In Bombay, Ratan Naval Tata was born on 28th December 1938 to parents Naval Tata and Sonoo Tata. His father was the adopted son of the founder of Tata Group, Jamsetji Tata. In many ways, one can say that Ratan Tata's success story was already in motion even before his birth.
Being part of a successful industrial family, Ratan Tata had access to elite education. He attended Riverdale Country School in New York City. He also received a degree in architecture from Cornell University and attended the Advanced Management Program of Harvard Business School in 1975.
To many, it would seem like the Ratan Tata success story would be a given, based on how he was brought up and his family business. But the true appeal lies in how he expanded the existing business and made it one of the biggest empires in the world; and how he has helped countless other businesses grow.Timeline of Ratan Tata's Success story:
- In 1991, Ratan Tata was named the succeeding chairman of Tata Sons after Jehangir Ratanji Dadabhoy Tata or as commonly knows as JRD. Tata stepped down. Ratan Tata's new position faced some resistance from company heads.
- In 1996, Tata Group entered the telecom sector with Tata Teleservices. Currently, it is valued at US$450 million.
- In 1998, under Ratan Tata, Tata Motors created India's first indigenously designed car, Tata Indica.
- In 2000, Tata Global Beverages (now known as Tata Consumer Products) acquired the tea brand Tetley, making it one of the largest tea producers.
- In 2002, Tata Group formed a joint venture with the US insurance company American International Group (AIG); entering the insurance sector for the first time. Tata AIG General Insurance Company Limited was the organisation that was formed under this venture.
- In 2002, they acquired the government-run Videsh Sanchar Nigam Ltd (VSNL) and created Tata Communications. The company now employees more than 12,000 workers and has a revenue of US$2.4 billion.
- In 2003, Tata Consultancy Services became the first Indian software company to cross a billion-dollar revenue. Today it has a revenue of US$23 billion.
- In 2006, the Tata Sky DTH service launched & changed the game for such services all over India.
- In 2006, Tata launched Croma, a multi-brand retail outlet for electronics and durables.
- In 2008, Tata Nano was launched & was promoted as the world's cheapest car and was created to make a private four-wheeler accessible to the average Indian.
- In 2008, they acquired the Jaguar and Land Rover (JLR) brands from Ford Motors; 2008 proved to be a huge year for Tata Motors.
- In 2009, Tata Teleservice launched Tata DOCOMO with Japan's NTT DOCOMO. While initially, it was very successful, it had difficulty keeping up with the change in the internet scene in India. And in 2019, Tata DOCOMO was acquired by Bharti Airtel, and their users were merged.
- The Ratan Tata success story would be shallow and incomplete if it didn't mention his philanthropic efforts towards society.
- Tata Education and Development Trust pledged $28 million to Cornell University, called the Tata Scholarship Fund. It would provide financial aid to Indian students seeking admission to Cornell University, Ratan Tata's own alma mater.
- In 2010, Tata Charities donated a sum of $50 million to Harvard Business School to construct an executive centre. The centre is now named after Ratan Tata and is called Tata Hall.
- In 2014, the Tata Group donated Rs. 95 crore to IIT, Mumbai. In hopes of aiding them "to develop design and engineering principles suited to the needs of people and communities with limited resources". It was the largest donation received by the institute in its history.
- Ratan Tata donates over 60-70% of his earnings and profits in one form or the other. He believes in giving back to society and has done so in education, medicine and rural development.
- In March 2020, Tata Trusts announced that they would donate Rs. 500 crore to the fight against COVID-19, Tata Groups announced an additional amount of Rs. 1000 crore, bringing the total up to a staggering Rs. 1500 crore.
Ratan Tata's success story is not just limited to the Tata Sons or himself. He has pledged to spread it out towards up and coming businesses that are full of potential. Chances are you might be a loyal customer of some of the business listed here, as he has invested in more than 20 successful startups. Here are some of the most successful startups funded by Ratan Tata:
- Snapdeal: Ratan Tata bought 256 shares of this e-commerce platform, preventing Flipkart from acquiring it.
- Paytm: This company started as a mobile recharge company and has now expanded to various fields. In 2015, Ratan Tata invested Rs. 1 crore into the parent company of Paytm, One97 Communications.
- Ola: In 2015, Ratan Tata invested Rs. 95 lakhs into Ola cabs from his funds, he later invested around Rs. 400 crores through RNT Capital Advisors, his investment firm.
- FirstCry: In January of 2016, Ratan Tata invested an undisclosed amount into this startup venture.
- Xiaomi: He was the first Indian to buy shares in this Chinese tech company. He has invested an undisclosed amount into it.
- Lenskart: Over the years, Lenskart has become a staple in people's opthalmological and style journey, but a few people are aware that Ratan Tata played a significant role as a mentor, adviser and investor in this startup venture.
- Zivame: This lingerie brand received an undisclosed amount of funding from Ratan Tata in September 2015.
Despite attaining the peak of success, Ratan Tata is known to have a simple life. He lives in a simple house in Mumbai, unmarried, and in the company of his beloved dogs and books.
It just goes on to tell us that while we might aspire to gain the level of success that Ratan Tata has achieved, it's essential not to forget the principles he shows us. His generosity, simplicity, and earnestness, even after all these years in the cutthroat business sector, should be kept in mind.