'I've been backing businesses in the e-commerce space because they enable goods and services to reach people who could never have been catered to in this manner before.'
An investor in a slew of Indian and international start-ups, veteran industrialist Ratan Tata feels that "some of the valuations are pricey" and he supports those new businesses that are "really making a difference".
Tata Trust Chairman and Senior Advisor to IDG Ventures India, Tata has made personal investments in startups, ranging from e-commerce firms to cab aggregators.
"This is closely related to supporting young entrepreneurs who are doing something you respect or are in an area that you feel has been ignored... We have a consumer population of 300 million that may go up to 600 million in the years ahead," Tata said in an interview to Tata Review, Tata group's internal publication.
He added that there are tremendous opportunities in reaching this population and the task is being undertaken by passionate young people who need backing.
"Having said that, some of the valuations are pricey. I support those who are really making a difference," he said.
Talking about his investment in eCommerce ventures, Tata said he backs these businesses because it allows products and services to reach a larger number of people.
The top industrialist is an investor in firms like Snapdeal, Kaaryah, Urban Ladder, Bluestone, CarDekho, Sabse Technologies, Xiaomi, Ola and DogSpot.in.
Last month, five companies -- DogSpot.in, Tracxn, CashKaro, FirstCry and Teabox -- announced that their ventures had received funding from Tata.
"By and large, I've been backing businesses in the e-commerce space because they enable goods and services to reach people who could never have been catered to in this manner before.
"They never got a chance previously to order what they wanted, have it delivered at their doorstep, pay when they receive it, and return it if not acceptable. This sort of reach has never been there in the brick and mortar world," he said.
Tata, who served as the Chairman of Tata Sons for over two decades until his retirement in 2012, is also associated with some venture capital funds as advisor, including Kalaari Capital and Jungle Ventures.