Vani is the Founder and Managing Director at Kalaari Capital, one of India’s leading early stage venture capital firms with $650 million in assets under management. Having been a successful entrepreneur in Silicon Valley for 22 years, Vani now works with entrepreneurs to build high-value enterprises. She typically leads Series A investments and has invested in 30 companies over the last decade such as Snapdeal, Myntra, Urban Ladder, Dream11 and Curefit.
Over the last decade, Vani has built immense goodwill in India’s entrepreneurial community and is recognized as one of the most influential voices in the country’s vibrant startup ecosystem. She believes India’s digital opportunity is still at a nascent stage with the Indian Venture Capital industry perfectly placed to capitalize from supporting an increasing number of entrepreneurs looking to build products and services for a growing, aspirational population.
Her founders describe her to be a tough but fair board member who believes in setting high expectations of operational excellence and organization building. Her investment philosophy includes recognizing and mentoring young, ambitious first-time entrepreneurs and helping them scale up. Through these years, she has demonstrated significant returns to her investors and enabled new paradigms for Indian consumers.
Outside of work, Vani practices heartfulness meditation and yoga devotedly in addition to spending time with her husband and two daughters. She is actively involved in various organizations focused on fostering entrepreneurship and women leadership. Vani believes in the importance of building legacy institutions and is committed to growing Kalaari as a powerhouse venture firm in India.
Portfolio: Curefit, Dream11, Oxfordcap, Vogo, Bluestone, Crowdfire, Power2SME, Urban Ladder, Instamojo, RKSV, PopXo, Active Intelligence, AffordPlan, Industry Buying, Stalkbuylove, YourStory, MilkBasket, Shop101, Perpule, Agnext.
I like everything about being a part of Kalaari. But what excites me the most are the values and trust that Kalaari stands for, its commitment to entrepreneurs, our collective passion to rethink the future and the opportunity it affords to make great investments.
What makes the job exciting
I love engaging with entrepreneurs who are rethinking the future. In this job, there is a lot of creative ideating and I like that I get to work and engage with really smart people. Creating something that makes a difference is energizing and seeing Indian growth up close is a privilege. Above all, being a part of people’s dreams and aspirations and sharing their success and frustrations keeps me passionately engaged. Knowing that I can never know what I might have to deal with tomorrow keeps me on my toes.
Views on entrepreneurship
My advice to an aspiring entrepreneur is simple. Ask yourself a set of questions for which you must have clear answers. What is your purpose for this business? Do you want to build a cool product? What hassle of a customer do you want to ease? Do you want to create wealth? Have you cleared the deck? This is a long haul, and a heavy-lifting, mind-bending journey. I liken it to hiking up Mt. Everest and how you would go about it. You will think of your financial resources, you will plan your time and you will discuss it with your family. Essentially, you will create the necessary support to ensure that you maximize the chance of succeeding in your goal. Wouldn’t you need to ensure the same when you start a company? Is this the most important thing for you right now? You might as well know, this is a tightrope walk. It requires all of your concentration, energy and focus. And it can take the next 3-10 years of your life. But most importantly, are you ready to listen?
Thoughts on startup success
A team of co-founders who can work collaboratively and scale with the business is key and 2-3 co-founders are optimal. Having sharp positioning or understanding of the opportunity to differentiate is important. It is essential to focus on unit economics and how the business works. Brand and customer connect are also key aspects that matter. Finally, a strong leadership team to make good decisions is essential.
What I like about Kalaari
I like everything about being a part of Kalaari. But what excites me the most is the values and trust that Kalaari stands for, its commitment to entrepreneurs, our collective passion to rethink the future and the opportunity it affords to make great investments.