"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 through decades, be it telecom, software, groceries or fashion. The behemoth has infiltrated a number of markets. As the Chairman Emeritus of the Tata Group, Ratan Tata has proved that his styles of investment and funding have not only shown performed extremely well but the investments have also emerged as giants in their 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, an investment from the Tatas gives a boost to startups in publicity, acquiring finances, and brand building. Here is a list of startup companies Ratan Tata has made investment over years:
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 Bhavish Aggarwal, Ola Cabs' founder, 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 launched by Kunal Bahl and Rohit Bansal in February, 2010. Snapdeal has over 3 lakh sellers and 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 Flipkart's acquisition of Myntra. He bought 256 shares from the e-commerce venture’s angel investors. This move not only protected Snapdeal from losing prominent market shares but also prevented any potential attempt by Flipkart to monopolize the e-commerce platform.
Cure.Fit is a health and fitness startup that has raised $170 million from investors including names like Accel Partners, Kalaari Capital, Chiratae Ventures and Ratan Tata, among others till date.
CureFit offers services like chain of fitness centers (under the Cult.Fit brand), food delivery platform via Eat.Fit, healthcare clinics called Care.Fit, and the recently launched online mental wellness platform called ‘Mind.Fit’.
Paytm began as a mobile recharging platform and later on became an online marketplace for multiple categories. It 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 a business advisor.
Paytm is now one of the most successful digital payment companies with millions of subscribers. It thrived during the time of demonetization 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 valued at $5 billion. The app allows users to hail a taxi with just a few commands on their smartphone screens and book nearby cabs at the best fares. It provides cab services across price segments that range from economic to luxury.
Read more about Ola here - Ola Success Story
Ratan Tata funded Ola in July 2015, 5 years after the company began its operations in 2010. He invested Rs 95 lakhs in the company in personal capacity. Ratan Tata’s venture capital firm – RNT Capital Advisors – also made an investment of Rs 400 crores in Ola.
Aditi Bhosale Walunj and Chetan Walunj founded Repos Energy. Repos Energy is a Pune-based startup responsible for doorstep delivery of fuel to industries and minimize diesel loss. It works on cloud based technology and IoT devices. Customer orders diesel on the Repos App. The Repos petrol pump operator arrives at the customer location and completes the diesel delivery. Ratan Tata has invested an undisclosed amount in this startup.
ClimaCell is an app founded by Rei Goffer, Shimon Elkabetz and Itai Zlotnik that provides accurate weather forecast to alert people about 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 a 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 and businesses and earns money by buying and selling digital cash from and to consumers via the Abra app.
CarDekho is India’s leading car search venture that helps users in purchasing the right cars. Ratan Tata picked up shares and invested an undisclosed amount in GirnarSoft – the parent company of CarDekho, BikeDekho and PriceDekho portals. The CarDekho app has rich automotive content like expert reviews, detailed specs and prices, comparisons as well as videos and pictures of different car brands and models 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 was founded by Saxena and Anil Gelra in 2014. Holachef connects expert chefs with consumers via its website and mobile app (available for both Android and iPhone). The platform offers a new menu everyday and delivers 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. It follows an omni-channel strategy of selling both through online and offline stores. Ratan Tata invested an undisclosed amount in FirstCry in January 2016.
Lenskart is a popular online retailer for eyewear. It secured funding from Ratan Tata in April, 2016; the amount is undisclosed.
Lenskart sells sunglasses, eye glasses, contact lenses, and more. The officials from Lenskart said that Ratan Tata’s role was more of a mentor and advisor than a financial investor. Lenskart's investors includes 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. NestAway's aim is to provide better rental solutions with the help of design and technology. The company presently caters to 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 others. Ratan Tata has invested an undisclosed amount in NestAway Technologies Pvt Ltd.
Urban Ladder is an online furniture selling website. 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 and raised an undisclosed amount in funding from Ratan Tata in December, 2015. It 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 wildly successful.
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 workers and consumers. They are able to overcome the challenges of household hurdles, trouble or fixtures, and anything related.
GOQii makes healthcare watches, similar to smart watches. It also makes GOQii Stride, a device one can attach to shoes and keep track of the exact number of steps, etc. The platform also includes tools for real-time and personalized coaching, scheduling health check-ups, a health locker, and 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 he invested is not disclosed. Xiaomi is the world’s fourth largest smartphone manufacturer and is based out of China. It entered the Indian market in 2014. The Chinese tech giant sells 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 in India.
Lybrate was founded in 2013. Lybrate connects patients with doctors in India. Lybrate launched online lab testing in May, 2016. It allows a patient's sample to be collected right from home with the results shared online. Lybrate secured about Rs 64.8 crore ($10.2 million) from Ratan Tata in July 2019.
Infinite Analytics is a U.S. and Mumbai-based startup that was founded by two MITians – Akash Bhatia and Purushotam Bolta. It 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 behavior based on information shared by users on social networking sites. Infinite Analytics analyses raw data, maps out a person’s social genome, and then gives personalized recommendations to consumer brands with online presence. This information, which is collected without breaking privacy laws, allows a retailer to identify and recommend products that will appeal to customers. Infinite Analytics has expanded its predictive analytics technology to verticals beyond retail and e-commerce.
Cashkaro is a cashback and coupon website that provides 30% cash-back to customer who shop in its affiliates that include Amazon, Paytm, Jabong, and ShopClues. The Gurgaon-based company was founded by Swati and Rohan Bhargava in 2013 and raised an undisclosed amount in Series A funding from Ratan Tata in January, 2016.
Cashkaro generates money by taking commissions from retailers and giving a share of it to customers in the form of cashback. It is the largest cashback website in India with over 10 lakh registered users and has given net cashback of more than Rs 30 crores.
DogSpot is a Gurgaon-based 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 invested an undisclosed amount from his personal capacity in DogSpot in January, 2016. Ronnie Screwvala also invested alongside Ratan Tata.
Bluestone.com is an online jewelry website. Bluestone was founded by Gaurav Singh Kushwaha in 2011 . BlueStone is backed by Ratan Tata and received funding from him in 2014. It offers over 5,000 jewelry 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. It has raised $48 million in four years. The startup gained popularity with their quirky campaigns and today, it has become a recognized brand. Zivame received funding from Ratan Tata in September, 2015.
Ratan Tata has invested undisclosed amount in pharmaceutical startup, Generic Aadhaar which is founded by Arjun Deshpande in 2018 in Thane. Generic Aadhaar provides generic quality medicines from reputed pharma companies at up to 80 percent lower prices. It offers a huge portfolio of branded, generic, homoeopathy, and Ayurveda medicines from government-approved manufacturing facilities.
Generic Aadhaar aims to partner with 1000 pharmacies on a franchisee-based model in the coming months and expand their reach to markets like to Tamil Nadu, Andhra Pradesh, New Delhi, Goa, Rajasthan, Gujarat.
Read Also: Ratan Tata: The Accidental Startup Investor
So this was our list of startups funded by Ratan Tata. We will keep updating the list with the latest developments.