Ratan Tata’s Slew of E-commerce Investments

By | Feb 09, 2016 | 1405 views |
  • Ratan Tata’s Slew of E-commerce Investments

The year 2016 has just started and Ratan Tata has been on a roll ever since. He has made a slew of investments in startups, ecommerce and otherwise. On 8th February there was news about Ratan Tata’s investments in two Indian startups:

Moglix, an E-commerce startup , in the manufacturing tech space

"When we pitched to Tata, we did not expect him to invest in the venture. He is known to be extremely passionate about manufacturing and technology. In a recent newspaper article, Tata also mentioned his passion for the e-commerce sector. We are an early player in the space. He is India's icon and he will play an important role in mentoring us on business growth, global expansion and leadership," said Rahul Garg, Founder and CEO, Moglix.

Invictus Oncology, a biopharma startup, which aims to improve the life of cancer patients

"I have admired Ratan Tata's insights and astute assessment of technology for decades now. So I am thrilled he has invested in Invictus, which is not just developing ground-breaking innovations for cancer treatment, but is also among the very first startups based out of India to tread the path of novel discovery and biotech innovation," said Raghunath A. Mashelkar, co-founder of Invictus Oncology. 

These two investments have raised Ratan Tata’s investment portfolio to seven startup companies in 2016. Who knows, while we are penning down this blog, the leading industrialist is probably busy planning his next move!

A look at seven companies added to his investment portfolio in 2016:

1. Moglix, February 2016

It is an E-commerce startup in the manufacturing tech space. The company, based in Noida and Singapore, is a marketplace specializing in B2B procurement of industrial products. This is the first time that Tata is investing in a manufacturing tech-startup, adding to his varied portfolio of e-commerce and new-age technology enabled companies.

2. Invictus Oncology, February 2016

Biopharma startup Invictus Oncology, based in Delhi, it aims to improve the life of cancer patients in India.

3. Teabox, January 2016

Bangalore-based Teabox is an online platform which ships fresh Indian tea to customers globally. You can order a variety of teas from Darjeeling, Assam, Nilgiris, or Nepal from the comfort of your home.

4. FirstCry, January 2016

Mumbai-based FirstCry is an online store for baby care, maternity, and children’s products.

5. CashKaro, January 2016

Founded by an entrepreneur couple in mid-2013, Gurgaon-based CashKaro is a cashback and coupons startup working with over 1,000 online retailers including Amazon, Paytm, Jabong, and ShopClues.

6. DogSpot, January 2016

The Gurgaon-based startup, DogSpot lets you shop for all the products for your pets - dogs, cats, birds.
It claims to stock over 2,000 products from over 50 brands.

7. Tracxn, January 2016

Tracxn offers access to readily usable data for startups. The Bangalore-based startup tracks startups globally and gives out analyses and advisories to stakeholders.


Tata Trust Chairman and Senior Advisor to IDG Ventures India, Tata has made over 25 personal investments in startups, ranging from e-commerce firms to cab aggregators. The diverse nature of these startups is, indeed, remarkable. Most of the funding has been undisclosed and not very big but his name has proved to be a good luck charm for these companies.

A glimpse of the startups in which Ratan Tata has invested and have been treading on growth ever since:

Altaeros Energies  (March 2014)

A Boston-based startup, Altaeros was founded in 2010 at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) to commercialize the world's first airborne wind turbine.

Snapdeal (August 2014)

Snapdeal got its funding from Tata when their bank balance was down to the last $100,000. Snapdeal CEO Kunal Bahl believes Tata’s investment in Snapdeal worked as a good luck charm for his company and later on he got investments from other well-known companies.

Bluestone (September 2014)

The online jewellery retailer was founded by IIT graduates. Bluestone was valued at Rs 135 crore when it raised funding from Kalaari Capital, when Tata also co-invested.

Urban Ladder (November 2014)

The online furniture e-tailer was founded by IIM-Bangalore MBAs Ashish Goel and Rajiv Srivatsa in July 2012.

Swasth India (December 2014)

The Mumbai-based healthcare startup provides medical services to low income population.

CarDekho (February 2015)

The Jaipur-based online auto classifieds player was founded in 2007 by IIT Delhi alumni.

Grameen Capital (March 2015)

This is a Mumbai-based investment advisory company.

One97 Communications- Paytm (March 2015)

The Noida-based Company has successfully become a leading online wallet company.

Xiaomi (April 2015)

Founded by a Chinese Smartphone maker, it became an instant hit in the market with their products.

Kaaryah (June 2015)

It is a women's non-casual wear, founded by Nidhi Agarwal Kashyap.

Ola (July 2015)

The startup based in Mumbai offers mobile solutions for personal transportation. Ola has been expanding and enriching its transportation service, recently including shuttle services in its list of services.

Ampere (July 2015)

Ampere sells electric vehicles, cycles, trolleys and scooters. It also sells vehicles for differently-abled.

Lybrate (July 2015)

Healthcare communication startup, Lybrate connects doctors with patients anonymously throughout India anywhere and anytime.

Infinite Analytics (August 2015)

Founded in 2012 by MIT graduates, this is a US based predictive marketing and analysis company.

Your Story (August 2015)

The online publishing startup is based in Mumbai. The content site offers a platform that enables people to tell their own stories directly.

Holachef (September 2015)

It is a food-tech start-up where amateur and professional chefs can come together & sell their meals.

Zivame ( September 2015)

An online lingerie store based in Bangalore, Zivame is tapping into the fast expanding lingerie market.

LetsVenture (October 2015)

Connecting startups to investors, this platform also has former Infosys honcho Nandan Nilekani as an investor.

Abra (October 2015)

This virtual currency startup based in Silicon Valley was founded by serial entrepreneur Bill Barhydt.

Sabse Technologies (November 2015)

This one is Hotmail founder Sabeer Bhatia’s baby. Based in Silicon Valley, it is a wifi-first mobile virtual network operator.

Crayon Data (November 2015)

Crayon Data is a Singapore-based big data firm that offers a personalization engine to empower enterprises to deliver personalized choices to their consumers.

UrbanClap (December 2015)

Founded one and a half years ago, UrbanClap has emerged as a leader in the home service provider space.


At a recent event in Bengaluru, Tata said that the risk of investing in a startup was far less than investing in the stock market. His new initiative, the tie-up with University of California, to invest jointly in Indian startups, seems to be a continuation of this kind of approach. The septuagenarian is probably India’s most prolific individual investor in the country’s startup scene, replete with founders in the age bracket of 25-35 years.

As his name suggests, Ratan Tata is a true ‘gem’ and more than money, he adds a terrific brand value to the companies he is associated with and is akin to a guiding force for startups.

Do you know about other leading leaders who are doing their bit for the startups in the country.  Let us know in the comments below.

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