"If you want to walk fast, walk alone. But if you want to walk far, walk together."
- Ratan Tata, Tata Group
The Tata Group has invested in numerous sectors of the economy throughout its functioning from decades, be it telecom, software, groceries or fashion – they have infiltrated every market. As the Chairman Emeritus of the Tata Group, Ratan Tata has shown his style of investment and funding have not only shown to perform excellent but also emerged as a giant performing unit in its respective sector. For instance, when he invested in cab aggregator ‘Ola’, its share prices rose from Rs 15,87,392 to Rs 29,44,805 in November 2015. Hence, Tata company’s investments gives a boost to startups in gaining publicity, acquiring finances and building their brand. Here is a list of startups, Ratan Tata has funded startups over the course of time:
Tork Motors is a Pune-based electric motorcycle startup. Ratan Tata is going to invest an undisclosed amount in Tork Motors. Apart from Ratan Tata, Bharat Forge and Ola Cabs founder Bhavish Aggarwal have also invested in Tork Motors.
Snapdeal is India’s first online marketplace for multiple categories, which is also funded by titans like Ebay and Alibaba. The e-commerce website was started by Kunal Bahl and Rohit Bansal in February of 2010. Snapdeal has over 3 lakh sellers, over 3 crore products across 800+ diverse categories from more than 1,25,000 regional, national and international brands and retailers.
Ratan Tata made personal investments in Snapdeal soon after the acquisition of Flipkart over Myntra took place. He bought 256 shares from the e-commerce company’s angel investors. This did not only protected Snapdeal from losing prominent market shares but only prevented the monopolistic future Flipkart could have over the e-commerce platform.
Cure.Fit is a health and fitness startup that has so far raised $170 million from investors including names like Accel Partners, Kalaari Capital, Chiratae Ventures and Ratan Tata, among others.
CureFit offers services like chain of fitness centers (under the Cult.Fit brand), food delivery platform Eat.Fit, healthcare clinics called Care.Fit and recently launched an inline mental wellness platform called ‘Mind.Fit’.
Paytm begun as a mobile recharging platform and later on became an online marketplace for multiple categories and was also licensed by RBI to be India’s first payment bank. Ratan Tata raised a funding of 1 crore in March 2015 for One97 Communications – the parent company of Paytm, and that gave him the position to be on the Board as the company’s potential business advisor.
Paytm is now one of the most successful digital payment company that has millions of subscribers. It thrived during the time of demonetization by the government in November of 2018. At present, the company’s Gross Merchandise Value is over $1 billion.
Ola is India’s first home-grown cab aggregator service and one of the nine unicorn startups which is now valued at $5 billion. The app allows users to hail a taxi with just a few commands on their smartphone screens and offer to book a nearby cab that is nearest to your location at the best fares. It provides cab services across all price segments that range from economic to luxury.
Read more about Ola here - Ola Success Story
Ratan Tata funded Ola in July 2015, after 5 years of the company beginning its operations in 2010. He invested 95 lakhs in the company in his personal capacity. Tata’s venture capital firm – RNT Capital Advisors – have also made an investment of Rs 400 crore in Ola.
Aditi Bhosale Walunj and Chetan Walunj founded Repos Energy. Repos Energy is a Pune-based startup. Repos Energy gives doorstep delivery of fuel for industries to minimize diesel loss. It works on cloud based technology and IoT device. Customer orders diesel on the Repos App, Repos petrol pump operator reaches the customer location and completes the diesel delivery. Ratan Tata has invested undisclosed amount in this startup.
ClimaCell is an app founded by Rei Goffer, Shimon Elkabetz and Itai Zlotnik that provides accurate weather forecast in a bid to alert people of upcoming floods. It uses day-to-day devices as environmental sensors. ClimaCell’s initiative is to offer an error-free weather predictions and it has garnered a lot of attention.
Ratan Tata participated in the seed round funding in September 2016 and ClimaCell has raised three rounds of funding so far acquiring $70 million.
Ratan Tata and American Express invested $12-million funding in Abra. Abra is an US based Silicon Valley bitcoin startup. Using the Abra app, users can store digital cash and send money to any smartphone. It uses a network of individuals or businesses earning money by buying and selling digital cash to and from any consumer via the Abra app.
CarDekho is India’s leading car search venture that helps users in buying cars that are right for them. Ratan Tata picked up shares and invested an undisclosed amount in GirnarSoft – the parent company of CarDekho, BikeDekho and PriceDekho portals. Their app has a rich automotive content such as expert reviews, detailed specs and prices, comparisons as well as videos and pictures of all car brands and their models that are available in India.
The company deals with many auto manufacturers, more than 4000 car dealers and numerous financial institutions to facilitate the purchase of vehicles. Today the portal accounts for about 30% of the manufacturers combined annual sales.
Holachef is founded by Saxena and Anil Gelra in 2014. Holachef connects expert chefs with consumers via its website and mobile app on Android and iPhone. The platform offers a new menu everyday to choose food and delivers it to the user in state-of-the-art packaging. Holachef received an undisclosed amount of investment from Ratan Tata in September 2015.
Ola-owned food delivery firm Foodpanda has acquired Holachef.
