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Exclusive: Reliance set to acquire a controlling stake in NowFloats

Reliance’s acquisition juggernaut continues to roll as the firm looks to build its e-commerce ecosystem. The Mukesh Ambani-led company is in advanced stages to acquire a 51% stake in SaaS startup NowFloats, according to three Entrackr sources.  

“The negotiation has been underway for about two months. Both parties have agreed upon the proposed structure of the deal. If everything goes well, the deal will be sealed and announced later this month,” said the three sources who did not wish to be named.

Reliance has been ramping up its e-commerce push by acquiring controlling stakes in several business-to-business and consumer-facing Internet companies. Last year, it acquired education-tech startup Embibe while this year it announced similar deals with chat-bot maker Haptik and retail tech startup Fynd. 

Entrackr had exclusively reported about Fynd’s acquisition by Reliance in March this year.

The acquisition of NowFloats aligns with Reliance’s e-commerce play which is largely centred around small retailers. Since NowFloats powers online channels for merchants, doctors and manufacturers, it would do the same for the Reliance e-commerce ecosystem.

Apart from this, they are also in talks with several other companies that will help Reliance bolster its e-commerce play. “They (Reliance) are talking to several companies in the retail technology and financial services space which will add to their ecosystem,” a source said. 

NowFloats has three flagship products – Dictate, WildFire, and YourApp. They enable local businesses to get an online presence by creating local content, managing and updating the online presence of its customers through a user-friendly interface. 

The Jasminder Gulati-steered firm deals in seven verticals including coaching and institute, doctors and clinics, manufacturing, hotels, and salons & spas.

Entrackr has also confirmed independently that NowFloats is in the process of selling 51% equity as per its regulatory filings with the RoC. The company stated in an extraordinary general meeting on November 2 that the incoming investor will acquire over 51% of the share capital of the company.

To facilitate this transaction, NowFloats also passed a special resolution in the same meeting to convert all of its compulsorily convertible preference shares (CCPS) and compulsorily convertible debentures (CCDS) to equity shares. 

Sources say that existing investors would partially exit from the company. NowFloats is backed by Blume Ventures, Omidyar Network, Iron Pillar, IIFL and Wenlyn Global Group, among others. Seven months ago, it raised Rs 25.39 crore in a debt round from existing investors.

Queries sent to NowFloats and Reliance didn’t elicit any immediate response. We will update the post as and when they respond.

Earlier this year, Reliance had announced the acquisition of a majority stake in both Haptik and omnichannel e-commerce platform Fynd. While Haptik has been helping Reliance develop AI assistant chat and voice bots in vernacular languages, Fynd is helping the group with its offline to online play.

As for NowFloats, Reliance will use it to allow SMEs to build their own web presence and help them with digital marketing requirements such as search engine optimisation and marketing.

Acquiring a controlling stake in the Hyderabad-based firm appears to be a meaningful move for the oil-to-data firm that is looking to disrupt the e-commerce space that is currently dominated by American giants — Walmart and Amazon.

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