On the Tata Nano car, he said it was a really an exhilarating experience to produce a car that was affordable and could be purchased for Rs.1 lakh
Ratan N. Tata, Chairman Emeritus of Tata Sons, said that he would continue to invest in start-up firms as long as they were attractive.
Talking to reporters, after attending 11th Convocation ceremony of Great Lakes Institute of Management, he said that it was important to nurture the start-ups as these entrepreneurs had problems in getting the right kind of support. “The creative ones are the ones that usually have the problems in getting the support, because no one has done that before and those need to be nurtured,” he said.
On his latest investment in Coimbatore-based electric vehicle start-up, he said that he has invested in it because he was impressed by the management that had hands-on experience. Besides, it was an area left untouched. The promoters deserved little bit of support, he pointed out.
While refusing to divulge details about the personal investments made so far, he said the investments were made based on the conviction that it not only connected the common man across the country but it also benefitted them. “I see this as an opportunity to encourage and support young start-ups in new space (e-commerce and e-retailing), which is, in my view is, going to change the face of the Indian merchandise and marketing. So, in a small token way, because I am not a wealthy person, I have invested in some 10 companies. Some of them will succeed,” he said.
Asked whether he had a team of investment advisors, Mr. Tata said `no’. Even though he got lot of investments pitches every day, the decisions were made by him, he said. So far, Mr. Tata had invested in 10 start-ups managed by young managers in e-commerce, services, healthcare, clean energy and e-retailing areas. While majority of investments were in e-commerce space, Mr. Tata said health sector looked promising.
“When I was involved in Tata group, I was afraid of personal investments…Now that for three years, I am a free person… and if you look at landscape, I see future in young managers and young start-ups… what I saw in the U.S. in 70s and 80s. It is the disruptive environment and the ability to think out-of-box that made the U.S. to change its appearance from the land of smokestack companies to innovative companies. This is happening in India,” he said.