Category Archives: Business

This Self-Made Millionaire’s Story Will FIRE YOU UP

For the latest and today’s episode, we have another crazy motivational and inspirational stories. This episode is another one of the Indian startups and an Indian entrepreneur story. On “The Ranveer Show”, we have an Indian businessman interview – Jimmy Mistry. This interview with Indian business leaders will tell you the business story of the Indian Businessman, who is also an Indian crorepati.

This Indian millionaire is the owner of Della Adventure and Della Tecnica Architects. Della Tecnica is the brainchild of Jimmy Mistry Architect.

This interview with Indian business leaders will tell you the business story of the Indian Businessman, who is also an Indian crorepati. This Indian millionaire is the owner of Della Adventure and Della Tecnica Architects. Della Tecnica is the brainchild of Jimmy Mistry Architect. This success story is all about Jimmy Mistry Della and narrates the Della and Jim story on how Della Adventures came into existence. Jimmy Mistry interview is a true motivation video and inspiration of how this Della started from being a mechanic to owning a multi-million dollar business and empire. He started at the age of 19 and is still hustling as he looks at growing the business and expanding his business.

This success story is all about Jimmy Mistry Della and narrates the Della and Jim story on how Della Adventures came into existence. Jimmy Mistry interview with Ranveer Allahbadia from BeerBiceps, it is a true motivation video and inspiration of how this Della started from being a mechanic to owning a multi-million dollar business and empire. He started at the age of 19 and is still hustling as he looks at growing the business and expanding his business. I am hoping that this motivational video provides the necessary motivation for understanding how facing failure leads to success. Keep going, guys! Never give up!

Jimmy Mistry’s Instagram:

Jimmy Mistry’s Facebook:

Della’s Website:

Parsis offer interest-free loans, flexi pay options to its young entrepreneurs

A year ago, Parsi community came together to encourage young entrepreneurs and new start-ups and founded a programme to help deserving candidates with interest-free loans and a flexible payment schedule.
The India chapter of the World Zarathushti Chamber of Commerce (WZCC) tapped high net-worth individuals from the community and founded the scheme that already has three
They will have the option to repay the interest-free loan within a span of five years depending on their business model.
“The entrepreneurship scheme is a joint attempt of WZCC and World Zoroastrian Organisation (WZO) Trust Fund. As a community, we have never believed in asking for reservations or quota. So, this is our way to encourage youngsters to be enterprising, and contribute meaningfully to the community as well as the country,” WZCC India president Captain Percy Master told Mirror.
Before being selected, the interested entrepreneurs had to go through a rigorous three-stage process spanning five months, which included their businesses being scrutinised minutely and personal interviews with the business advisory committee.
The committee comprised ten industry leaders from the Parsi community in various fields.
“Our emphasis was to select businesses that are most likely to survive among the challenges of the modern world,” said Captain Master.

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Tata Group history is also the history of Indian industry

The history of a behemoth that is also the history of Indian industry


T.R. Doongaji hails from Nagpur, the place where Jamsetji Nusserwanji Tata started his first venture, Empress Mills, in 1877. When he was around six years old, Doongaji’s cousin would take him to the fire temple where, before entering, he would ask him to touch his head to a bust of “the founder” placed on a pedestal. “I did what he asked me to,” says Doongaji. “Today, I realise that my entire identity is this name.” A J.N. Tata scholar, he spent 52 years (42 in executive capacity) with Tata Group and was managing director in three group companies.

Article by Rachna Tyagi | TNN

A few years ago, some politicians in Nagpur wanted to rename the convocation hall of Nagpur University, the J.N. Tata Hall, to a local leader’s name. A friend from Nagpur called Doongaji, asking if he knew about it. Doongaji dug into the Tata Central Archives to see how the hall was given the name. “We found that the Empress Mills Nagpur had contributed to the funding of the hall, and we had the complete record. We recently won that case in the High Court. I will not allow anybody doing anything with Tata’s name or property,” says the proud Parsi.

Few companies command this kind of loyalty from its people. And, Doongaji attributes it to the leadership of Tata Group. “Between the founder and Cyrus [Mistry], there have been four chairmen—three were knighted and one is a Bharat Ratna,” says Doongaji. “How many groups can claim that quality of leadership?”

