N&Q: Indian theme - Tata, Godrej, and why I’m not working for my father’s business

Why I’m not working for my father’s business

Stories that are publically told about why, or why not, a next generation member of a family business makes that decision or another sometimes have to be taken with a certain about of healthy scepticism. Quite often there is always a backstory, which rarely comes out. Anyway, here’s an interesting perspective from a next generation member of an Indian family business - and most of it sounds pretty upfront. Sasha Mirchandani, whose father Gulu Mirchandani is the founder and chairman of the Onida Group, says some interesting things in his interview with The Economic Times, like: “My father's always been extremely open to anything his children do. Because he says that as long as you guys are not lazy I am happy. And don't come to me for money.” The bit about the money appears to have worked - Sasha now runs a venture capital fund called Kae Capital.

 

Ratan Tata, his family office, and startups

It’s always good to see a trend emerging further after writing about it, but the link between startups and Indian family offices now appears to be stronger than ever. Ratan Tata, India’s most heavyweight businessman, has, according to a report , set up a venture fund worth a reported $300 million connected to his family office RNT Associates to invest in startups in India, Southeast Asia, and the US. With offices in Mumbai and Singapore, the fund will target investments of $10-15 million into tech companies, so the report said. 

 

The plain talking Adi Godrej

There are few more interesting heads of a family business than Adi Godrej, chairman of the huge Indian conglomerate, the Godrej Group. Few family heads combine so well the hard-nosed business accruement of a head of a multi-billion dollar multinational employing thousands of people with the sometimes softer skills need to oversee the family side of a business, which is 119 years old.

Speaking to The Economic Times, Adi gave an update on the group’s ambitious growth strategy, he said: "We are putting a lot of emphasis on inorganic growth route. We acquired few businesses last year in agro and consumer segments. Our growth through inorganic route will be good over the next few years." He added: "Inorganic growth would be made mainly through acquisitions. Globally things are not doing well; you can acquire businesses at lower cost than normal.”

OK, this is more of the hard-nosed side of Adi, but the comments perfectly underline his no-nonsense growth strategy, articulated with brevity and confidence. If it isn’t already, his management of the Godrej Group should merit further analysis by business schools around the world - there’s much for other family owners to learn from him. Here’s an interview with Adi Family Capital ran two years ago, that helps to better understand the man, and the business he heads.