New Delhi, April 22 (IANS) Much before announcing its $5.7 billion investment for nearly 10 per cent stake in Reliance Industries Limited (RIL)-led Jio Platforms on Wednesday, Facebook had already started investing in Indian firms.
The social media giant made its first minority investment in an Indian startup called Meesho in June last year.
Meesho is a platform that enables Indian entrepreneurs to establish online businesses via social channels.
What Meesho does is it relies on the existing behaviour of communities in India and leverages especially on women entrepreneurs for pitching products to their friends and families, Ajit Mohan, Facebook’s Vice President and Managing Director for India explained at an event in Kerala last year.
While Facebook did not disclose the amount it invested in Meesho, reports suggest that it could be in the $20-$25 million range.
Again in February this year, Facebook joined General Atlantic, Sequoia India and others for a fresh $110 million round of funding into one of India’s fastest growing education technology start-up Unacademy.
Another Indian edtech startup Byju’s counts the Chan Zuckerberg Initiative (CZI), founded by Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg and his wife, philanthropist Priscilla Chan.
In 2016, Byju’s became the first ever Asian company to have their backing.
While announcing its $5.7 billion investment in Jio Platforms, Facebook said that “this investment underscores our commitment to India…”
“India is a special country for us. Over the years, Facebook has invested in India to connect people and help businesses launch and grow,” Mohan and Facebook’s Chief Revenue Officer, David Fischer, wrote in a blog post.
“We are excited about furthering our investment in India’s vibrant digital economy,” they added.
India is a huge market for all of Facebook’s major platforms including WhatsApp and Instagram.