Info-tech

Ratan Tata turns mentor for e-commerce firms

Priyanka Pani Mumbai | Updated on March 12, 2018

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In the past year, Tata has invested in four e-commerce outfits

When online furniture retailer UrbanLadder.com managed to rope in Ratan Tata as an investor, it got more than the former Tata Group Chairman’s money.

Tata meets the team running the e-commerce company once in every two months and gives his thoughts on not just product and brand strategy but also insights on the types of wood and designs for furniture.

Ever since he retired, Tata has turned himself into a mentor for young entrepreneurs.

On Monday, he took up a mentoring role in $350-million venture capital firm Kalaari Capital, which has UrbanLadder, Bluestone, Snapdeal and Cardekho, Zivame as its portfolio companies among 23 others.

Personal touch

Rajiv Srivatsa, co-founder of UrbanLadder.com, said: “I believe he is betting big on e-commerce and I think as a company, we are closer to his heart as he loves furniture and designs.

“Being an architect himself, he gives his insights around designs and the philosophy around it.”

UrbanLadder, which is present only in seven cities at present, plans to expand to 25 more.

It is also expanding its product categories and catering to mid-price points.

Jewellery design

Gaurav Kushwaha, founder of jewellery portal Bluestone.com, said the board members meet Tata every quarter to discuss business strategy.

“He understands jewellery like no one does. He created Tanishq, which is one of the largest retail brands in India. He gives us lots of insights on what kind of jewellery will sell and where.

“He is a great listener and he has not set any targets for us yet.

“However, we have internal targets to be a billion dollar company by 2020,” Kushwaha added.

Sunrise sector

The salt-to-software conglomerate, Tata Group, went on to become one of the largest players in India under the leadership of Ratan Tata. He was always quick to understand the pulse of the consumer and catch the latest trends. Tata is now using the same skills to grow e-commerce, the new sunrise sector, say industry officials.

It’s a pleasure

In the past year, Ratan Tata has invested in four e-commerce players.

“His investment has also helped improve the quality of our hires,” Srivatsa said, adding employees are excited to have him as a part of the company.



Published on February 09, 2015

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