It all started when Jamsetji bought a ten-acre piece of marshy land from the Nagpur king and set up Empress Mills. (It was registered in Bombay in 1874 as Central India Spinning, Weaving and Manufacturing Company Limited. Jamsetji had started a trading company in 1868.)

Jamsetji did not want his employees to work in the squalid conditions that he had seen in Lancashire’s cotton mills. So, at Empress Mills, he ensured proper ventilation and had an apparatus installed for humidifying air. Sprinklers were installed to reduce damage by accidental fires. He also set up a provident fund scheme, the first of its kind in India, and an accident compensation fund.

When Jamsetji returned to Bombay, he had made enough money and he turned his attention to purchasing property. Soon, he became one of the wealthiest men in the country. He then began investing in the industrial future of India and drew up plans for many ambitious projects.


The first family: (Standing from left) Jamsetji Tata’s younger son Ratan, Jamsetji and Ratan’s wife; (sitting from left) Jamsetji’s wife Hirabai, Dorabji’s wife Meherbai and Dorabji.

During a visit to the US, at the behest of industrialist George Westinghouse, Jamsetji saw the hydroelectric project at the Niagara Falls. Jamsetji had been planning a hydroelectric project in India and the visit firmed up the decision. In the Lonavala and Khandala areas of the Western Ghats, which gets one of the heaviest rainfalls in the world and has the right kind of soil, valleys and slopes, he began the work for the Tata Hydroelectric Supply Company. Gigantic pipes forced water to the foot of the mountain at Khopoli, where at the power house, it would be converted into electrical energy. This project turned out be a game-changer, as it provided electricity to the growing city of Bombay.

Tata Hydroelectric Supply Company was registered as a public concern on November 7, 1910, and it commissioned the project on February 11, 1915, when Lord Willingdon, the governor of Bombay, inaugurated it. “Today, the major chunk of our power is being supplied to industries, hospitals and residences,” says Rajesh G. Naik, head of operations and maintenance, Tata Power. The total capacity of the plant is 447mw.

A big attraction at the project is the 14-acre garden in Lonavala. Jamsetji had a keen interest in gardens, and he brought home plants and seeds from all over the world. When the steel plant at Jamshedpur was being constructed, he wrote a detailed letter to his son, Dorabji, on the fast-growing variety of trees that he wanted him to plant on the site. Said Vivek Vishwasrao, head of biodiversity at Tata Power: “We fall in the northern part of the Western Ghats which is a major bio-diversity hotspot. Some of the species of plants, animals and birds found here are not found anywhere in the world.” Similarly, the beautiful Tata Baug, built in 1891 on 22 acres in Navsari, is maintained by Dr Rohinton Avari, who has a doctoral degree in landscape horticulture.

Jamsetji was an “omnivorous reader”, and a fan of Dickens and Thackeray. “He was fond of driving, a good judge of horseflesh, and duly proud of his well-bred Arabs, English Hackneys or Hungarians, and of his smart turnout. At times he enjoyed sailing and boating, and entertaining his friends at picnic parties,” writes Frank Harris in his book Jamsetji Nusserwanji Tata: A Chronicle of His Life.

When it comes to ‘firsts’, however, Jehangir Ratanji Dadabhoy Tata’s achievements stand out. From obtaining India’s first pilot’s licence to starting the first cancer hospital in the country, J.R.D. Tata sowed the seeds for a better India. His father, R.D. Tata, was a nephew of Jamsetji’s mother, and his mother, Suzanne Briere, a French citizen. He was born in Paris and spent his childhood in France. After his father’s death, he succeeded him to become a director of Tata Sons at the age of 22.

J.R.D. became Tata Sons chairman in 1938, at the age of 34. The group had 14 companies then. When he stepped down in 1991, there were 95. But his contributions went well beyond Tata Group and its businesses. For instance, he helped Homi Bhabha set up India’s atomic energy programme. Then he helped Homi Bhabha’s brother Jamshed Bhabha set up the National Centre for Performing Arts (NCPA) in Mumbai.


Matter of loyalty: T.R. Doongaji | Janak Bhat

The brightest star among the companies that J.R.D. started was Tata Airlines (which later became Air India), as it quickly earned a global reputation as one of the finest carriers. “J.R.D. would always say that Air India was his first love, and I would hope that he would say that Tata Steel was his second,” says J.J. Irani, former managing director of Tata Steel. “He would laugh at that, but he never gave me an answer.”

