At the TiECON conclave, which ended in Mumbai on January 7, 2016, eminent industrialist Ratan Tata was asked how he decided on investments in startups. He replied, “I am intrigued by a startup if it has an interesting concept that excites me… Second is what I feel about the founders…whether they have passion and innovation in what they do. A founder who is in for the short-run or has no passion for the sector he is in, doesn’t give me a great deal of comfort.”
Ratan Tata was speaking to Kunal Bahl, co-founder of Snapdeal at the event. It may be recalled that Tata had made a personal investment of $1.5 million (Rs 10 crore) in Snapdeal in 2014. Tata further said that he recognised that not all investments are going to be positive. Some may fail and some may have problems for other reasons. That is life.
Tata’s personal investments in startups have been a subject of great interest. As per available information, he has investments in over a score of startups. Among them are healthcare startup Swasth India Services, Ola, CarDekho, Paytm, Urban Ladder and Zivame. Online jewellery retailer Bluestone, women’s non-casual wear Kaaryah and Chinese smartphone maker Xiaomi also form part of his portfolio. However, Tata owns very little in most of the companies in his portfolio. But most startups that Tata has invested in have seen a significant jump in valuations post the Tata investment.