Amid the corporate war raging within Tata Sons, which has also highlighted Ratan Tata’s work as angel investor in startups after his earlier retirement in 2012, startup founders have come out in strong support of the Tata scion. Ratan Tata-funded cab aggregator Ola founder Bhavish Aggarwal said in a recent online article that the former has been the most important person, both for him as well as Ola.
“What seems to be a case of a large shareholder losing trust and confidence has become ‘heels dug in’ public fight with a lot of mud being thrown around,” Aggarwal wrote. “Tata has been very active in investing and supporting the young startup ecosystem. His investment amounts are small and clearly wouldn’t make much of impact to him either way financially if the company does well or not. Its very clear that he does this out of passion and through a desire to help and engage with the community,” he added.
Tata has invested in over 25 startups. Last year alone, he had invested in 19 startups with a total estimated investment of $112,000. “I’m personally lucky to have a mentor like him and his humbleness, passion, and energy make him so different, iconic, and widely respected. The entire startup ecosystem and even the Indian industry are lucky to have a person of his stature and selfless commitment,” Aggarwal said.
In his personal capacity as an angel investor, Tata’s portfolio is mostly Internet-based, and is spread across e-commerce, healthcare, media and data analytics. Kunal Bahl, co-founder of Snapdeal.com, which has been funded by Tata, has tweeted his support.
“Tata is an incredible person. From my experience with him, what you see is what you get. I felt it was important for someone to say this,” he said. Some other leading starups funded by Ratan Tata, which appear from these testimonials to have been made in the best tradition of Parsi philanthropy, include Urban Ladder, Paytm, CarDekho, Firstcry, Zivame, Ampere Vehicles, UrbanClap and Yourstory.