Mumbai: Former Tata Sons Ltd chairman Cyrus Mistry on Wednesday said he is setting up Mistry Ventures LLP to incubate new ventures, provide seed, early-stage and growth capital to startups. Mistry Ventures is jointly promoted by Cyrus Mistry and his brother Shapoor Mistry, promoters of the Shapoorji Pallonji Group, a conglomerate with businesses ranging from real estate to financial services.
Mistry’s new venture comes exactly two years after his ouster from Tata Sons following a feud with his predecessor Ratan Tata. With his plan to invest in startups, Mistry is following in the footsteps of Tata, who began investing in start-ups through RNT Associates after leaving Tata Sons in 2012.
“Mistry Ventures will do more than just invest in companies. By interpreting some of the major global and local trends and understanding their impact on industries and companies, we will incubate new businesses, forge partnerships and make investments across sectors," Mistry said in a statement, without specifying the quantum of funds that he plans to invest through this venture.
Mistry Ventures will focus on providing mentorship and help start-ups craft the appropriate business experiments needed to validate, scale and bring products and services faster to market, he added.
In December 2016, Mistry moved the Mumbai bench of the National Company Law Tribunal (NCLT) against Tata Sons, alleging mismanagement and oppression of minority shareholders. NCLT dismissed Mistry’s plea in July, ruling in favour of Tatas. Following the ruling, Mistry moved the National Company Law Appellate Tribunal (NCLAT).
Mistry Ventures has named Ashish Iyer, senior partner and previously global leader, strategy practice at consulting firm Boston Consulting Group, to lead the firm.
“Ashish has worked with companies across sectors globally and brings deep expertise across domains and capabilities such as strategy, go-to-market, digital, innovation among others and I am very excited to have him on board," Mistry said.
Venture capital industry experts welcomed the development.
“This is an exciting development but it needs to be taken with a pinch of salt because there is no information on how much money the fund will deploy," said Anand Lunia, co-founder of India Quotient, an early-stage start-up fund.
Mistry’s proposed investments would put him alongside fellow high net-worth individuals such as Infosys Ltd co-founders N.R. Narayana Murthy and S. Gopalakrishnan, Piramal Group’s Ajay Piramal and Ratan Tata.
Murthy’s Catamaran Ventures, Gopalakrishnan’s Axilor Ventures and RNT Associates have all invested in start-ups. Piramal is the lead investor in Montane Ventures, an early-stage investor.
Other corporate investors include Reliance’s JioGenNext, a startup accelerator. While Catamaran’s investments include digital insurer Acko, in which Amazon invested $12 million earlier this year, RNT’s investments include Paytm, eyewear online retailer Lenskart, cab-hailing app Ola and handset manufacturer Xiaomi, among others.
One of the earliest HNI-backed family offices, Azim Premji’s PremjiInvest has invested in startups as well as mature firms, with over $2 billion of assets under management.