Since stepping down from day-to-day responsibilities at the Tata Group, its former chairman Ratan Tata has notched up 10 investments in startups. He stepped down as the chairman of Tata Group, on 28 December 2012 but continues as the chairman of the Group’s charitable trusts.
Under his stewardship, Tata Tea acquired Tetley, Tata Motors acquired Jaguar Land Rover and Tata Steel acquired Corus, which have turned Tata from a largely India-centric company into a global business, with 65% revenues coming from abroad. He was instrumental in the development of Tata Nano, largely dubbed as the world’s cheapest passenger car.
Since past one and half years Ratan Tata has decided to focus and invest on many promising startups. On each of these start-up, he has already invested 1 to 5 crores from his personal assets. Below are those fortunate startups which have successfully raised capital from Ratan Tata’s personal investments:
Altaeros Energies is a Wind Energy startup from Boston and a Massachusetts-based business led by MIT and Harvard alumni. Altaeros Energies is developing a breakthrough airborne wind turbine to produce abundant, low cost, renewable energy. Altaeros uses safe and reliable aerospace technology to lift wind turbines to operate at higher heights where winds are much stronger and more consistent than on the ground.
Ratan Tata’s first foray into Indian ecommerce was 0.17% stake in Snapdeal. Tata is believed to have invested less than Rs 5 crore, buying 256 shares from Snapdeal’s angel investors including Kenneth Glass. 4-year-old Snapdeal recently crossed a mark of $1 billion sales growing rapidly and expanding massively.
Founded in 2011 by IIT graduate Gaurav Singh Kushwaha and Vidya Nataraj, Bluestone is an online jewellery retailer with seed funding from serial entrepreneur duo Meena and K. Ganesh’s platform GrowthStory. Bluestone was the second investment made by Ratan Tata in the e-commerce space.
Urban Ladder is a Bengaluru-based online furniture retailer company founded by IIM-Bangalore MBAs Ashish Goel and Rajiv Srivatsa in July 2012. With over 4000 products and 35 categories, at present, Urban Ladder delivers to 12 cities in India. Urban Ladder was Tata’s third investment in online retail after Snapdeal and Bluestone.
Set up in 2008, Swasth India is a Mumbai-based affordable healthcare startup focused on providing medical services to low-income population in India. Today, it has 15 centres in the city and has around 58,000 families enrolled with it.
The Jaipur-based online auto classifieds player was founded in 2007 by Amit and Anurag Jain, both IIT-Delhi alumni. It was for the first time that Ratan Tata ever joined hands with an auto portal by investing in a personal capacity. GirnarSoft, the parent company of CarDekho.com, now valued at USD 300 million.
All this while,Tata so far invested mainly in the technology space and Grameen Capital was his first investment in the social impact space. Mumbai-based Grameen Capital provide debt and equity solutions, bank related investments and advisory services to rural people through web portal. Established in 2007 as a joint venture between Grameen Foundation, Citicorp Finance and IFMR Trust, Grameen Capital is a first-of-its-kind financial advisory firm with a mandate to catalyze inclusive growth and facilitate capital market access for impact-focused enterprises across sectors. Ratan Tata had purchased a minority stake in the non-banking finance company of Grameen Capital India (GCI).
Based out of Noida, One97 Communication the parent company of Paytm is India’s leading mobile-internet company, which provides mobile advertisements,marketing and payment to marketers. The company’s flagship online product Paytm is an online wallet service, which it says now has 80 million accounts. In March this year, Tata picked up minority stake in the company and joined Paytm as an advisor.
Xiaomi is the world’s most valuable privately-held tech startup, with a financing round in December 2014 pegging its worth $45 billion. THe company was second foreign investment by Ratan Tata after Altaeros Technologies. Ratan acquired stakes in Chinese based smartphone company.
Founded by former Honeywell director of strategy Nidhi Agarwal Kashyap, eleven months old Kaaryah is a leading global online marketplace offering women casuals in 18 sizes. Kaaryah exclusively focuses on one segment of the market. Its beacause of the Tata’s investment in the startup that Kaaryah broke even and got recognition, confessed the founder of Kaaryah.
Ola Cabs is latest and most recent investment by Ratan Tata. Tata’s investment came less than three months after Ola announced a $400 million funding round, led by Russian investment firm DST Global, which valued the four year-old Mumbai-based company at about $2.5 billion. Notably, Ola is one of the most valuable internet companies to have emerged from India.
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