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To beef up its e-comm play, RIL eyes majority stake in logistics startup Grab


Mukesh Ambani led RIL has been proactively working towards launching its own e-commerce platform backed by two of its entities – Reliance Jio, and Reliance Retail.

While it had all the products, supply chains, tech team, internet user base readily available and accessible,  ramping up logistics capability is must for the company.

To strengthen logistics infra, RIL is in advanced talks to acquire a majority stake in Mumbai-based Grab. The hyperlocal logistics startup specialises in first mile, last mile, on-demand, and reverse logistics.

This deal is expected to be finalised within a few weeks.

Grab itself had been looking for a major stakeholding or acquisition since the past six months. It had even talked to Paytm for the same.

The company had very recently received around $1.5 million from SIDBI and has been backed by Dubai based logistics arm Aramex Ventures since 2016. Apart from these, it is also backed by Oliphans Capital, Sixth Sense Ventures, and Zomato among others.

Interestingly, it’s Dubai based backer Aramex’s India biz has been acquired by Indian logistics giant Delhivery only a few days ago.

The Pratish Sanghvi, Jignesh Patel, and Nishant Vora founded startup has made more than 127 million deliveries across 49 cities, as per an ET report. Big Bazaar, BigBasket, Zomato, Foodpanda, Amazon, Flipkart are few of its many clients.

Buying a major stake and further investing to scale Grab, would provide RIL with a great advantage in its O2O (online to offline) business that it plans to roll out from Gujarat benefitting more than 12 lakh small shopkeepers and retailers in the state.

However, since the platform is set to be launched leveraging the customer base and kirana stores of Jio and Reliance Retail respectively, the plans are facing a legal complexity. This is because the data of the two firms cannot be combined due to privacy laws that are separate for both these individual legal entities.

Once Ambani is able to work around this legal glitch by merging the two entities, he will be able to lucratively combine the data mine in both the entities. With that, and strategic investments like Grab.in, the e-commerce play of the company should be interesting to watch.

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