As of June 2016, Ratan Tata had invested in 36 startups since he retired as Chairman of the Tata Group, reported VCCircle. He has recently been in the news for funding yet another company- fitness tracker, GOQii.
Women founders run many of the startups he has invested in. “In many ways, in India politically, women have reached the top faster and more so than in other countries. In the boardroom and in enterprise, there have been women who have stood up and stood out…They aren’t lacking anything and I think we will see more women leaders in companies as we go forward,” he said in an interview with YourStory.
Tata is also on the advisory board of Kalaari Capital, a venture capital fund run by Vani Kola. Kalaari has made notable investments in women-led startups like PopXo, CashKaro and YourStory.
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Here are some women-led companies Tata has invested in.
1. Nidhi Agarwal’s Kaaryah: Agarwal made 113 investor pitches about her clothing company before Ratan Tata decided to fund it. The company’s USP is that it offers 18 sizes of clothing, designed to suit the specific needs of Indian women. Agarwal says that the idea of starting the business came to her after she spilled coffee on her shirt at the airport. She was on her way to attend a meeting. “After spending a couple of hours looking for a new shirt in a mall in Gurgaon, I still wasn’t able to find one that fit me right,” she said.
2. Richa Kar’s Zivame: Ratan Tata invested an undisclosed amount in the online lingerie retailer in September, 2015. Commenting on his investment, promoter Richa Kar said, “The capital is incidental. What’s far more valuable for us is the experience and credibility he brings on board.”
3. YourStory: Shradha Sharma launched YourStory in 2008, and funded its operations on her own until 2015 when she raised external funding. Tata participated in the Series A funding round for the company, along with Kalaari Capital, Qualcomm Ventures, and Mohandas Pai.
4. Ampere: “In 2000, China sold 40,000 electric vehicles. In 2015, they are selling 32 million vehicles. Why not India?” Ampere Vehicles’ founder, Hemalatha Annamalai, asked Ratan Tata in an email. Tata was impressed and invested in the company after spending time understanding its operations in Coimbatore. Annamalai started the company in 2008 and has already sold over 20,000 vehicles all over South India. She wants to focus Tier 2 and 3 cities and on rural transportation, according to Forbes India. She says that her target customers are shopkeepers, farmers, and rural traders.
5. Kyazoonga: In June 2016, Ratan Tata invested an undisclosed sum in Neetu Bhatia led, e-ticketing startup, Kyazoonga. Bhatia founded the company in 2007 along with her brother Akash Bhatia. The company concentrates on ticketing for sports and entertainment events and has operations in India, US, UAE and the Caribbean.
6. Idea Chakki: Tata invested an undisclosed amount in this food tech startup in September 2016. The company provides restaurants with digital menus and was set up in 2013 by three former NDTV employees, Monica Narula, Gunjan Mehrish and Noopur Tiwari.
7. CashKaro: Tata invested an undisclosed sum in the company just two months after it raised 25 crores in a Series A round of funding led by Kalaari Capital. Entrepreneur, Swati Bhargava founded the online cash-back and coupons company in 2013. “[Tata] has the experience of building and scaling businesses across geographies. We’re hoping he will share his insights on customer branding, loyalty, retention and expansion with us,” Bhargava said in a statement CashKaro issued.
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