Ratan Tata may have retired from his position of Chairman at Tata Group but even at 77 he continues to be a keen investor in Indian startups helping them grow their horizon.
Ratan Tata, who started as a corporate manager in 1970 at the Radio maker Nelco before being appointed as the head of Tata Industries and later as the Group Chairman went onto become a legend and most importantly highly respected and loved businessmen across the world.
Not only did he introduce the country to new concepts like globalisation and innovation but was also the driving force behind Tata companies lead to becoming the first international acquiring companies in the country.
While Tata automobile product Nano was not a great success, but there surely is no doubt about the fact it was indeed a remarkable and affordable innovations.
While Ratan Tata may have officially retired from his position in the company, he continues be a great backer of startups. Lately he has invested a chunk of amount in Nidhi Agarwal’s startup named Kaaryah which was rejected by 113 investors before she decided to drop in a mail to the man himself after her father’s suggestion.
So incase you want Ratan Tata to invest in your startup, you should go through every line of what he said at the recent convocation of Great Lakes Management Institute in Chennai. Here is the gist.
“You must not come across as someone chasing valuations. Just collecting funds from investors over selling a concept and walking away….is an insensitive way to look at business. There has to be a sense of responsibility.”
Linked to that is commitment. “These are the kinds of judgement you make when you meet the founders — what their level of commitment is, will they just walk away at a particular time after making gains, or will they be committed to staying and building an enterprise?”
And passion. “You get impressed by those who have good ideas and no support, but great passion to achieve what they do.”
Tata prefers those that help improve the common man’s life, typically by working in the areas of health, woman empowerment, access to Internet, etc. “I am interested in supporting anything that seems to have the potential of changing India.”
So he has invested in Snapdeal, which gives access to all kinds of goods to all kinds of people in all kinds of places — buyers as well as sellers. Ola, which solves an everyday problem for those who live in a city that has bad public transport — that is, nearly every city in India.
Agarwal’s Kaaryah is an interesting case. It sells a blend of western and Indian formal clothing for women in 18 different sizes — the usual is six — which accommodate differences in proportions of the Indian woman’s body and address issues like gaping buttons on shirts.
These creative types usually face the problem of financial support, because their concept often appears vague and esoteric. “It is important to nurture them; it’s important to support them. The creative ones usually face the greatest problems in finding support, because they are doing things others have not done before.”