Irani says J.R.D. was parsimonious. “Even though he was at the helm of the Tata Group for 53 years, he never owned a personal plane,” he says. “The house he stayed in was not his own; it was rented.”

“J.R.D. was a man of principles,” says Irani. “One day he came to office looking glum, and at lunch he said, ‘I’ve lost my pen set. I was very attached to it.’ I made a note of it. A few days later, I was in London, and I dug it out, bought it and on my return gave it to him. His first impression was that of great happiness. ‘Yes, exactly like mine,’ he said. Then I saw his expression changing. ‘No, Jamshed, this would be breaking my principle of accepting gifts from officers,’ he said. I said, ‘But, no one would know.’ And he said something very important, ‘Yes, I know you won’t tell anybody, but I would know, and that’s not acceptable to me.’ He returned it to me. I still have it.”

J.R.D. worked through empowerment, and was a master delegator. “He created stalwarts like [Sumant] Moolgaokar, [Russi] Mody, [Ajit] Kerkar and [Darbari] Seth,” says Doongaji. “He operated through empowering people.”

Ratan Naval Tata, who took over from J.R.D. in 1991, had an entirely different task at hand. “Liberalisation suddenly happened when Ratan Tata took over, and Tata holding in Tata Steel was just four per cent. Ratan had the task of protecting it. So, again, consolidation had to happen. He actually insulated us from becoming sitting ducks for takeovers. It was a big task, and he has achieved that,” says Doongaji.

It is said that many of Ratan Tata’s business moves were not just cold, calculated decisions. “He is a person who uses his right brain a lot,” says R. Gopalakrishnan, author & corporate adviser at Mindworks and a former Tata employee. “Most managers are trained to use their left brain, to be logical, analytical and nobody uses only his left or his right brain. Artists and musicians are trained to use their right brain. Ratan Tata had an unusual combination, I found, where he would allow enough play for his intuition. Maybe coming out of his personality or his training in architecture.”

Ratan Tata spearheaded the group’s global pursuits. It was not just the big-bang purchases like Jaguar-Land Rover or Corus Steel, but also a well-thought-out expansion leveraging the group’s strengths. Tata Chemicals, for instance, had been in the business of salt and soda ash for decades. Then a time came when it was felt that it should start looking for markets other than India. “At that point of time, Ratan Tata had the view that we could be in counter-cyclical products or in counter-cyclical markets; all markets do not go into a downturn at the same time,” says R. Mukundan, managing director, Tata Chemicals. “And, the second view was that if India was going to be open, everybody was going to come in. We were strong enough in India; are we not going to go and address them? Are we just going to be sitting here?”


Ratan Tata | Amey Mansabdar

Tata Chemicals’ strategy was to link the lowest-cost production centre in the world with the most attractive market through the best supply chain. Today, Tata Chemicals’ biggest operation is in Wyoming, US. “It is two and a half million tonnes of naturally mined soda ash. It is a brilliant acquisition which has played out very well for the company; it has been profitable from day one and continues to pay us dividends,” says Mukundan.

One of Tata Group’s biggest investments in India has been the Rs 25,000 crore steel plant in Kalinganagar in Odisha. It is nothing less than a new beginning for the steel giant. “With 3,000 acres of land, we are expanding from three million to eight million tonnes, and we can easily double that if we have the appetite, the money and the balance sheet,” says T.V. Narendran, CEO and managing director, Tata Steel. “It will be one of the most efficient steel plants in the world once we have completed the expansion at eight million tonnes.”

Tata’s future, however, is expected to be less dependent on the traditional businesses; but even the future businesses will be dependent on the Tata brand. “In the aerospace industry, credibility, quality and dependability are extremely crucial, and there is very strong resistance to move from one supplier to another because these things are critical,” says Banmali Agrawala, president (infrastructure, defence and aerospace), about how it got to do business with the likes of Boeing, Airbus, Lockheed Martin and Sikorsky. “So, it is not just cost; there is a whole ecosystem of trust that goes with it. I think we have built that over the last seven years, and in many cases, we are now the single-source suppliers to many of the global OEMs.” Recently, for instance, Boeing was very happy that Tata delivered an order for the fuselage for the Apache helicopters ahead of schedule.

