Ratan Tata joins local venture capital firm

Mr Ratan Tata (centre) with Jungle Ventures' Amit Anand (left) and Anurag Srivastava. Mr Tata joined Jungle as special adviser.
Mr Ratan Tata (centre) with Jungle Ventures' Amit Anand (left) and Anurag Srivastava. Mr Tata joined Jungle as special adviser.PHOTO: JUNGLE VENTURES

Indian business mogul Ratan Tata has joined local venture capital (VC) firm Jungle Ventures as special adviser.

Mr Tata, who is chairman emeritus of Tata Sons, will mentor the 30 start-ups funded by Jungle in areas such as marketing, design, engineering and product management to help them become regional and global businesses.

Mr Tata, 77, who declined to be interviewed, was chairman of Tata Group, a Mumbai-based conglomerate, from 1991 until he stepped down at the end of 2012.

Under his watch, Tata became a global conglomerate. Some of his acquisitions include British corporations like beverage maker Tetley, automotive company Jaguar Land Rover and steel maker Corus.

In recent years, Mr Tata has also invested in Indian start-ups such as e-commerce store Snapdeal and car portal CarDekho.

Jungle co-founder Amit Anand said Mr Tata's business experience will help its entrepreneurs understand the economics and dynamics of regional and global markets.

"It has already been a humbling experience to work with Mr Tata and we have found him to be astonishingly responsive, insightful and decisive," he said in a statement.

Jungle's other co-founder, Mr Anurag Srivastava, added that Mr Tata's experience will also help the venture capital firm develop entrepreneurship and form significant companies in Asia.

Founded in 2012, Jungle has a US$10 million (S$13 million) fund to provide seed funding to tech start-ups. It is raising another fund of about US$50 million.

Jungle is one of several VCs that are part of the Technology Incubation Scheme under the National Research Foundation (NRF). Under this scheme, the NRF can co-invest with Jungle up to 85 per cent of the investment into a local start-up, up to $500,000.

Jungle's Singapore portfolio includes e-logistics firm Vault Dragon and online doctor-reservation firm DocDoc. Its Indian investments include online furniture mall Livspace, as well as mobile-payment firm Momoe.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on July 07, 2015, with the headline 'Ratan Tata joins local venture capital firm'. Print Edition | Subscribe