Indian salt-to-software conglomerate Tata Group is investing USD 2 billion in its much-awaited super app—a one-stop shop for its consumer services, including healthcare and e-pharmacy, food and grocery, fashion and jewelry, hotel bookings, consumer electronics, payments, and financial services.
The Mumbai-headquartered giant may later raise an additional USD 5 billion by selling minority stakes in its digital arm, Tata Digital—which is spearheading the super app initiative—to external investors, a report by local media Livemint said, citing sources.
Dubbed TataNeu, the app is likely to be rolled out early next year.
The 153-year-old conglomerate, with a diversified business portfolio across sectors including automotive, airlines, chemicals, defense, FMCG, finance, home appliances, hospitality industry, IT services, retail, e-commerce, real estate, steel, and telecom, has been testing the waters in the digital space since late 2016. Over the years, it quietly rolled out several apps for e-groceries, online fashion and electronics shopping, doctor consultations, and personal loans, among others. The company set up Tata Digital in 2019 to streamline its various online offerings.
When the COVID-19 pandemic hit the country in March 2020, leading to a steep rise in digital adoption among consumers and businesses, Tata Group decided to go all out to create an online retail empire. In August 2020, Chandrasekaran revealed the group’s plan to roll out a super app in an interview with the UK-based Financial Times.
It has been over a year since Tata began working on its “all-in-one” e-commerce app. Earlier this year, the USD 103-billion company acquired internet startups like online grocery platform BigBasket and digital health startup 1mg that align with its super app vision.
TataNeu’s launch has already been delayed several times. Initially, it was supposed to be out by the end of 2020, but the rollout was moved to March 2021. However, as the company waited for the Indian market regulator’s approval of its billion-dollar acquisition of BigBasket, the super app rollout was further pushed back by six months.
Earlier in September, Tata Group began testing the super app with its 700,000-plus employee base, local media reports said. To start with, the company made TataNeu available in two small towns—Jamshedpur in the eastern state of Jharkhand and Mithapur in the western state of Gujarat. Notably, both cities—being major production hubs for the Tata Group—house many Tata employees.
Under the pilot, services of Tata’s hospitality group Taj Hotels, airline AirAsia, e-commerce platform (for electronics, fashion, and accessories) Tata Cliq, e-grocer BigBasket, and consumer electronics retail chain Croma have been uploaded to the app, said a report by local media Economic Times. TataNeu is currently integrating e-healthcare firm 1mg with the super app, after which it will bring in retail arm Trent, watch brand Titan, and airline Vistara, among other services, the report added. Air India will also be made available on the super app once its acquisition by Tata Group is completed next year.
TataNeu will become accessible to all employees in phases over the next few months. Reportedly, users can earn loyalty points by transacting on the super app, which can then be redeemed on purchases from any of Tata’s brands.