Will Ratan Tata's Investment In MUrgency Inc Push Its Valuation Higher?

Having already funded over half a dozen startups in 2016, the 78-year-old chairman emeritus of Tata Sons Ltd. , Ratan Tata, seems to be in no mood to take a break from his investing spree this year. On Tuesday, San Francisco-based emergency response startup MUrgency Inc announced that it has received an undisclosed amount of funding from Mr. Tata, who is credited with turning one of India’s oldest family controlled businesses into a global giant. MUrgency Inc will use the proceeds from this funding to augment technology, and scale operation. It also plans to leverage Mr. Tata’s experience and network as a global business leader to develop the emergency response network globally through appropriate partnerships.

This funding comes just weeks after MUrgency Inc raised an undisclosed amount from Axilor Ventures Pvt. Ltd, an early stage venture capital fund founded by Infosys founders Kris Gopalakrishnan and S D Shibulal.

“Tata’s involvement is an affirmation of the importance of a reliable emergency medical response network for the world and of course India to save lives which are otherwise lost for want of timely medical attention,” MUrgency Inc’s CEO and Founder, Shaffi Mather, said in a statement released by the company.

Making Emergency Response Quicker

Founded in Silicon Valley in 2014 and incubated out of Stanford ChangeLabs, MUrgency Inc. is building a global emergency response network through which it seeks to help people during a medical emergency in less than 9 minutes. The company launched its MUrgency mobile app in the tri-city area of Punjab – Mohali, Chandigarh, and Panchkula – in February this year, with plans to roll out the service in Amritsar and Jalandhar by the end of this month and cover the whole state of Punjab by the end of June. It expects its service to be available across India by 2018 and around the world by 2020. So far, the company has enrolled over 1,500 medical responders and 70 medical institutions on its platform and claims to have an average response time of 9.20 minutes.

Explaining how Mr.Tata’s investment will benefit the company, Mr. Shaffi said, “He clearly wanted us to launch and grow the network in India first before taking it overseas. Mr. Tata’s investment in MUrgency will help attract leading talent to the company and major partnerships beyond India.”

Tata’s Valuation Magic

Since stepping down from his role as the Chairman of Tata Sons Ltd. in December 2012, Mr. Tata has been very active in the startup investing world. In the last two years alone, he has invested in over 25 startups, including three in the healthcare space – Swasth India, Lybrate and Invictus Oncology. Apart from Indian companies, the septuagenarian has also put his money in some well-known startups across the world like Xiaomi, which unlike his most other investments isn’t an early-stage company.

Despite being a part of several fundraising deals in the last few months, the ticket size of most of the deals done by Mr. Tata remains unknown. The data that is available for the deals that he has done in the past shows that he usually invests a very small amount – sometimes as little as $20,000- and he owns very little of the companies in his portfolio. Nevertheless, most of the companies he has invested in have seen a jump in valuation in later fundraising rounds. Going forward, it would be interesting to see if MUrgency Inc also sees the same thing happening with its valuation.

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