Television

Uday Shankar-James Murdoch partnership is a homecoming one

The new venture will invest in online education and healthcare for a start.

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MUMBAI: So Uday Shankar is getting his skin into a bigger game. After building Star India into a major player in the Indian market, the man is partnering with his former boss James Murdoch’s Lupa Systems for a new venture which would invest in Indian media and technology Indian start-ups, according to a PR Newswire release. Murdoch has plied the $2 billion he got (after the sale of Twenty First Century Fox’s entertainment assets to Disney) into Lupa Systems, which has already made a few investments in India.

“After two decades of working in India and the region, at Star and more recently at Lupa Systems, it's great to be entering into a renewed partnership with Uday. Our collaborations over the years have been immensely rewarding for consumers, our various shareholders, and our colleagues. I'm very pleased to be renewing that partnership now. As connectivity continues to accelerate and expand across South Asia and the whole region, new opportunities for innovation, across consumer sectors, will multiply," said James Murdoch.

"James and I enjoyed a great partnership at Star and I am enormously excited to be in partnership with him again. At Star, we had the great benefit of working with the best and brightest Indian talent, combined with global vision and a desire to disrupt the old order. Digital Technology promises to transform the lives of many millions of people in this part of the world and I have every confidence that we can harness technology, enterprise, and tremendous talent to create a great business that is also great for society," said Uday Shakar.

"Lupa Systems set up its India presence less than two years ago and has already created a promising portfolio of technology investments. Partnering with Uday, to build ambitiously for the long term, will take us to another level," said Lupa Systems India managing director Nitin Kukreja.

Speaking to Financial Times, James Murdoch said that the partnership would not “work like a venture capital project, but will have a more operational focus, aiming to knit together the ‘explosive growth’ of mobile data access in India with services such as online learning and healthcare.” It will be focused on India but will cover the whole of Asia.

For Uday, James and Nitin, it will be a homecoming of sorts. The three worked very closely together to help build Star India’s sports business, which today is amongst the most valued properties in the Disney Star India portfolio. Expect the three of them to unleash some great entrepreneurial energy from India’s young start-ups. Especially at a time when India is showing explosive growth in wiring up to the internet, either through fixed broadband lines or wireless. The pandemic has accelerated e-commerce, online purchases, education as well as online health care consultation.

While stepping down after a 13-year-stint at the top of India’s largest entertainment network, Uday had said that for some time, he had been thinking about how he can give back to the country, community and industry.

Indiantelevision.com had actually mentioned Uday’s likelihood of partnering with James in a story on 1 January 2021. Uday Shankar: The man who built Star India

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