Glance, which serves media content, news, and casual games on Android handsets’ lockscreens, has received a $200 million investment from Jio Platforms, the latest in a series of bets from Mukesh Ambani’s empire as it looks to expand its offering to more than 420 million telecom subscribers in the South Asian market.
Jio Platforms’ parent company, Reliance Industries, is led by Asia’s richest man, Mukesh Ambani, and stated its investment is part of the InMobi Group subsidiary’s Series D fundraising round. According to a source familiar with the subject, the fresh investment puts Google-backed Glance at around $1.7 billion.
Glance, which was founded in 2019, comes pre-installed on various major smartphone models and has a “presence” of 400 million people, according to the company.
According to a top Glance official with direct knowledge of the situation, a significant section of the user base removes Glance within the first week of purchasing the cellphones, and in many cases, retail store owners delete Glance themselves.
Glance has partnerships with almost every major Android smartphone manufacturer in Asia, including Xiaomi and Samsung, India’s two largest smartphone manufacturers.
As part of the agreement, the company will bring its technology to the JioPhone Next smartphones, according to the two companies. The JioPhone Next, which runs a substantially optimised Android operating system and costs around $87, is the result of a collaboration between Google and Jio.
“This is the latest in a series of strategic partnerships between Glance and global players in the mobile ecosystem. The deal is also expected to lead to further strategic collaborations between Glance, Reliance Retail and Jio across devices, commerce, content and gaming ecosystem,” the companies stated in a joint statement.
Glance is to use the new funds to expand in a number of significant foreign countries outside of Asia, according to Jio. The United States, Brazil, Mexico, and Russia are among these markets. It also intends to expand its live content catalogue and commerce ecosystem, both of which it hopes to bring to users’ lockscreens, according to the companies.
InMobi Group founder and CEO Naveen Tewari stated in a statement, “Mr. Mukesh Ambani has been a source of immense inspiration for me since my early days and it is an honour to have Jio becoming a strategic partner in our journey.”
“Jio’s investment into Glance brings a deep synergy of vision and philosophy. Jio is a truly disruptive company. It made internet accessible for millions of users, making India one of the largest internet markets in the world. Reliance is now disrupting the smartphone market with launch of its JioPhone Next smartphones. Jio’s investment into Glance and Glance’s presence on the lock screen of JioPhone Next smartphones will lead to a paradigm shift in how its users experience the internet.”