Agrawala says Ratan Tata is a rockstar. He recalls an incident when they were travelling together and talking about planes. “He knows a lot about planes,” says Agrawala. “He educated me about what kind of fighter aircraft featured in the movie Top Gun. I would ask him, how can you make out and he would say, ‘Look at this particular feature, and that’s how you make it out’.” He says Ratan’s mild demeanour is not to be mistaken for weakness. “If we are bidding for a project, we have got to win; if we are trying to buy something, we need to end up buying it; and we better not fail,” says Agrawala.

Guenter Butschek, who had a long career at Mercedes-Benz and a shorter one at Airbus, visited India in 2015 on Diwali week. He loved it, and concluded that if he got a job offer, he and his wife would be “ready for incredible India”. He got many offers, and it was Tata Motors that attracted his attention. He joined the company in 2016, and quickly realised that it had lost a little bit of track and market share in the past few years, and there was “some work required in order to stop the bleeding, to turn the company around and to get it back to its old glory”. “You cannot continuously bleed as a company while trying to reach this higher purpose as far as community is concerned,” he says.

Butschek was amazed at the unique corporate culture at Tata. “The most striking part is Tata’s culturally embedded commitment to the community,” he says. “To say that I am working for a company which is a huge economic powerhouse—but at the same time, a powerhouse as far as nation building and the community support is concerned—made it a very attractive offering.”

Butschek has a clear plan for Tata Motors. “The first quarter [of the next fiscal] is when you will be seeing the Harrier [compact SUV], in its five-seater version, on the road as a diesel version, and in September you are going to see the seven-seater. The premium hatch 45X, which has attracted the attention of many, is going to be in the market in the second half of the first quarter.”

Tata’s 150 years of existence has been the history of Indian industry. And there is only one reason it continues to be as relevant. “The first word associated with Tata is trust,” says Doongaji. “It is the most trusted name. In any country, what is the most important thing that makes you trustworthy? Currency.” Jamsetji Tata is the only businessman to appear on the currency of a country. “You will have Washington or Lincoln, but you will not find a businessman,” he says. “On his 175th birth anniversary, the government of India released a 0100 coin and a 05 coin with Jamsetji Tata’s face on it. What does it say? Epitome of trust, that’s us.


Serum Institute’s Founder Dr. Cyrus Poonawala Nominated For Nobel

Billionaire Cyrus Poonawalla, chairman of Serum Institute of India Ltd., sits for a photograph in Pune, Maharashtra, India, on Monday, May 4, 2015. Serum, Asia’s largest vaccine maker, will look at a possible merger with generic drugmaker Cipla Ltd. if the European venture between the two companies succeeds. Photographer: Sanjit Das/Bloomberg via Getty Images

Dr Cyrus Poonawalla, Founder of the world’s largest vaccine manufacturer, Serum Institute of India, has been nominated from India for the prestigious Nobel Prize ,said Dr Parvez Grant, Managing Trustee of the Ruby Hall Clinic. He was speaking in an event held in JW Marriot, Pune on Sunday to felicitate of Dr Cyrus Poonawalla who was recently conferred an honorary ‘Doctor of Humane Letters’ degree by the Massachusetts Medical School at Boston for his unparalleled work in the field of immunisation at the global level.

Dr Poonawalla was awarded the Padma Shri in 2005 for his contribution to medicine, and a Lifetime Achievement Award by the then Prime Minister Manmohan Singh.



Kaizad Hansotia moves ahead – full steam!

This Vadodara man who sold electric bats at age 16 is now empowering designers with GetNatty

The entrepreneurial bug bit Kaizad Hansotia when he started his first business at the age of 16. Looking to help his family financially by paying his own college fees, he travelled from his hometown of Vadodara, bought electric bats to kill mosquitoes (which were then a novelty) from Mumbai, and sold them door-to-door in local neighbourhoods for three times the price.

Since then, he has been part of multiple businesses. The MBA graduate finally took a plunge into the startup ecosystem in 2012, and has worked as CMO in two ed-tech startups – Scholarly and MyTestBuddy. He, however, sought to start up on his own, and inspiration came from his sister Dilshad, who had studied fashion design and dreamt of starting her own label.

