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James Murdoch, Uday Shankar set up venture focused on tech, media

James Murdoch, Uday Shankar set up venture focused on tech, media
Photo Credit: 123RF.com
14 Jan, 2021

Former Star India chairman and chief executive officer Uday Shankar and Lupa Systems CEO James Murdoch have set up a venture to explore opportunities in technology and media.

This venture will focus on the Indo-Pacific region, the two said in a statement. Further details have not been disclosed.

“As connectivity continues to accelerate and expand across South Asia and the whole region, new opportunities for innovation across consumer sectors will multiply,” Murdoch said.

Both Shankar and Murdoch have previously worked on building Star India prior to its sale to The Walt Disney Company. Shankar had initially taken over the reins at Star India in 2007, and built it into one of the region’s largest media networks.

He was appointed president of Walt Disney Asia Pacific when the US-based media behemoth acquired 21st Century Fox including Star India. Shankar, who left Disney at the end of last year, currently serves as the president of the Federation of Indian Chambers of Commerce and Industry (Ficci).

Murdoch, meanwhile, served as the CEO of 21st Century Fox from 2015 to 2019. He also set up New York and Mumbai-based Lupa Systems, a private holding company that has made some investments in India.

In December, Lupa Systems took part in a $100 million (around Rs 739 crore) funding round in VerSe Innovation Pvt Ltd, the parent company of online news and content platform Dailyhunt. Other participants in the round included Falcon Edge Capital-managed Alpha Wave and technology giants Google and Microsoft.

In January last year, Lupa Systems made its first Indian investment by picking up a majority stake in online learning startup Harappa Education Pvt. Ltd. Some of its other investments include Tribeca Enterprises, Vice Media and The Void.

Lupa Systems’ India arm is led by former Star Sports CEO Nitin Kukreja.