Digital payments firm Paytm on Monday said it plans to invest Rs 500 crore in early stage startups that build complementary technologies augmenting the digital ecosystem.
The company will focus on artificial intelligence-based technology and big data solutions for new innovations that can generate large scale employment.
"The company has set aside Rs 500 crore to invest in early-stage companies that build complementary technologies augmenting the digital ecosystem," Paytm said in a statement.
The company said it expects to employ technology across the growing internet to become the dominant player in AI.
"We are well aligned with our country's mission to ensure the benefits of the digital revolution reach the last mile. We partner with startups who have capabilities that augment the digital ecosystem for the next wave of growth.
"These investments are also an indication that Paytm believes India's entrepreneur ecosystem is innovative and is growing well," Paytm Deputy Chief Financial Officer Vikas Garg said.
The company typically invests Rs 200-250 crore every year in intellectual properties or companies building complementary technologies such as Insider, Nearbuy, Loginext, Ticket New, Hungerbox, Nightstay, QRQL, and RecruiterGrid, the statement said.
Recently, Nearbuy CEO Ankur Warikoo announced in a LinkedIn post that, in November 2019, he will be stepping down from his role at the Gurugram-based deals marketplace, and will continue with the company as a shareholder and board member.
In the post, Warikoo said that Nearbuy Co-founders Ravi Shankar and Snehesh Mitra will take over the management of the company as the CEO and COO, respectively.
In December 2017, Paytm acquired Nearbuy and Little, and invested in the merged entity. Nearbuy, which enables customers and local merchants to discover and engage with each other, claims to be present in more than 35 cities across 18+ categories. It has over 50,000 merchants across more than 100,000 unique locations.
(Disclaimer: Additional background information has been added to this PTI copy for context)