‘I am the less fortunate investor learning to catch up’ says Ratan Tata to Kunal Bahl

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January 8, 2016

Mumbai: “Your growth story is amazing, how do you do your logistics?” was the first question asked to Kunal Bahl, co-founder of Snapdeal by Ratan Tata, chairman emeritus Tata Sons Ltd as Bahl recollected and shared his experience of his first meeting with Ratan Tata at The Indus Entrepreneurs Conclave held in Mumbai on 6th January.

January 8, 2016

Mumbai: “Your growth story is amazing, how do you do your logistics?” was the first question asked to Kunal Bahl, co-founder of Snapdeal by Ratan Tata, chairman emeritus Tata Sons Ltd as Bahl recollected and shared his experience of his first meeting with Ratan Tata at The Indus Entrepreneurs Conclave held in Mumbai on 6th January.

Bahl also mentioned at the event that the question he was most nervous asking Ratan Tata was “ Can we take a selfie?”

Ratan Tata who is usually reticent about his investments since they are personal answered a few questions on startups and founders.

What got you to invest in start-ups?

After I retired, it seemed to me that there was a whole new world out there which was a digital world driven by a market place, basically which had a huge potential driven by handheld devices which would one day become the virtual retail store of India and I didn’t know the companies in the business. It was and still is a learning experience for me to learn of this world which is like a virtual world of a business that I have been in for 20 years. The virtual part is replaced or overshadowed by my impression of the founders. It was a start of a journey that I am absolutely thrilled to be a part of.

What is it that you look for in entrepreneurs before you make the investment decision?

I say this sincerely. I was always intrigued and enthusiastic about meeting younger people because they are the future of the country. New start-ups embody the creativity, the innovation of young people and for me it was and is a very worthwhile experience to interact with them. i have learnt a lot, probably more than you believe. I am intrigued by a start-up which has an interesting concept. That excites me. If it doesn’t excite me then I really don’t need to make an investment. Second, is what I feel about the founders, the first impressions. A founder that is in for the short run or has no passion for the sector he is in doesn’t give me a great deal of comfort. Lastly, in my small way if I can be of help in supporting or helping a founder who either has an interesting business or who doesn’t get funding from others because his business is not a sexy business according to those investing. If a founder has passion and innovation he needs to be supported. I am more intuitive than a numbers person and I recognize that not all investments are going to be positive, some may fail and some may have problems for other reasons. That is life.

What kind of a value system do entrepreneurs need to have and how important is it?

'I am the less fortunate investor learning to catch up' says Ratan Tata to Kunal Bahl: New start-ups embody the creativity, the innovation of young people, Ratan Tata said. Photo: Mint© LiveMint New start-ups embody the creativity, the innovation of young people, Ratan Tata said. Photo: Mint

I think in any business, there are a small number of people who want to be disruptive than destructive. There are progressive companies who are willing to bet on the future and there are a large segment of companies that protect their investment in the sector. And it is a transformation we are seeing today. There are companies who are heavily investing in traditional, brick and mortar businesses. We have to see how they can adapt to the time. We respect people who can adapt to the changing times. We are going through a transformation in India. We have almost a billion cellphone owners and many of them have a smartphone. Is that disruptive? No, that is evolution.

Meanwhile, Ratan Tata continues with his spree of personal investments, the latest being in start-up data analytics firm Tracxn Technolgies Pvt Ltd. “These are all personal investments so I don’t talk about them,” he said when asked about his investments making headlines.


Courtesy: Live Mint

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