I invest if the idea is exciting, says Ratan Tata on start-ups

Tata, who is the chairman of Tata Trusts, said he would see if it’s an “interesting concept”.

By: ENS Economic Bureau | Mumbai | Published:January 7, 2016 2:08 am

How does industrialist Ratan Tata, who has invested in a host of start-ups, zero in on his investments? Tata says he invests in a startup venture if “the idea excites” him and after an evaluation of the founders.

Tata, who is the chairman of Tata Trusts, said he would see if it’s an “interesting concept”. “We are going through transformation… There is a whole new world out there. Start-ups embody creativity and innovation of young India. While evaluating a start-up investment, first I see if the idea excites me,” he said at the TieCON conference here.

“Second is what I feel about the founders of the startups. It’s about creativity and innovation of young India… whether they have passion and innovation in what they do,” Tata said. “It’s still a learning experience for me. I am absolutely thrilled about it. I want to keep my personal investments private,” he said.

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Snapdeal co-founder Kunal Bahl said his company has benefitted immensely after the investment made by Tata. “Almost 95 per cent of the capital came to us after Tata made his investment,” Bahl said.

Tata has invested in firms like Snapdeal, Kaaryah, Urban Ladder, Bluestone, CarDekho, Sabse Technologies, Xiaomi and Ola. In 2016, two companies — Dogspot and Tracxn — announced that Tata had invested in these firms in his personal capacity. Tracxn has raised angel funding from Flipkart’s co-founders Sachin and Binny Bansal, Delhivery’s CEO Sahil Barua and $3.5 million in series-A funding from SAIF Partners. Tracxn was started in 2013 by ex-investors Neha Singh and Abhishek Goyal.

On acquisitions of Corus and Jaguar Land Rover during his leadership, he said these were “not intuitive but strategic acquisitions”. “As far Corus was concerned, we were stuck in delays in mining licences and I thought this would be a way to get an global capability,” Tata said.

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