Mumbai: Describing start-up enterprises as an embodiment of "creativity and innovation of young India," leading industrialist Ratan Tata, who has made a string of personal investments in new ventures, said he puts money on an idea that "excites" him.
"We are going through transformation. There is a whole new world out there. Startups embody creativity and innovation of young India. While evaluating a startup investment, I see if the idea excites me," he said at an event.
The former Tata Group chairman said that the second criterion he uses is to evaluate founders of the start-ups.
The Tata Sons chairman emeritus has been aggressively investing in startups, ranging from e-commerce firms to cab aggregators. He has invested in firms like Snapdeal, Kaaryah, Urban Ladder, Bluestone, CarDekho, Sabse Technologies, Xiaomi and Ola.
Tata, who served as the chairman of Tata Sons for over two decades until his retirement in 2012, is also associated as an advisor with some venture capital funds, including Kalaari Capital and Jungle Ventures.
Earlier this week, two companies - Dogspot and Tracxn - announced that Tata had invested in these firms in his personal capacity.
Having led the acquisitions of Corus and Jaguar Land Rover during his leadership of the group, Tata said these were "not intuitive but strategic acquisitions."
While JLR has successfully turned around under the Tata, Corus, which was rechristened as Tata Steel Europe has struggled due to slowdown in the continent.
"As far Corus was concerned, at that time we were stuck in delays in mining licences and we couldn't grow and I thought this would be a way to get an international capability," Tata said.
Defending the $12 billion acquisition, he said, "I could not be accused of flamboyance as I did not know that the European economy was going to collapse."
(With agency inputs)