Kaizad saw how challenging it was for Dilshad to design ensembles every season, and simultaneously sell them in a short period of time.

With the idea of supporting upcoming fashion designers and connecting them with the right consumers, Kaizad launched online platform GetNatty on Women’s Day in 2016.

“Currently, there is no effective way for fashion designers and entrepreneurs to start up their labels or grow their existing brands. Also, there is no trusted way for consumers to discover and interact with newer fashion designers. I wanted to build infrastructure for budding designers and provide a platform to showcase their creative talent,” says Kaizad.

Kaizad Hansotia, Founder, GetNatty

To bridge this gap and create a supportive fashion ecosystem, Kaizad knew technology was the way. GetNatty was started with Rs 80 lakh from his own savings, as well as from family, friends and some HNIs.

The online marketplace helps designers grow their businesses by increasing brand awareness and visibility, helps them style celebrities, and even work with fashion influencers.

GetNatty also enables designers to exhibit their collections in cities across India, as well as showcase them in multi-designer stores and even sell internationally. Using data intelligence, GetNatty enables a designer to avail all these services under one roof.

Small town startup with global ambition

Kaizad believes there is tremendous opportunity in the highly unorganised designer-wear market that will cross $2 billion in India by 2020, and is growing at a CAGR of 40 percent according to ASSOCHAM. “Globally, the designer wear industry is expected to cross $200 billion by 2020. India represents only one percent of it. India needs an umbrella brand like GetNatty that can put us on the global map,” he tells YourStory.

GetNatty’s target customers primarily are fashion-conscious women in the mid-to-high income group between the ages of 25 to 45 from Tier I and Tier II cities.

Of more than 3,000 stock keeping units, the most popular products are jumpsuits, gowns, clutches, dresses, tunics, sling bags and sandals. Kaizad believes that globally, consumers prefer to buy niche products as opposed to mass market brands, and this trend is expected to continue. “This is mostly due to the products’ authenticity, personalised experience and the story attached to it,” he says.

Collection from GetNatty.

Kaizad adds that he looks up to Zillingo, a startup focused on APAC and Southeast Asia, which follows a similar model. Co-founded by former Sequoia Capital investment analyst Ankiti Bose, this three-year-old startup has already raised $82 million.

“Their success shows that this model works, and the market is worth exploring. We also want to go outside India, beginning with an exhibition in Dubai in August,” he says.

Everything for designers

In India, GetNatty’s closest competitor is Pernia’s PopupShop, and internationally it is FarFetch. “The price points of the products listed on Pernia’s are about three times higher than ours, and majority of their orders come from outside India. They do not provide a platform for upcoming designers, and are only focused on selling highly curated designer wear from a selective list of designers,” says Kaziad.

Kaizad believes there is tremendous opportunity in the highly unorganised designer-wear market.

Onboarding designers at GetNatty is done carefully. GetNatty’s team of 10 includes professionals with extensive experience in Indian and international fashion. They handpick designers keeping the requirements of customers in mind.

Kaziad elaborates, “So far, we have received over 1,100 designer registration requests. Since we want to focus on quality, we have carefully shortlisted about 100 designers who match our curation criteria. The key to success is locking in a loyal customer base and becoming the business partners of designers, so they are not just dependent on us for sales, but also for their business operations and their brand’s overall growth.”

He adds that one of the key performance indicators for GetNatty is by how much does a designer on the platform grow their business. It also focuses on the number of users, repetition rate, time spent on the site, conversion rate, referrals, and brand recall value.

To better serve designers, GetNatty has also partnered with exhibition and fashion event organisers, multi-designer and fashion retail store owners, up and coming photographers, models, stylists, influencers, hair and make-up artists, branding and PR professionals, event managers, décor partners, wholesale buyers and boutique owners, and logistics companies.

Omnichannel route

In India, only three to four percent of the total retail market is online, and Kaziad believes there is tremendous opportunity for GetNatty to adopt a hybrid online-to-offline model. GetNatty looks to capture consumers who may use the online mode for discovery, but prefer to shop offline due to the touch and feel factor. It has more than 1,000 customers and a majority of the sales come from the offline channels.

GetNatty has already conducted more than 20 exhibitions across the country.

Exhibitions, fashion events, affiliate marketing websites and multi designer stores are where the startup’s target consumers hang out, so GetNatty comes up with creative ways to attract, convert and retain them.

