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Former Tata Sons chairman Ratan Tata. Photo: Pradeep Gaur/Mint
Former Tata Sons chairman Ratan Tata. Photo: Pradeep Gaur/Mint

'A startup founder must find an area that is not yet explored': Ratan Tata to young entrepreneurs

  • A startup founder must find the opportunity to make a difference, says the former Tata Group Chairman
  • Tata's personal investments include Paytm, Ola, Urban Ladder, and Lenskart, among others

When Ratan Tata looks for entrepreneurs to invest in, he looks for certain specific qualities- which would help a company attain scale and chase growth. At an event on Tuesday, the former Tata Group Chairman outlined the essential traits in a founder that he looks for — “A startup founder must find the opportunity to make a difference, and have a fire in the belly to find an area that is not explored," he said. “(They should have) courage and tenacity to see it through," he added.

Besides building a $100-billion business empire, Tata has also been an active startup investor- both in his personal capacity, as well as from UC-RNT- a fund where his family office partners with the University of California, to invest in technology-enabled businesses.

“The number of startups is much more today, and with a lot more firms achieving magnitude and scale," he said.

His personal investments include payments firm Paytm, ride-hailing firm Ola, online furniture retailer Urban Ladder, and eyewear retailer Lenskart, among others. Tata is also on the advisory board of Chiratae Ventures (formerly IDG India), at whose event he spoke on Tuesday.

Tata also said that he would like to invest more in startups, and sees a tremendous opportunity in healthcare and medical treatment.

In the current state of Indian entrepreneurship, where a number of Indian startups are going global, Tata also said that there is no right time to go global, and that the founder is in the right position to take the call.

Tata’s investments from the UC-RNT fund include home rental startup NestAway, health and fitness firm Cure.Fit and Ant Financial, the payments affiliate of Chinese e commerce behemoth Alibaba Group.


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