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Reliance, Nvidia to develop AI infra in India; Freshworks draws more large customers

Mukesh Ambani-led Reliance Industries has tied up with chipmaker Nvidia to develop India’s own foundation large language model. The petrochemicals-to-telecom conglomerate is also exploring an entry into semiconductor manufacturing. This and more in today’s ETtech Top 5.

Also in this letter:
■ Ex-Swiggy CTO Dale Vaz secures funding for new venture
■ ETSA 2023: Nominees for Midas Touch
■ ETtech Deals Digest

Reliance partners with Nvidia to develop AI infrastructure in India

(L to R) Jensen Huang, CEO, Nvidia Group and Mukesh Ambani, chairperson, Reliance Industries

Reliance Industries has tied up with US-based chipmaker Nvidia to develop India’s own foundation large language model, trained in the country’s diverse languages, and tailored for generative AI applications.

Nvidia said that it would work with Reliance to build AI infrastructure. The chipmaker will provide Reliance with access to its GH200 Grace Hopper Superchip and DGX Cloud.

Driving the news: The development comes after Ambani recently told the company’s shareholders that Jio would bring AI to every household in India. He also said RIL would be developing India-specific AI-powered solutions and models.

Details: Nvidia says the infrastructure will be hosted in AI-ready computing data centres that will eventually expand to 2,000 MW. Jio will manage the execution and implementation.

Eye on chip manufacturing: Earlier today, news agency Reuters reported that Reliance is exploring an entry into semiconductor manufacturing, a move that could address its supply chain needs and cater to the growing chip demand in India.

Details: Reliance sees merit in getting into semiconductors as this would help safeguard against chip shortages that could affect its telecom and electronic devices businesses, said the news report.

Tata Group to announce AI partnership with Nvidia: Tata Group is set to announce an AI partnership with Nvidia , Reuters reported, adding that an announcement is expected later in the day.

Also read: Foxconn planning to make EVs in India; Tamil Nadu on radar

Foxconn seeks to work with STMicro to build a chip plant: Meanwhile, Taiwanese contract manufacturer Foxconn, which saw its attempted partnership with Anil Agarwal’s Vedanta fall apart, is teaming up with STMicroelectronics NV to build a semiconductor factory in India.

Freshworks on a high as large customers queue up

Freshworks founder

Freshworks founder & CEO Girish Mathrubootham

Freshworks is increasingly winning contracts from large customers—those who spend more than $50,000-100,000 annually on the software-as-a-service (SaaS) company’s services. This has led Freshworks to target 18-19% on-year growth in its 2023 revenue, the company’s management said on Friday, at its first-ever investor day.

Details: During the June quarter, Freshworks had 855 customers providing annual recurring revenue (ARR) of more than $100,000, against 737 such customers in 2022 and 535 in 2021.

Quote, unquote: “We have earned the right to engage with larger companies … and we have been able to go in and beat incumbents in some cases and go head-to-head with some of our competitors to prove that our software serves the needs of those larger organisations,” Tyler Sloat, chief financial officer, Freshworks, said.

Record-breaking quarter: Freshworks said it signed the highest number of large deals in the company’s history in the June quarter. On August 2, the Nasdaq-listed company reported a 19% rise in revenue to $145.1 million for the quarter ended June. It also raised its forecast for the whole of 2023, saying it will hit an adjusted operating profit of $28 million.

Ex-Swiggy CTO Dale Vaz secures funding for new venture

Dale Vaz

Dale Vaz, founder, Aaritya Technologies

Aaritya Technologies, founded by food-delivery company Swiggy’s former chief technology officer Dale Vaz, on Friday said it has secured seed funding from venture capital funds Accel and Elevation Capital.

‘Back to building’: “I had the good fortune of working with Accel and Elevation Capital during my time at Swiggy, and I am excited to continue this partnership with Aaritya Tech… and now with funding secured, it’s back to building,” Vaz said in a post on microblogging site X (formerly Twitter).

Who is Dale Vaz? Vaz joined Swiggy as the head of engineering and data science in 2018, before being appointed the group chief technology officer in early 2020.

He left the food delivery firm in April, amid a spate of exits and wider restructuring at the IPO-bound firm. Swiggy’s senior vice president of revenue and growth, Anuj Rathi also announced his exit from the firm, we reported on Thursday.

Zepto elevates Ankit Agarwal to CPO: Quick commerce platform Zepto on Friday said it has elevated senior vice president of product, Ankit Agarwal, as its chief product officer. Agarwal will now have end-to-end ownership of the product, encompassing consumer experience, supply chain, and last-mile delivery, it said.

ETSA 2023: What jury member Deepinder Goyal expects from nominees

Deepinder Goyal

The ETSA awards are here.

Ahead of the awards, we spoke to jury member Deepinder Goyal, founder and CEO of Zomato, about his expectations from this year’s nominees.

Goyal told us he would be on the lookout for “a growth mindset” in this year’s nominees.

“A common misconception in entrepreneurship is that it is inherent, innate and unchangeable to an individual—you either have what it takes to be an entrepreneur or you don’t. I fundamentally disagree with this fixed mindset theory. Ability, talent and skills to be entrepreneurial are learnable, and can be developed and achieved through effort,” he said.

Read more on what the jury has to say about the nominees

Also read |Jury will look for cash-flow generating businesses with a worldview

ETSA 2023: Nominees for Midas Touch

Midas Touch: This category will award the most lucrative exit of the year. The jury will make this decision based on the volume of deals as well as the size of the exit.

And the nominees are:

  • Kunal Bahl, Rohit Bansal of Titan Capital
  • Kanwaljit Singh of Fireside Ventures
  • Jishnu Bhattacharjee of Nexus Venture Partners
  • Varsha Tagare of Qualcomm Ventures
  • TCM Sundaram of Chiratae Ventures

Read more about the nominees here.

Also take a look at the other nominations unveiled so far:

ETtech deals digest

AI startup

Late-stage investments in Indian electric scooter manufacturers Ather Energy and Ola Electric boosted total funding for Indian startups to $447 million this week, marking a more than nine-fold increase from the prior week’s $49 million.

Also read | Ola Electric closes $140 million funding from Temasek at $5.4 billion valuation

Weekly Deal Digest

The weekly fundraise was nearly double the $227 million received in the same period last year.

Also read | Ather Energy raises Rs 900 crore from Hero MotoCorp, GIC through rights issue

Weekly Deal Digest 1

The total funding in late-stage startups, driven by Ather and Ola Electric, amounted to $292 million, accounting for nearly two-thirds of the fund infusion this week. Early-stage startups secured $131 million, while seed-stage startups received $24 million.

Today’s ETtech Top 5 newsletter was curated by Megha Mishra in Mumbai and Gaurab Dasgupta in New Delhi.

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