Tata Sons chairman emeritus and prolific investor Ratan Tata has invested an undisclosed amount in Chennai and Singapore-based big data analytics startup Crayon Data. The investment was made by Tata in his personal capacity, according to a statement.
The funds will be used by the startup to expand its flagship product Maya, develop new products and to expand existing operations and sales network.
Ratan Tata has made personal investments in more than a dozen of start-ups in the last 18 months. He last known investment was in LetsVenture, the the Indian startup funding marketplace that brings together investors and entrepreneurs, as part of its series A round.
Co-founded in 2012 by IIM Calcutta graduates Srikant Sastri and Suresh Shankar, Crayon Data last raised $10 million in funding from Singapore-based Jungle Ventures and Spring Seeds. Recently, Ratan Tata was also roped in as a special advisor by Jungle Ventures.
“We are excited and honored. To meet Ratan Tata and have our vision validated by him is an accolade in itself,” Sastri said.
Crayon Data has an engine that helps big enterprises with the big data capability to offer ultrapersonalized choices to consumers. It is developing what it calls a “consumer taste fabric”, which maps choices across 15 categories using machine-learning and complex algorithms. This taste fabric is then mapped to vast internal (enterprise) and external (online) data sets to provide a set of personalized choices to consumers.
Currently, the company employs 100 people in its offices across Chennai, New York, Dubai, Singapore and London. The startup has been accredited as one of the most successful and innovative big data start-ups in 2014 and 2015 by global platforms such as TiEcon, CEBIT, IBM Watson, Intech50 and OrangeFab.
“We have always strongly believed in Crayon’s proposition. Srikant and Suresh, with their years of experience in Marketing and Analytics, have always had a clear vision of the value Crayon can bring to consumer-facing enterprises,” Anurag Srivastava of Jungle Ventures said.
After stepping down from an active role in Tata Group, Rata Tata has invested in several startups including ab hailing app Ola, online retailer Snapdeal, lingerie etailer Zivame, Paytm and Chinese smartphone maker Xiaomi.