RIL to invest INR 300 Cr in Robotics Startup Addverb Technologies

Startup Funding

Reliance Retail Ventures Ltd, the retail unit of Reliance Industries Ltd, is likely to acquire a minority stake in warehouse robotics company Addverb Technologies Pvt. Ltd for around INR 300 crores, two people familiar with the matter said. The deal will value Addverb Technologies at INR 1,590-1,660 crore.

Adverb Technologies was founded in 2016 by former Asian Paints executives Satish Shukla, Sangeet Kumar, Prateek Jain, Bir Singh, Amit Kumar, and Neeraj Sharma. The company claims its products help companies improve space utilization in warehouses and factories by leveraging robotics and warehouse automation. It caters to industries such as e-commerce, health, aviation, retail, grocery, fashion, third-party logistics, pharmaceuticals, and auto parts.

Addverb Technologies, which counts Amazon, Flipkart, ITC, and Coca-Cola among its clients, has raised more than $10 million from Jalaj Ashwin Dani, co-promoter of Asian Paints, in two tranches in 2017 and 2019, according to VCCEdge, the data intelligence platform of VCCircle.

In June, Moneycontrol reported the company initiated talks with institutional investors to raise $80-120 million. Addverb Technologies’ net sales rose to INR 111.2 crores in the year ended March 2020 from INR 64.9 crores in the previous year.

Through its retail unit, Reliance has made several acquisitions this year. Last month, it bought out retail lingerie businesses under the ‘Amante’ brand from MAS Brands, a unit of Sri Lanka-based MAS Holdings, for an undisclosed amount. Reliance Retail took a 52% stake in India’s oldest fashion house, Ritu Kumar, in October. It also picked up a significant stake in Manish Malhotra’s desi couture label in the same month. In July, it bought local search engine platform Just Dial Ltd for INR 5,713 crores via preferential allotment of shares and open offers.

Reliance Retail has raised nearly $6.4 billion in external funding last year from the likes of US-based private equity firm Silver Lake Partners, Saudi Arabia’s Public Investment Fund, private equity firm KKR & Co., Abu Dhabi state fund Mubadala Investment Co. and Abu Dhabi Investment Authority.

To be sure, a handful of startups in the robotics space have raised funding in the recent past. Earlier this month, Pune-based supply chain robotics technology company Unbox Robotics secured $7 million in its Series A funding round led by 3one4 Capital. Earlier this month, market-bound logistics company Delhivery acquired California-based Transition Robotics Inc.

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