Billionaires want their own startups

Billionaires want their own startups

Times of India reports that when billionaire investor and e-commerce sceptic Rakesh Jhunjhunwala committed to become the biggest investor in Exfinity Fund that backs business-to-business technology ventures, last November, he only did what bricks-and-mortar industrialists have been doing for a while--putting their money into the country's burgeoning consumer internet and tech startups, trusting them to strike it big. It is also their way to hedge against the disruptive power of online businesses.

Ratan Tata, the 78-year-old chairman emeritus of Tata Sons, has invested in 36 startups, including Ola, Paytm and Bluestone. Marico chairman Harsh Mariwala has invested in Securens, Wooqer and even beauty products e-tailer Nykaa, while Ness Wadia of the Wadia group has invested in Bengaluru-based ticketing platform Explara. What brought Jhunjhunwala on board Exfinity was the depth of its team. After a 45-minute meeting with former Infosys board members TV Mohandas Pai and V Balakrishnan, the 56-year-old 'Indian Warren Buffet' agreed to add tech firms to his $1 billion (Rs 6,653 crore) portfolio. Pai, who has backed Exfinity Fund and co-founded Aarin Capital, said promoters of large businesses are slowly getting over their reservations about the technology industry.


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