“I am an accidental startup investor”, says Ratan Tata

The chairman emeritus of the $110-billion salt-to-software Tata Group, Ratan Tata, who was an early backer of the ride-hailing platform Ola, and Paytm since 2015 says he is an accidental startup investor.

Besides, Tata’s other top investments in the startup space include weather forecaster ClimaCell; fitness startup CureFit; online furniture mart UrbanLadder; e-tailer of eyewear Lenskart; online pet care platform Dogspot; home rental platform NestAway; and auto portal CarDekho.

Also, he has a small stake in One97 Communications that owns Paytm, and he is an advisor to the firm. He reportedly made his maiden eCommerce investment Snapdeal. 

Investment in Dospot clearly shows his fondness for the canines that he has many. Tata carries out these startup investments through his personal investment firm viz., RNT Associates.

In an interview, Ratan Tata said, “I entered the startup investor partly by accident. During the years that I was with the Tata group, I always looked at the startups as a sector that is exciting but somewhat untouchable because somewhere or other there will be a conflict of interest with Tata Group.” 

Further he added, “But when I retired I was free from it and I started making small token investments from my own pocket in what I considered to be exciting companies. So, what I did was to take some more risks than I might have taken under different circumstances. With two-three years into this, it became a learning experience, as this sector is very active and have the best minds.”