Ratan Tata, Bangalore's Big Angel Investor

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Tata Group Chairman Emeritus Ratan Tata attends a panel discussion during the annual general meeting of Indian Merchants' Chamber (IMC) in Mumbai on June 18. (Reuters photo)


Bengaluru, Karnataka:  It's a buzz-word today - the "startup". People across the country are venturing into new spaces away from the traditional business model. And when an old-school industrialist like Ratan Tata starts putting his own money into some hand-picked ventures, it is one more reason why people are paying attention to this brave new world.

Mr Tata, who stepped down as Chairman of the Tata Group in December 2012, is estimated to be worth USD one billion (over Rs 6,300 crore). In the past one year or so, Mr Tata has been strategically investing in the startup space.

According to sources, the industrialist has invested a huge portion of over Rs 4,000 crore in e-retail businesses, Rs 120 crore in the consumer market, Rs 80 crore in software firms, another Rs 75 crore in business aggregators and Rs 70 crore in ad-targeting and ad networks.

Bengaluru-based online jewellery firm, Bluestone, was one of the first startup companies to receive funding from Mr Tata last year.
Bluestone founder, Gaurav Singh Khushwaha told NDTV, "Mr Tata trusting us, Mr Tata investing in us is a very, very strong proof point and an encouragement for me and my team... because Mr Tata is a brand in himself."

Earlier this month, an online cab aggregator, Ola Cabs received an undisclosed sum from Ratan Tata this month. A statement from co-founder Bhavish Aggarwal said, "It is our honour to have Mr. Ratan Tata onboard as an investor. This is a huge endorsement from one of the most respected business leaders of our times."

E-commerce company Paytm, and Urban Ladder, which deals in online furniture, are also recipients of Mr Tata's investments.  

Raj Subramaniam, founder, Paisool, understands the boost Mr Tata would give. "Tata, apart from being Ratan Tata - he is a Tata! The sheer weight of the generations of wisdom he brings in, I think access to that is invaluable."


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