IDG Ventures India appoints Ratan Tata as special advisor

IDG Ventures India has named Tata Sons' chairman emeritus Ratan Tata as senior advisor to its advisory board, according to a press release.

Tata will advise IDG Ventures India's portfolio companies on business growth, global expansion, team building and leadership. Besides, he will also be a special invitee, on a selective basis, in portfolio company board meetings on strategic matters.

Seventy-seven-year-old Tata, who has been making personal investments in several startups since retiring as Tata group's chief and has become one of the most prolific one at that, has been roped in by two other VC firms in a similar role early this year.

In July, he joined Singapore-based early stage investor Jungle Ventures, known for its active investment practice in India, as special adviser. In February, he had joined Kalaari Capital with an advisory role.

Tata has also co-invested in several portfolio companies of Kalaari.

When asked whether Tata will invest in IDG's portfolio companies, IDG Ventures' co-founder and chairman Sudhir Sethi said: "We would always welcome that."

He declined to comment on whether Tata would invest in funds raised by IDG Ventures India.

IDG Ventures India is a part of global venture capital firm IDG Ventures. It, however, invests in India through its separate local team and focuses on early stage tech sector investments.

IDG Ventures India that typically invests $5-10 million, had, two years ago, registered an investment vehicle under which it was raising its second India-focused fund worth $175 million. The firm is yet to make formal closure of this fund. IDG Ventures Fund II is the successor of IDG Ventures Fund I, which raised $150 million way back in 2007.

Since its inception around nine years ago, IDG Ventures India has advised investments in 50 companies and committed Rs 1,000 crore in the early stage technology venture capital market in India, it said.

It is an early investor in companies such as Myntra, Manthan Software Services and Lenskart and has a portfolio of 30 companies, including iProf Learning Solutions, Yatra.com and Hiree.com.

As first reported by VCCircle, IDG Ventures India's co-founder and managing director Manik Arora has decided to move on from the venture capital firm.

Arora founded IDG India along with Sudhir Sethi, chairman and managing director, and TC Meenakshisundaram, managing director, nine years ago.

In April, it had elevated five members—Ranjith Menon, Venkatesh Peddi, Karan Mohla, Karthik Prabhakar and Sheeba D'Mello—as executive directors.