Ratan Tata, chairman emeritus of Tata Sons, has invested an undisclosed amount in Delhi-based biopharmaceutical firm Invictus Oncology Pvt Ltd and online marketplace for industrial tools Moglix.
The two deals take the number of companies Tata has backed in 2016 to seven. Tata, one of India’s most active angel investors last year, has also put money in animal lovers’ portal Dogspot, coupons site CashKaro and baby products e-commerce site FirstCry.com, among others, this year. In total, he has invested in 29 startups since he hung up his boots as the Tata Group’s chief in December 2012.
Tata’s investment in Invictus is part of the firm’s first close of the Series A funding round, the company said in a statement.
Invictus is a cancer therapeutics venture founded by R.A Mashelkar, former director general of the Council of Scientific and Industrial Research, and Harvard Medical School's Shiladitya Sengupta. The company is also backed by VC firms Navam Capital and Aarin Capital.
Moglix, which went live in August 2015, is a marketplace for hand tools, power tools, cutting tools, and tapes and adhesives, among other products. In October, Moglix had raised pre-Series A funding from Accel Partners and Jungle Ventures.
Tata has a penchant for e-commerce startups despite the ‘pricey’ valuations attached to several such ventures.
The Delhi-based company, which was set up in 2011, said it will use the funds raised to advance its lead molecule, IO 125, which has been validated in multiple cancer models.
The company is set to file an Investigational New Drug (IND) application for the molecule to obtain US Food and Drug Administration’s approval for initiating clinical studies. The funds will also be used to file a second IND application, it said.
In May 2013, Invictus had raised Rs 10.50 crore (around $1.88 million then) in Series A funding led by Navam Capital and Aarin Capital. An unnamed angel group also took part in that round.
Invictus claims it has developed a pipeline of molecules that address a $20 billion market opportunity in the oncology segment.
With rising cancer cases in the country, the oncology market in India is growing at 20 per cent annually and is expected to touch Rs 3,831 crore by 2017, according to a study by Frost & Sullivan.
Other oncology companies which have attracted funding in the past include Bangalore-based HealthCare Global Enterprises Ltd, which is set to float an IPO soon, and Amrish Oncology Services Pvt Ltd, part of the US-based Comprehensive Blood & Cancer Center.
Navam Capital is a venture capital firm focused on seed and early-stage investments in energy, technology and healthcare. It has also made seed investments in EnNatura Technology Venture and Vyome Biosciences prior to this transaction.
Aarin Capital invests in healthcare, life sciences and technology-based products and services business. Some of the companies Aarin Capital has invested in include Global Stay Services, Insightra Medical Inc, Vyome Biosciences and Ishita Technologies Pvt Ltd.
Moglix, run by MOGLILABS Pvt Ltd, said Tata will play an important role in mentoring the company on business growth, global expansion and leadership.
“Indian manufacturers have been slow to adopt technology, leading to process inefficiencies and limited marketing exposure. The unorganised supply chain in India can only be solved with a technology-first mindset,” said Rahul Garg, CEO and founder of Moglix.
Singapore- and Noida-based Moglix says its long-term plan is to enable Asian manufacturers to sell products in about 100 countries. The company claims to have about 200 Indian manufacturing brands on board including Havells, Larsen and Toubro, C&S Electric, Anchor and Bajaj Electricals.
Besides Moglix, a few other industrial tools marketplaces have got funding in recent months. In December, Industrybuying.com received an undisclosed amount in angel funding from family members of the Chennai-based Murugappa and TVS groups. In September, Industrybuying.com secured Rs 60 crore ($9 million) in a Series B funding round from Kalaari Capital, existing investor SAIF Partners and Teruhide Sato’s Beenext.
In October, Bizongo, a B2B marketplace for industrial goods, raised an undisclosed amount in seed funding from Accel Partners. In April last year, VCCircle had reported that Tolexo, a subsidiary of IndiaMART InterMESH Ltd, was in talks to raise as much as $200 million from investors.