Ratan Tata, Chairman Emeritus of Tata Sons, will join hands with the University of California to identify Indian start-ups into which they can invest together. While announcing the partnership in Bengaluru on Thursday, Tata said he considered himself a student at this game of investing in start-ups. “I’m still learning,” he said in an interaction with the media. Excerpts:
Mr Tata, you have invested in about 25 start-ups already. Can you please tell us about the nature of the engagement and the total quantum that you may invested thus far in Indian startups?
My investments into the Indian startup space are very dear to me and a personal one at that. While I wouldn’t like to disclose the quantum of investment, I would like to say that they have been modest. More than the amount, it has been a learning experience.
Can you tell us something more about your partnership with the University of California?
RNT Associates along with the University of California will look out for start ups where we can invest together. The University has tremendous resources. But we have decided to be careful about who we choose to invest in. We will look at the most appropriate ones.
Are you happy with how the Indian startup ecosystem is turning out? Some of these startups have run up huge valuations already.
That’s right. I don’t want to comment on these high valuations, but the funds probably know what they are doing. It is entirely upto the investors to decide whether it is worth investing in a firm, which is already valued so high.
Which are the areas that personally interest you from an investment standpoint?
E-commerce and fintech have received a lot of funding. I agree that now we have to look beyond these.
What do you look for in a startup, before deciding to invest?
The most important aspect for me is the leadership. If the founders are passionate then things fall in place.