commerce player”.

Given that warehouse automation has been a key driver in the strong growth of e-commerce, there seems to be opportunities for synergies between Dunzo and Addverb Technologies.

Dunzo raised $240 million in its latest round of funding, which took place earlier this month.

The investment was led by Reliance Retail Ventures, with participation from existing investors Lightbox, Lightrock, 3L Capital and Alteria Capital.

With an investment of $200 million, Reliance Retail will own 25.8 percent stake on a fully diluted basis.

Speaking about the investment, Isha Ambani, director, Reliance Retail Ventures, says: “We are seeing a shift in consumption patterns to online and have been highly impressed with how Dunzo has disrupted the space.

“Dunzo is the pioneer of Quick Commerce in India and we want to support them in furthering their ambitions of becoming a prominent local commerce enabler in the country.

“Through our partnership with Dunzo, we will be able to provide increased convenience to Reliance Retail’s consumers and differentiated customer experience through rapid delivery of products from Reliance Retail stores.

“Our merchants will get access to the hyperlocal delivery network of Dunzo to support their growth as they move their business online through Jio Mart.”

Kabeer Biswas, CEO and co-founder, Dunzo, says: “Since our inception, we have been razor focused on providing an unmatched customer experience and this funding round is a resounding validation of our approach.

“I am proud of the team for tirelessly building this category over the past three years and grateful to our investors for their continued support.

“With this investment from Reliance Retail, we will have a long-term partner with whom we can accelerate growth and redefine how Indians shop for their daily and weekly essentials.

“We’re excited by the traction and velocity that Dunzo Daily has achieved and over the next three years, we aim to establish ourselves as one of the most reliable quick commerce providers in the country.”

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