Earlier this week, Ratan Tata invested an undisclosed amount in the online food delivery platform Holachef. Prior to this Holachef raised Rs 20 crore in a round of funding from Kalaari Capital and existing investor India Quotient in June. The company also raised Rs 2 crore in its seed round of funding from India Quotient in February this year.
Tata has invested in over a dozen startups over the last year or so in his personal capacity, although the amount has never been disclosed. These include startups from varying fields including
– Earlier this month Tata invested in the predictive analytics firm Infinite Analytics. The company said it would use the funding to expand its predictive analytics technology to segments other than ecommerce and retail.
– Tata made an investment in YourStory just last month. This included funding from Kalaari Capital, Qualcomm Ventures and T V Mohandas Pai. The publication said it would use the funds to publish original stories in various Indian languages starting with Telugu, Bengali, Hindi, Marathi, Kannada and Tamil.
– In July, Lybrate raised $10.2 million funding from Tiger Global Management, Ratan Tata and existing investors Nexus Venture Partners. The company said that it would use the funds for product development, hiring and to scale its operations to other cities. The company had previously raised $1.23 million in funding from Nexus Venture Partners in August last year.
– The same month, the online cab aggregator Ola raised funds from Ratan Tata. “Mr. Tata’s inclination towards transportation as a segment with the way he steered Tata Motors under his leadership at the group level is well known. … With Ola’s vision to impact mobility and transportation in India by creating a valuable citizen utility and a robust entrepreneurial ecosystem, we look forward to seeking inspiration and learning from this association. ” Bhavish Aggarwal, CEO and co-founder of Ola wrote on the company’s blog.
– Tata also invested an undisclosed amount in women’s fashion Kaaryah in June. The portal looks to cater to women’s non-casual segment and offers western wear in 18 sizes.
– In April, Chinese smartphone maker Xiaomi raised an undisclosed amount of funding from Ratan Tata, who invested in his personal capacity. According to the company, Tata would act as a key advisor as it expanded in India.
– In March, Ratan Tata also invested an undisclosed amount in Paytm and had become an advisor on the company’s board. This was a month after Chinese e-commerce giant Alibaba Group’s affiliate company Ant Financial Services, which operates the online payment solution AliPay, acquired a 25% stake in One97 Communications for an undisclosed amount.
– In February, CarDekho.com raised an undisclosed amount of funding from Ratan Tata. The financial details of the deal and the percentage of stake remains undisclosed at present.
– Ratan Tata had also invested an undisclosed amount in Urban Ladder in November last year.
– In September last year, Tata invested in the online jewellery store Bluestone. Bluestone targets Indian women between 20 to 50 years and claims to offer one lakh designs with a one week delivery schedule.
– Ratan Tata also made a personal investment in Snapdeal, in August last year. Interestingly, at the time, the website partnered with Tata Housing Development to sell flats on its platform.
Kalaari Capital advisor: Other than this, Tata also joined the venture capital firm Kalaari Capital in an advisory role in February this year. Interestingly, Kalaari has also invested in some of the startups Tata has; BlueStone had raised $10 million investment led by Kalaari Capital with participation from existing investors like Accel Partners and Saama Capital in March 2014. Urban Ladder had raised $21 million from Steadview Capital, and existing investors SAIF Partners and Kalaari Capital in July 2014. The venture capital had also participated in investing in Snapdeal, when Snapdeal raised $133.7 million in a round headed by eBay last year.
Nikhil adds: Businesses have brand ambassadors, startups have brand investors. It’s difficult to ascertain what Ratan Tata brings to a startup apart from the PR that follows, and maybe, given what has followed in case of some investments like Snapdeal, easier access to partnerships with Tata Group companies.
Image source: Flickr user WMG Warwick