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Mukesh Ambani’s Jio punch for startups: Free cloud infra, investment; calls Jio a startup

Sandeep Soni
RIL AGM, RIL, Reliance Industries AGM, Jio, Jio GigaFiber, JioPhone 3, mukesh ambani

Reliance chief Mukesh Ambani, who has developed a strong penchant for startups in India through multiple acquisitions and tie-ups, has once again reiterated his commitment to the growing Indian startup ecosystem. Speaking at the group's 42nd annual general meeting (AGM), Asia's richest man Mukesh Ambani announced bringing down the cost burden for young startups with respect to cloud and connectivity infrastructure. "You may know that 80 per cent of the cost of running a startup goes towards cloud and connectivity infrastructure. I want to announce today that Jio is ready to take away this cost by making the connectivity and cloud infrastructure absolutely free for budding startups," he said urging them to register for the custom-designed package on Jio.com from January 1, 2020, onwards.

Jio will also be investing and offering financial support to such startups having "the potential to address India’s big needs in agriculture, healthcare, education and skill development which will boost the creation of new livelihoods," said Mukesh Ambani.

Started three years back, Jio in its own unique way is a startup that crossed the 340 million subscriber mark to remain the world’s fastest-growing digital services company even as it is India’s largest telecom enterprise in terms of subscribers, revenues and profits, according to Mukesh Ambani. "Jio is a startup built in India for India by Indians. And we have a special place in our hearts for startups," said Mukesh Ambani. The company has so far invested in 14 startups including mixed reality startup Tesseract, ed-tech startup Embibe etc.

The commitment comes along with Jio's partnership with Microsoft announced today by Ambani to help India's MSMEs and startups with digital growth. As part of the tie-up Jio's connectivity infrastructure will promote the adoption of Microsoft's Azure cloud solution among startups as part of Jio's cloud-first strategy, the company said in a statement on Monday.

Through Azure, Jio-developed cloud solutions will give startups access to "efficient and affordable cloud infrastructure and platform services, enabling them to develop innovative products and services faster and more cost-effectively," Jio said. "Jio and Microsoft will partner to launch new cloud data centres in India," said Microsoft's CEO Satya Nadella in a video message, adding that they will jointly offer Office 365 and bring Azure Cognitive Services to more devices with support for 13 Indian languages and others to come.