Firstcry is a baby care eCommerce platform. FirstCry is owned by BrainBees Solutions. FirstCry follows an omni-channel strategy of selling both through online and offline stores. Ratan Tata invested an undisclosed amount FirstCry in January 2016.
Lenskart is a popular online retailer that sells eyewear. They secured funding from Ratan Tata in the April of 2016, the amount is undisclosed.
Lenskart sells sunglasses, eye glasses, contact lenses and more. The official’s from Lenskart said that Ratan Tata’s role was more of a mentor and advisor rather than a financial investor. The list of its investors includes big giant corporations like TPG Group, IDG Ventures India, and Unilazer Ventures founder Ronnie Screwvala.
NestAway allows its users to find, book, and move-in to a rental home of their choice across Indian cities. They aim at providing better rental solutions with the help of design and technology. The company presently caters more than 35,000 tenants and 16,000 owners providing homes to over 7000 families across cities like Delhi, Gurgaon, Hyderabad, Pune, Mumbai, Bengaluru and more. Ratan Tata has invested an undisclosed amount in NestAway Technologies Pvt Ltd.
Urban Ladder is an online furniture selling site. Urban Ladder was founded by Ashish Goel and Rajiv Srivatsa in July 2012. It currently offers over 1,000 products across 25 categories in furniture such as wardrobes, beds, sofas, dining tables and coffee tables. The online furniture retailer secured funding from Ratan Tata in November 2015.
UrbanClap is a local services marketplace that raised an undisclosed amount in funding from Ratan Tata in December 2015 and is also funded by Snapdeal Founders Kunal Bahl and Rohit Bansal. After the investment. UrbanClap became India’s biggest marketplace and turned out to be a very successful brand.
The app allows users to book services online such as plumbing, electric work, beauty treatments, salon, and more. UrbanClap has been able to successfully penetrate the service sector market and bridge the gap between the workers and consumers. They are able to overcome the challenges of household hurdles, trouble or fixtures, and anything related to that.
GOQii makes healthcare watches, similar to Apple Watches, and it also makes GOQii Stride, which one can attach to its shoes to know the exact number of steps, among others. The platform also includes tools for real-time and personalized coaching, scheduling health check-ups, a health locker, among other facilities. The Mumbai and Menlo Park-based GOQii was founded in 2014 by Vishal Gondal.
This might come across as an interesting trivia, but Ratan Tata is the first Indian to buy a stake in Xiaomi. The amount that he invested is not disclosed. Xiaomi is the world’s fourth largest smartphone manufacturer based in China that entered Indian market in 2014. The Chinese tech giant produces smartphones, laptops, air purifiers, tablets, LED TVs, fitness bands, and more.
Few senior executives from Xiaomi after getting the funding were quoted as saying that they would seek Ratan Tata’s advice on how to expand to international markets. The brand is very popular here in India.
Lybrate is founded in 2013. Lybrate connects patients with doctors in India. Lybrate launched online lab testing in May 2016. It allows a patient sample to be collected right from their home, with results later shared online. Lybrate secured about Rs 64.8 crore ($10.2 million) from Ratan Tata in July 2019.
Infinite Analytics is the U.S. and Mumbai-based startup that was founded by two MITians – Akash Bhatia and Purushotam Bolta - that became Microsoft Dynamics AX’s first global OEM partner four months after being funded by Ratan Tata in August 2015.
Infinite Analytics is a cloud-based big data company that predicts consumer behaviour based on information shared by users on their social networking sites. Infinite Analytics analyses raw data, maps out a person’s social genome and then gives personalised recommendations to consumer brands that have an online presence. This information, which is collected without breaking privacy laws, allows a retailer to identify and recommend products that will appeal to a customer. They expanded its predictive analytics technology to verticals beyond retail and e-commerce.
Cashkaro is cashback and coupon website that provides 30% cash-back for customer who shop in their affiliates, including Amazon, Paytm, Jabong, and ShopClues. The company was founded by Swati and Rohan Bhargava in 2013 and is a Gurgaon-based company that raised an undisclosed amount of Series A funding from Ratan Tata in January of 2016.
Cashkaro generates money by taking commissions from retailers and giving a share of it to its customers in the form of cashback. It is the largest cashback website in India with over 10 lakh registered users that have done net cashback worth Rs 30 crore.
Dogspot is a Gurgaon-based company that has an online pet care platform which handles about 60,000 orders on a monthly basis with an average basket size of Rs 1,700. Dogspot also promotes pet-centric events, drives and content. The startup was founded in 2007 and is run by PetsGlam Services Pvt. Ltd.
Ratan Tata has invested in the company an undisclosed amount from his personal capacity in January 2016, along with Ronnie Screwvala.
BlueStone.com is an online jewelry website. BluSstone is founded by Gaurav Singh Kushwaha in 2011 . BlueStone is backed by industrialist Ratan Tata. It received funds from Ratan Tata in 2014. It offers over 5,000 jewellery designs and plans to scale to 30,000 designs in the next three years.
Banglore based Zivame was founded in 2011 by Richa Kar and Kapil Karekar. Zivame is an online lingerie selling platform. Zivame, which has raised $48 million in four years. The startup gained popularity with their quirky campaigns and today, it has become a recognized brand in itself. Zivame raised a funding from Ratan Tata in September 2015.
So this was our list of startups funded by Ratan Tata. We will keep updating the list with recent development.