Kaziad explains, “First, we inform them through social media paid promotions and website/email announcements, then on the physical location we put up a beautiful display of products and décor. We interact with consumers and offer them styling tips that can help them to make a purchase decision and / or remember us thenext time they plan on buying designer wear.”

GetNatty has already conducted more than 20 exhibitions across the country. In multi-designer stores, customers can find multiple designer products under one roof, see the product in real time, give a customised orders, get styling tips and also get a product altered.

“For offline orders through exhibitions and stores, we have created appropriate systems and checks in place to ensure that the quality of the product is properly inspected prior to delivering to the customer. For online orders however we work on a drop shipment model,” Kaziad says. He adds that their offline outlet ‘GetNatty In-store’ is scheduled to go live by October 2018.

Multiple routes to monetise

GetNatty offers a yearly subscription service for designers ranging from Rs 2500 to Rs 6000. It also provides customisable packages with photography, celebrity styling, multi-designer store retailing and wholesaling, which range between Rs 9,999 and Rs 24,999.

In addition, it charges a transaction fee of 11.8-27.5 percent on each sale, depending on the quantum. The products start from Rs 2500, and go up to Rs 25000. The average price point of their products is Rs 3000-Rs 4000.

GetNatty is currently closing its first seed round. “We have witnessed a monthly revenue growth rate of 73 percent, and over 98 percent in terms of designer onboarding. We are seeing an exceptional growth in our annual GMV, about 107 percent month on month, and we are anticipating to grow at least 5X next year and another 10x the year after that,” Kaziad says.

Although it has an office in Mumbai, being based out of Vadodara has had advantages and disadvantages for GetNatty. While there is a lack of opportunities and ecosystem support, Vadodara provides low cost of living, which has helped reduce overheads. In the current fiscal, GetNatty aims to achieve more than 10,000 users and 3,000 designers, conduct 50 exhibitions and open 10 stores.


The business of family — The Tatas

“We do not claim to be more unselfish, more generous or more philanthropic than other people. But we think we started on sound and straightforward business principles, considering the interests of the shareholders our own, and the health and welfare of the employees the sure foundation of our prosperity. ”

The words were uttered memorably by Jamsetji Tata, the man who broke new ground for Indian entrepreneurship much before the term was coined. Some time back we brought to you a podcast about how the idea of the great big Indian business family continues to endure at a time of brash, young but uproariously successful ideas. And no business exemplifies this resilience better than Tata Sons.

As we mentioned in the last podcast, entrenched family businesses are more politically savvy than new players and understand how to adapt to India’s ever evolving social and entrepreneurial landscape.

Even as two of Tata’s flagship companies, Tata Motors-owned Jaguar Land Rover and Tata Steel Europe, navigate international negotiations currently, the headlines today state that Tata Sons has appointed former foreign secretary S Jaishankar as president, global corporate affairs. This is clearly a well-thought out move and bodes well for the company. He will be overseeing Tata group’s global corporate affairs and international strategy development.

In an official statement, Jaishankar said that he looks forward to working with an iconic institution known for its value-based leadership.

His statement conveying in not so many words that a pioneering business enterprise evokes more than just numbers.

So let us today, talk of a success story that is not just about products but legacies. A legacy which now includes TCS, the freshly minted USD 100 billion company. It is also time for us to acknowledge on this podcast the irrefutable fact that even those of us who have never worked for a Tata company have been touched in some way by its services, products and messaging.

Tata Sons, the family that pioneered CSR

Many of us still remember the vintage ads about their steel legacy, where the Tatas used this key phrase, “We also make steel.”

It was in 1988, that the Tatas first ran an ad on Doordarshan, not about a product but nation building. It showed us the impact conscientious corporate policies have on employees and even consumers. That ad captured in a few seconds the idealism of the founding fathers of Tata Sons. 1988 was also the year, Tata Steel became the only integrated steel company in the world outside Japan to win the Deming Application Prize for excellence in Total Quality Management.

The ad with the punch line, “We also make steel” also summed up what we would come to understand in the years to come as CSR (or corporate social responsibility).The Tatas in a way pioneered the idea of philanthropy being intrinsic to corporate philosophy.

