Jio Platforms, the digital arm of Reliance Industries, has invested $15 million in Two Platforms, a Silicon Valley-based deep tech start-up, for a 25 per cent equity stake on a fully diluted basis. The move comes as the conglomerate scales up automation across its businesses.
Two is an artificial reality company with a focus on building interactive and immersive artificial intelligence experiences, according to a statement from Reliance on Friday.
The company was founded by Pranav Mistry in July. He previously worked with Samsung Electronics, Microsoft, Google, Unesco and Nasa.
After text and voice, Two believes the next chapter of AI is visual and interactive. Two’s artificial reality platform enables real-time AI voice and video calls, digital humans, immersive spaces and lifelike gaming, Jio said.
“We are impressed with the strong experience and capabilities of the founding team at Two in the areas of AI, machine learning, AR, metaverse and Web 3.0,” Akash Ambani, director of Jio, said.
“We look forward to working together with Two to help expedite development of new products in the areas of interactive AI, immersive gaming and metaverse.”
Reliance Industries, controlled by Asia’s richest man Mukesh Ambani, is India’s largest private sector company. It built Jio Platforms, which houses movie streaming, music apps and telecoms venture Jio Infocomm, over the past four years.
The platform has 421 million subscribers and Reliance Industries intends to use technology to create a “digital India” by offering cheaper online services to the country’s 1.3 billion people.
Jio reported a 9 per cent annual rise in third-quarter profit to $511m, as it added 10.2 million customers as of December 31.
Several companies have invested in Jio Platforms, including the Abu Dhabi Investment Authority, Mubadala Investment Company, Saudi Arabia’s Public Investment Fund, Google, Facebook, Qualcomm, Intel Capital, KKR, TPG, General Atlantic, Silver Lake Capital and Vista Equity Partners.
The PIF invested about $1.5 billion in Jio for a 2.32 per cent stake in 2020. Adia invested $753.4 million for a 1.16 per cent stake, while Mubadala invested $1.2bn for a 1.85 per cent stake.
Facebook invested $5.7bn in Jio Platforms in April 2020 for a 10 per cent stake, making it the biggest minority shareholder in the company. Google said it would invest $4.5bn for a 7.7 per cent stake.
Two plans to bring its interactive AI technologies first to consumer applications followed by entertainment and gaming, as well as enterprise solutions including retail, services, education, health and wellness, according to the statement from Jio.
“Jio is foundational to India’s digital transformation. We are excited to partner with Jio to push the boundaries of AI and introduce applications of artificial reality to consumers and businesses at scale,” Mr Mistry, chief executive of Two, said.
Two will work collaboratively with Jio to fast-track the adoption of new technologies and build disruptive technologies such as AI, metaverse and mixed realities, the statement said.