How Ratan Tata selects startups to invest in

Urvashi Valecha Mumbai | Updated on October 16, 2019 Published on October 16, 2019

Ratan N Tata, Chairman Emeritus, Tata Sons (file photo)


Ratan Tata, Chairman Emeritus of Tata Sons, has invested in a number of start-ups over the past few years. So, how does he select the company in which to invest from among the thousands of new start-ups? He relies on his own intuition.

“The years that I was in the Tata Group, I always looked at the start-up industry, the sector as being exciting but somewhat untouchable because somewhere or the other, there would be a conflict of interest with the Tata Group. When I retired I was free to invest and I started these small token investments in what I considered to be exciting companies,” Tata said at an event organised by Chiratae Ventures. “Then it became a two- to three-year learning exercise because, it is a sector that is very active, very quick to learn, probably has the best minds of each group. I found that in my case, it was selection more by intuition than by numbers,” he explained.

Tata had started investing in start-ups around four years back. Tork, a Pune-based e-bike company, is the latest in his portfolio. The theme of the discussion was India’s thriving entrepreneurial ecosystem where Tata discussed various pointers for starters as well as venture capitalists.

“I evaluate the founders on the basis of seriousness and the fire within them. Also, intuition of the business are some qualities that I look into. Similarly, entrepreneurs could do the same while looking for venture capitalists,” he said.

Tata believes that the healthcare sector offers tremendous opportunities for start-ups. “More and more companies will realise that there is a better way to do something that is cheaper, smarter and with better capabilities,” he said.

Tata was awarded the Patrick J. McGovern Lifetime Award by Chiratae Ventures, where he is a senior advisor.

(The writer is an intern with BusinessLine Mumbai)

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Published on October 16, 2019
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