And so it turns out that the term family in the case of Tatas has always had a broader meaning. And as was evident in the famous ad, The Tatas did not just build a steel plant. They built a city for their employees where there are more amenities than some of the biggest metro cities in India. The city has multiple academies for varied sport disciplines, golf courses, a hospital, leafy avenues, stadiums, a local power utility and a lot more.

Jamshedpur or Tata Nagar was built in 1907 and today the Tatas’ contribution to its infrastructure even includes an Rs 100 crore, 11-km highway. This level of investment in human capital is what lasting legacies are built of. And that is why, too many Tata employees, being part of the Tata family means that often succeeding generations also end up working for the company.  And yes, Tata Steel hasn’t seen a day of strike since 1928.

CSR with constant diversification and global dominance

And we are just beginning to scratch the surface of what the Tata family stands for.

Even as first generation entrepreneurs in India challenge entrenched business houses with out of the box ideas like Flipkart, old warriors like Tata Sons are striving to remain relevant by diversifying and exploring new avenues constantly. Tata sons continue to exemplify the undiluted power of a family owned business, having weathered storms of all kinds through the decades.

And the Tata family is thriving still in a country far different from the one it was first conceived in. Many Tata companies have achieved global prominence over the years as they redefine their skill profiles to suit the ever evolving business environment. Tata Communications for instance is a leading international wholesale voice provider and Tata Motors is among the top ten commercial vehicle manufacturers in the world.

While Tata Steel, the heritage brand of the Tate empire is among the top fifteen best steel companies, TCS is the second largest IT services company in the world. Tata Global Beverages continues to be the second-largest tea company in the world and Tata Chemicals is the world’s second-largest manufacturer of soda ash.

How a homespun success story began

The Tatas originally arrived in Mumbai from Navsarii, Gujarat and the first man in the family to strike gold was Jamshedji Tata.

Jamshedji Nusserwanji Tata was not just the patriarch of the Tata business empire but the father of modern Indian entrepreneurship.

It was in 1868, that Jamshedji Tata founded the Tata group which went on to become a global enterprise, comprising over 100 independent operating companies operating in more than 100 countries across six continents. In 2016-17, the cumulative revenue of Tata companies, was USD 100.39 billion.

According to the Tata website, there are 29 publicly-listed Tata enterprises today with a combined market capitalisation of about USD 130.13 billion (as on March 31, 2017). Tata companies with significant scale include Tata Steel, Tata Motors, Tata Consultancy Services, Tata Power, Tata Chemicals, Tata Global Beverages, Tata Teleservices, Titan, Tata Communications and Indian Hotels.

The original vision that fuelled the conception and expansion of industries of steel, hydro-power, hospitality and airlines went on to create path breaking entities. Entities such as TCS, India’s first software company, and Tata Motors, which has to its credit  India’s first indigenously developed car, the Tata Indica and the smart city car, the Tata Nano.

Tata Sons however continues to be the principal investment holding company. A remarkable aspect of this story is that sixty-six percent of the equity share capital of Tata Sons is controlled by philanthropic trusts supportive of art and culture, education, health, livelihood generation etc.

The majority shareholders of Tata Sons, have routinely endowed institutions to research science and technology, medicine, social studies and the performing arts. The trusts also provide aid and assistance to non-government organisations working to improve education, health care and livelihoods.

The company’s mission statement in its own words continues to be based on, customer-centricity, innovation, entrepreneurship, trustworthiness and values-driven business operations. All this while the company balances the interests of diverse stakeholders including shareholders, employees and civil society.

Jamshedji Tata, the man in a hurry to build an aspirational business idea

And it all began with Jamsetji’s vision of building India’s first steel mill and hydro power plant that would galvanise industry in India.His most important contribution though was to create an aspirational idea of India where Indian entrepreneurship could claim its place proudly on the global stage with other industrialised nations.

He was energised by the patriotic idealism of a man who not only wanted to create an empire but to root it in humanism.  That he envisioned the House of Tatas spanning generations at a time when India was colonised and was crushed by poverty is even more remarkable.

On March 3, 1839, in Navsari, Gujarat, he was born to Nusserwanji Tata, into a family of Parsee priests. His father paved the way for him by breaking away from the tradition of priesthood and establishing a banking business. Jamsetji was enrolled at Elphinstone College, from where he graduated in 1858 and soon he joined the small firm that his father ran. He was just 20 and soon began to learn about commodities, markets, trading and banking.

