Reliance has backed Philadelphia-based AI and robotics startup Exyn, the Indian conglomerate announced Thursday in a grant application, further breaking global startup policy.
Reliance Strategic Business Ventures, a wholly owned subsidiary of Reliance Industries, has acquired a 23.3% stake in Exyn for $25 million, the Indian company said.
The Indian company’s investment is part of a larger $35 million Series B funding from the Philadelphia startup, which operates robotic autonomy for complex environments without GPS.
The AI startup “is commercializing the highest level of aerial drone autonomy in the world, Autonomy Level 4 (AL4.) Exyn’s robots can navigate autonomously in previously inaccessible environments without a prior map, existing infrastructure (GPS, communications, etc.), or an operator in the loop”, according to a description on his site.
Reliance, which operates India’s largest retail chain and the country’s largest telecom operator, said it will find synergies with the start-up on the Indian conglomerate’s initiatives in drones, industrial safety, security and robotics, while “Exyn’s product and technology will accelerate”. development across multiple application areas and commercialization.”
The startup had revenues of $4.32 million, $1.83 million and $0.16 million in CY 2021, CY 2020 and CY 2019 respectively, the Indian company added.
Reliance Industries, or one of its divisions, has made a series of investments this year, including hyperlocal delivery startup Dunzo and Google-backed Android lockscreen platform Glance.
In March, Reliance Strategic Business Ventures said it planned to invest up to $221 million in US electronics company Sanmina to set up a joint venture as the Indian giant looks to expand its electronics production. The joint venture aims to create a “world-class” electronic manufacturing hub in India, the two said.
Earlier on Thursday, Reliance said it had agreed to acquire Metro AG’s Indian unit for $344 million. Metro, which entered the Indian market nearly two decades ago, operates 31 wholesale distribution centers across the country.
“With our mission to reduce injuries and fatalities in ‘physical’ industries that collect data in hazardous environments, this investment will accelerate Exyn’s impact and growth. With this new capital, we will further expand our global footprint to dramatically improve safety for those working in hazardous environments around the world and keep them out of harm’s way,” Nader Elm, CEO of Exyn, said in a statement Friday.
The story has been updated with more information about Exyn’s Series B funding round.