Reliance Industries eyes stake in lock screen content provider, Glance

Glance RIL
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Mukesh Ambani’s Reliance Industries (RIL) has started discussions to invest up to $300 million to acquire a 15-20% stake in Indian content provider Glance as the conglomerate eyes access to content on the lock screen for its upcoming smartphone, JioPhone Next, and monetise the service.

As per a report by Bloomberg, the transaction will be completed in the next few weeks.

Notably, Google had also invested in Glance in December last year. Both Google and Jio have co-developed the ultra-affordable smartphone, which will be available in the market in November.

Glance, owned by adtech InMobi, raised a $145 million investment from Google and existing investor Mithril Capital at the valuation of over $1 billion. In June this year, the content provider bought social commerce startup Shop101 to power its backend commerce and logistics play.

“Such a deal would give Reliance access to valuable lock-screen real estate on the affordable mobile phones it’s co-developing with Google…it would also give Reliance strategic entry into short-video content, a category where users are skyrocketing,” Bloomberg reported citing sources.

Glance app serves media content, news and casual games on the lock screen of Android-powered smartphones. The service comes pre-installed on several smartphone models from almost all leading handset players including Xiaomi.

Glance had 150-million active users mark in the April-June quarter of 2021, growing by 8% from the previous quarter, as per a Counterpoint study. It uses artificial intelligence (AI) to offer personalized experience to its users.

InMobi had last year acquired Roposo, which enabled Glance to expand its offering by introducing short-form videos on the platform. The company claimed that introducing short-form videos and games on Glance has helped it increase the engagement level.

Roposo, however, still offers short video service, which gained a significant number of users after the ban was imposed by India on TikTok last year.

RIL recently delayed the launch of its JioPhone Next smartphone due to the chipset shortage and rising prices of other components. The company is expected to price the JioPhone Next in the range of Rs3,500-Rs4,000 ($47-54).

RIL through its telecom arm Reliance Jio is targeting a “large addressable market” of around 540 million, including 2G feature phone users, its own JioPhone users, and smartphone users with the JioPhone Next.

RIL had last year received a $4.5 billion investment from Google for Jio Platforms. Google had made the investment through its $10 billion India Digitisation Fund (IDF).

Google is separately betting big on short video and video commerce segments. It had previously invested in VerSe Innovation, which owns short-video app Josh and Dailyhunt,  and Indian social commerce startup, Simsim.

Related article: India TikTok clone Josh raises $100mn from Google, Microsoft and others

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