In 1868, aged 29 he started a trading company with a capital of Rs 21,000. Already a visionary, he acquired a defunct oil mill in Chinchpokli, in Bombay, and converted it into a cotton mill. Even though, he sold the mill two years later, he went to England, to exhaustively study the Lancashire cotton trade.

In 1874, Jamsetji founded the Central India Spinning, Weaving and Manufacturing Company, with a seed capital of Rs 1.5 lakh. Three years later, his dream project. Empress Mills came into existence in Nagpur. He was 37. From about 1880 to his death in 1904, Jamsetji devoted himself to three of his big dreams, setting up an iron and steel company, generating hydroelectric power, and creating a world-class scientific institution.

He died without fulfilling these dreams but his spadework resulted in future generations giving shape to his unrealised ideas. His heirs would remember his heroic efforts to build a steel company despite the odds presented by a scornful British empire and road blocks at every step. Eight years after his death, the first ingot of steel rolled out off the plant’s production line. The year was 1912 and helming his vision were now his son Dorab and cousin RD Tata.

Jamshedji Tata’s encompassing vision for the extended Tata family

In his lifetime, Jamsetji also laid the foundation for the company’s well-known worker friendly policies by offering his employees shorter working hours, well-lit and properly ventilated working spaces, and provident fund and gratuity benefits even before they had become mandatory in the West.

We have already mentioned Jamshedpur and it was Jamsetji who had visualised the concept of an idyllic workers’ township at a steel plant five years before even a site for the enterprise had been chosen. He had visualised wide streets planted with shady trees, plenty of space for lawns and gardens, areas for football, hockey and parks. The secular nationalist also wanted spaces earmarked for temples, mosques and churches. It was poetic perfection that when his vision became a reality years after his death, the city that was built would be named after him and called Jamshedpur.

Inspired by his dream to encourage India’s brightest minds with the JN Tata Endowment in 1892, the inheritors of this legacy established Tata scholarships. They would go on to touch so many lives that by 1924, two out of every five Indians in the Indian Civil Service happened to be Tata scholars.

To establish an Indian Institute of Science, Jamsetji had set aside Rs 30 lakh of his money, had even drawn a blueprint and beseeched the Viceroy, Lord Curzon, and Swami Vivekananda for their literal and ideological support. But despite these efforts, he did not live long enough to see the Indian Institute of Science come up in Bangalore in 1911.

The hydroelectric project too was completed after his demise. Among the dreams he lived long enough to realise was the Taj Mahal Hotel in Bombay. He wanted to build a world class hotel showcasing Indian hospitality after being denied entry into one of the city’s hotels. It cost Rs 4.21 crore by the time it was finished and was the first building in Bombay to use electricity and as the trivia on Tata website states, this was the first hotel in the country to have American fans, German elevators, Turkish baths, English butlers and whole lot more.

The house of Tata that we know today was hence built on the shoulders of this man whose founding ideals were then carried forward and interpreted by succeeding generations making the family business more than just about the immediate family. As he wanted, the name Tata today stands for not just cutting edge entrepreneurship but philanthropy. He passed away in Germany in 1904 and the chairmanship of the Tata group passed to the elder of his two sons, Sir Dorab Tata.

Apart from displaying their entrepreneurial verve, many Tata scions like Sir Ratanji Tata: Jamsetji Tata’s younger son, have used their resources to touch, change and enhance lives of the less privileged. It was Ratanji who created a trust fund for “the advancement of learning and for the relief of human suffering and other works of public utility.”

The Sir Ratan Tata Trust is today the second largest of the Tata trusts. Another Tata scion Naval Tata also contributed liberally to the fields of business, sports administration and labour relations.

On the other end of the spectrum was the unstoppable energy of JRD Tata (Chairman, Tata Sons: 1938 – 1991) who put India on the aviation map and pioneered civil aviation in the subcontinent in 1932 by launching the airline now known as Air India.

More than just another family business

The true capital of the Tata group of companies is its work force of over 6,60,000 people worldwide. And as the company says, “Taking good care of this large family is a priority for the Group.” So as we said before, clearly the word family has more than just one meaning when it comes to the Tatas.

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