Last week witnessed a feeding frenzy from the crème de la crème of Wall Street’s smart money (and some Dubai’s smart money LOL!) to be part of the private market financing of Reliance Jio, the emerging supernova of India’s digital ecosystem.
After having spent $50 billion in building a scalable, state of the art wireless network, Mukesh Ambani realized that he needed strategic investors like Facebook, Google and Qualcomm to build a unique ecosystem of content, services, apps and platforms. In my opinion Mukesh Ambani will go down in history in the same league of seismic socio-economic transformational agents in Indian history as Lord Buddha, Emperor Akbar, Robert Clive, M. K. Gandhi and JRD Tata.
Reliance has focused on the hottest embryonic themes in India’s digital constellation – IOT, blockchain, edge computing, mobile wallets, payment networks, AR/virtual reality, education, healthcare, retail, media/entertainment, music streaming, Nextgen e-commerce, e-Bollywood, gaming and so much more.
In India, a nation of 1.3 billion human beings will have no choice but to access this digital octopus, a defacto economic monopoly since Vodafone, Bharti Airtel have no hope of ever competing with Reliance Jio, I can easily envisage a $150 billion market cap on the NASDAQ in the next two years. This means that investors who accumulated the shares at $64 billion in last week’s financing round will almost triple their money when the IPO breaks syndicate some time in 2022. It is no coincidence that the private equity financiers who led the round included KKR, General Atalantic, Vista and Silverlake, among the most respected names in technology finance.