Mukesh Ambani
Mukesh Ambani

SAN FRANCISCO (Diya TV) — Reliance Industries, an Indian conglomerate holding company controlled by billionaire Mukesh Ambani, announced Wednesday it was investing $16 million in the U.S.-based tech startup NetraDyne.

The tech startup has yet to begin its commercial operations, but is developing deep learning solutions and vision-based analytics for industries such as fleet management, automotive, security and surveillance.

“There are potential synergies with telecom and digital business initiatives of RIL… apart from commercialization benefits in India,” the company said.

Reliance operates India’s largest private-sector refinery in addition to its large retail portfolio, and are close to launching operations of its telecom arm Reliance Jio Infocomm that will offer high-speed data services across India. As part of that introduction strategy, the company has already begun selling telecom handsets in the country.

Reliance said half of the $16 million investment was delivered May 31, and will deliver the second half by March of next year. For their expense, Reliance is receiving a 40 percent stake of NetraDyne, on the basis of current fully diluted share capital.

Based in San Diego, NetraDyne was founded in 2015 by Avneesh Agrawal and David Julian. Agrawal previously served as Qualcomm’s senior vice president of technology and business for more than a decade. He additionally served as the company’s president for India and South Asia, responsible for the company’s business, sales and marketing operations in the region.

Julian previously co-founded Mountain View Analytics, a financial investment startup, and later worked as principal engineer in Qualcomm Research for 12 years before launching NetraDyne. He also spent time working at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory.

The move is just the latest in Reliance’s efforts to engage more heavily with the world’s startup market. Through its venture capital arm, the company has future plans to back five or six of the second batch of 11 companies that graduated out of its four month-accelerator program, and are currently actively looking for early-stage ventures outside its own mentorship program.