After months of speculation, chemicals-to-cars conglomerate Tata Group finally took a giant step towards realising its dream of launching a super app.
Within a span of two weeks in May and June, Tata Digital—the company behind the super app—picked up majority stakes in online grocer BigBasket and e-pharmacy 1mg, reportedly for $1.3 billion $1.3 billion Reuters India’s Tata buys majority stake in online grocer BigBasket Read more and $230 million $230 million The Times of India Tatas to buy 51% in 1MG for $230mn Read more , respectively. Between the deals came an announcement that Tata Digital would invest $75 million in fitness startup CureFit Healthcare, ostensibly for a minority stake. Tata Digital is also said to be in talks for an investment in hyperlocal concierge service Dunzo. Dunzo. CNBC TV18 Tata Digital explores Dunzo deal for 'super app' play Read more
Tata Digital could roll out the super app between July and September, according to a highly placed source familiar with Tata Digital’s plans. They and several others The Ken spoke to requested anonymity since they did not want to be seen talking about Tata Digital or the companies it has invested in.
In preparation for the super app super app The Ken Who’s standing in the way of Tata’s digital supremacy plan? Read more , Tata Digital has created a war chest of sorts. In April and May, it raised Rs 4,650 crore ($625 million) from its parent, Tata Sons, the chief holding company of the group, according to regulatory filings accessed by The Ken. The board of Tata Digital, which currently doesn’t have any debt, also approved a borrowing limit Rs 5,000 crore ($675 million) in May.
“Tata has done what no other conglomerate has: shell out big bucks for a well thought-out digital strategy,” says a former investor in CureFit. “Reliance is a bottom-feeder,” they add, referring to the oil-to-telecom behemoth’s acquisition of struggling furniture e-tailer Urban Ladder for $24 million $24 million Reuters Reliance buys majority stake in Indian furniture retailer Urban Ladder Read more in November and its plans to buy grocery subscription company Milkbasket for $40 million $40 million Entrackr Reliance set to acquire MilkBasket for over $40 Mn Read more .