Ratan Tata eyes Asia-Pacific, joins Jungle Ventures as Special Advisor
We have to give these young entrepreneurs a chance to prove themselves, shoulder to shoulder, with traditional business.
In the spirit of his recent statement, Ratan Tata is making sure that his vast experience of building and running one of the most successful brands of the world, contributes towards building the new economy with the entrepreneurs and startups around the country and elsewhere. After Kalaari Capital, Ratan Tata has joined the board of advisors of Jungle Ventures. Chairman Emeritus of the Indian Conglomerate, Tata Sons, Mr. Tata will come as a 'Special Advisor'. Singapore-based venture firm is an early stage venture capital fund with a firm focus on technology led companies out of the Asia-Pacific. In his role as Special Advisor, Mr. Tata has formally committed to spend time with Jungle’s portfolio of companies to help them build category leadership, while being ethically impregnable and culturally strong, in Asian and global markets.
Jungle Ventures & advisory role of Ratan Tata
Founded by Anurag Srivastava and Amit Anand, the investment firm has made investments in 30 Asian startups, including the likes of Zipdial (recently acquired by Twitter), LiveSpace, Tradegecko, CrayonData, Fastacash and travelmob (acquired by Nasdaq listed HomeAway). The firm manages a seed to Series A fund with a strong advisory team in Singapore investing in technology-oriented start-ups in Asia and is in the process of raising their second fund.
Three-year-old Jungle Ventures follows ‘operations as a service’ model for its portfolio companies. Mr. Tata’s coming on board fits with Jungle’s vision to build Asia’s foremost platform to support path breaking and high growth ventures in consumer internet and enterprise technology. As the portfolio companies look to become global category leaders in various markets, Amit is confident that Mr. Tata will help them understand the economics and dynamics of those markets.
Some of the other advisors that currently work with Jungle and their start-ups include Gokul Rajaram, Product Engineering Lead at Square, Lim Dershing, Founder of JobsCentral and Alon Sobol, Director of ISP/ Telco Relationships for Spotify. Jungle Ventures launched with a $10 million seed-to-early stage fund in 2012 and is currently raising a second fund with a much bigger corpus.
Ratan Tata's recent investments
Started almost a year ago with his investment in Kalaari Capital backed Snapdeal, Ratan Tata has invested in more than 10 startups till now and joined the boards of two investment firms -- Kalaari Capital and Jungle Ventures. E-commerce sector eclipses his startup portfolio at the moment. His investments are doing fairly well at the moment but it's only a few months and most of these companies were pumped with good amount of funding already. Mr Tata has demonstrated his immense faith on the young entrepreneurs with not just his investments but his statements in public as well.
I have made time for young entrepreneurs to drop by my office and meet me. My colleagues thought, and some still think, I am wasting my time, but I know these entrepreneurs are unique.
Here's a brief account of his investments in startups:
- March 2014: Altaeros Energy, a wind energy company formed out of MIT, Boston receives additional funding from RNT Associates, a company owned and controlled by Ratan Tata after stepping down from Chairmanship of Tata Group.
- August 2014: Made his maiden investment in Indian startups with backing one of the largest ecommerce players of the country, Snapdeal.
- September 2014: Invested in another Kalaari backed online jewelry shopping company Bluestone
- November 2014: Made a personal investment in online furniture company Urban Ladder
- December 2014: Affordable healthcare services startup Swasth India raises Rs 2 crores from Ratan Tata
- February 2015: After raising $50M from Hong Kong-based investors, Cardekho announced stratetig investment from Ratan Tata
- March 2015: Alibaba backed Paytm secures undisclosed amount of funding from Ratan Tata
- March 2015: Ratan Tata buys minority stake in the non-banking finance company of Grameen Capital India(GCI)
- April 2015: Ratan Tata becomes the first Indian to invest in world's third largest smartphone manufacturer Xiaomi
- May 2015: After getting 113 no from investors, Kaaryah founder Nidhi Agarwal gets a yes from Ratan Tata
- June 2015: India's billion dollar unicorn Ola receives the backing from Ratan Tata