"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 over the years, be it telecom, software, groceries or fashion. The behemoth organization has infiltrated a number of markets. As the chairman emeritus of the Tata Group, Ratan Tata has proved that his style of investment and funding has not only performed extremely well, but the investments have also emerged as giants in their respective sectors. 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 terms of publicity, acquiring finances, and brand building. Here is a list of the startups that Ratan Tata has funded over the 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. It has received funding from Ebay and Alibaba. Snapdeal 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 invested 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 segment.
Cure.fit is a health and fitness startup that has raised $170 million from investors like Accel Partners, Kalaari Capital, Chiratae Ventures and Ratan Tata to date.
Cure.fit maintains a chain of fitness centers (under the 'Cult.fit' brand), a food delivery platform called 'Eat.fit', a chain of healthcare clinics called 'Care.fit', and the recently launched online mental wellness platform called ‘Mind.fit’.
Paytm started out as a mobile recharging platform and later became an online marketplace for multiple categories. It became India’s first payment bank after reeiving a license from the Reserve Bank of India (RBI). Ratan Tata raised a funding of Rs 1 crore in March 2015 for One97 Communications – the parent company of Paytm. This funding fetched him the position of a business advisor on One97 Communications' board.
Paytm is now among the most successful digital payment companies with millions of subscribers. It thrived when the demonetization scheme was implemented in India in November 2018. At present, the company’s gross merchandise value (GMV) is over $1 billion.
Ola is India’s first home-grown cab aggregator service and one of the nine Indian 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. Ola provides cab services across price segments that range from economy 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 the doorstep delivery of fuel to industries. It works using cloud-based technology and IoT devices. Customer orders diesel on the Repos App. The Repos petrol pump operator arrives at the customer's 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 focuses on error-free weather predictions and has garnered a lot of attention.
Ratan Tata participated in ClimaCell's seed round funding in September 2016. ClimaCell has acquired $70 million over three rounds of funding.
Ratan Tata and American Express invested $12-million in Abra. Abra is a Silicon Valley-based bitcoin startup. People can store digital cash and send money to any smartphone using Abra's app. Abra uses a network of individuals and businesses and earns money when users buy or sell digital currncy using its app.
CarDekho is India’s leading car search venture that helps users purchase the right cars. Ratan Tata invested an undisclosed amount in GirnarSoft – the parent company of CarDekho, BikeDekho, and PriceDekho portals. The CarDekho app has rich automotive content that includes expert reviews, detailed specs and prices, comparisons, and the visuals of the different car brands and models available in India.
The company deals with many automobile manufacturers, more than 4000 car dealers, and numerous financial institutions to facilitate the purchase of vehicles. The CarDekho portal accounts for about 30% of the automobile manufacturers' combined annual sales today.
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 iOS platforms). The platform offers a new menu everyday and delivers food in a 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 e-Commerce platform. FirstCry is owned by BrainBees Solutions. It follows an omni-channel strategy of selling 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 an advisor than a financial investor. Some of the investors in Lenskart are TPG Group, IDG Ventures India, and Unilazer Ventures founder Ronnie Screwvala.
NestAway allows 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 in cities like Delhi, Gurgaon, Hyderabad, Pune, Mumbai, Bengaluru, and others. Ratan Tata invested an undisclosed amount in NestAway Technologies Pvt Ltd.
Urban Ladder is an online furniture seller. Urban Ladder was founded by Ashish Goel and Rajiv Srivatsa in July 2012. It currently offers over 1,000 products across 25 furniture categories such as wardrobes, beds, sofas, dining tables, and coffee tables. The online 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. It is also funded by Snapdeal founders Kunal Bahl and Rohit Bansal.
The UrbanClap app allows the online booking of services such as plumbing, electric work, beauty treatments, and salon. UrbanClap has successfully penetrated the services sector and bridged the gap between workers and consumers. People can now easily overcome the challenges of household hurdles, trouble or fixtures, and anything related through UrbanClap.
GOQii makes healthcare watches that are similar to smart watches. It also makes GOQii Stride, a device people can attach to their shoes and keep track of the 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—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. The brand is very popular in India. It entered the Indian market in 2014. The Chinese tech giant sells smartphones, laptops, air purifiers, tablets, LED TVs, fitness bands, and more.
Some senior executives from Xiaomi were quoted saying that they would seek Ratan Tata’s advice on how to expand in the international markets.
Lybrate was founded in 2013. It connects patients with doctors in India. Lybrate launched an online lab testing facility in May 2016. A patient's sample is collected right from his or her home and the results are then shared online. Lybrate secured about Rs 64.8 crores ($10.2 million) from Ratan Tata in July 2019.
Infinite Analytics is a U.S. and Mumbai-based startup founded by two MITians – Akash Bhatia and Purushotam Bolta. It became Microsoft Dynamics AX’s first global OEM partner four months after Ratan Tata invested in the startup in August 2015.
Infinite Analytics is a cloud-based big data startup 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 coupons website that provides 30% cashback to customers 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 revenue by taking commission from retailers and sharing a portion of it with 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 that 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 in his personal capacity in DogSpot in January, 2016. Ronnie Screwvala also invested in DogSpot 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.
Banglor- based Zivame was founded in 2011 by Richa Kar and Kapil Karekar. Zivame is an online platform for one's lingerie needs. It has raised $48 million in four years. The startup gained popularity through its quirky campaigns and today has become a recognized brand today. Zivame received funding from Ratan Tata in September 2015.
Ratan Tata has invested undisclosed amount in Generic Aadhaar, a Maharashtra-based pharmaceutical startup. Arjun Deshpande founded Generic Aadhaar in 2018. Generic Aadhaar provides generic medicines from reputed pharmaceutical companies at discounted rates—up to 80% cheaper than the retail price. It offers a catalog comprising branded, generic, homoeopathy, and Ayurveda medicines from government-approved manufacturing facilities.
Generic Aadhaar aims to partner with 1000 pharmacies through a franchisee model in the coming months and expand its reach to places like Tamil Nadu, Andhra Pradesh, New Delhi, Goa, Rajasthan, Gujarat.
Read Also: Ratan Tata: The Accidental Startup Investor
Are you aware of other startups funded by Ratan Tata? Do comment.