Facebook, Amazon, Microsoft, Google and Apple — the big five technology companies collectively known as FAMGA is setting funding records amid the pandemic. Q3 2020 has been the second consecutive quarter for the big five’s investments soaring in other technology companies globally. While Q2 2020 investments stood at $6.1 billion in nine deals, the Q3 funding as on September 2, 2020, has already surged past that amount to $7.9 billion in nine deals, as per a report by CB Insights. Importantly, a third of these investments in the past six months have gone to India-based companies including Reliance Jio as among the major investees apart from edtech startup Unacademy, MSME lender Capital Float, and financial products marketplace BankBazaar.
The overall 2020 funding stood at $16.7 billion across 22 deals surpassing $7.6 billion investment in 2019, making 2020 “a record year despite the Coronavirus outbreak,” the report said. The World Health Organization had declared the outbreak a global pandemic on March 11, 2020. Out of the total investment, 44 per cent was made by the five tech companies in the US, followed by 33 per cent in India, 11 per cent in the UK and another 11 per cent in other geographies between March 11 and September 2, 2020.
Among the five companies, Alphabet made the highest number of investments during the period with six deals. Out of this, four investments occurred in Q3 including $4.5 billion funding into Reliance Jio in exchange for a 7.7 per cent stake. Google had said that it would be working with Jio to develop a low-cost Android phone for Jio. The company claimed to have more than 388 million subscribers for its Jio Platforms.
It had also raised $5.7 billion from Facebook for a 10 per cent stake in April 2020. Facebook has been the largest minority investor in Jio even as the investment by Facebook was “reportedly the largest corporate minority financing ever made by a tech company globally as well as the largest foreign direct investment in technology in India’s history,” the report added. Jio has secured over $20 billion since April 2020 and is currently valued at around $58 billion with investments from top backers globally including Intel Capital, Qualcomm Ventures, KKR, and General Atlantic.
Amazon has also made two investments in India during the pandemic. It participated in a $3.8 million Series D round BankBazaar and a $15M Series E round in Capital Float. “These India-based fintech investments highlight that Amazon is looking to further deepen its footprint in the region.”