This news didn’t get a lot of attention. But it is important. Late last month, JSW Ventures invested in Indus OS, a mobile operating system in regional languages. The company started as language technology company in 2014. Fast forward to 2016, in the first quarter, the startup cracked the market and gained a significant market share, becoming the second largest smartphone OS in India, according to Counterpoint Research.
This is what The Economic Times had to say:
“The company is betting big on Indus OS 3.0 as a major milestone. The company has been working closely with leading hardware and developer partners in the Indian smartphone ecosystem to build the platform, to be released in the next quarter.”
Indus OS is a curious company, and a bet in it speaks of a bigger plan by the investor.
Set up less than a year ago with a fund size of Rs 100 crore, the family office of the JSW Group wants to be noticed as a serious early stage investor. And this is JSW Ventures’ third investment. It has earlier pumped capital into Overcart and Purplle. And an investment in an unnamed SaaS company is set to be announced in May.
The JSW Group has been on an expansion mode. Its core areas are currently steel, energy, infrastructure and cement. The conglomerate has been looking to find more sources of revenue in different business verticals. It is the Jindal family’s first foray into venture capital. An incursion into new technology it, so far, has no play in. A way to maximise revenue in a sector, where it can have greater return with fewer risks. Parth Jindal, son of Sajjan Jindal, has been at its helm. The Harvard graduate is also the CEO of Bengaluru FC, an Indian professional football club based in Bengaluru.
JSW Ventures isn’t the only family office that has started to find value in the market. Premji Invest, Azim Premji’s family office, too, which has a fund size of over $1 billion, has made over 60 investments in 11 years. It has also started to take more meetings with an eye on startups, say sources. Sharp Ventures, run by Rishabh Mariwala of Marico, invested in LEAP, a supply chain firm, a few months ago.