Vani Kola: The lady behind great ideas turning into entrepreneurial successes

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What could be more fascinating than helping ideas turn into successful entrepreneurial realities? Inventiva brings to you the story of truly an inspiration and a wonder woman – Vani Kola, the founder of Kalaari Capital. Vani is a venture capitalist and her firm Kalaari Capital is one of country’s foremost early-stage venture capital firms.

The Hyderabadi girl is a certified electrical engineer. She pursued her Bachelors from Osmania University while finishing her Masters from Arizona State University.

In the US Vani founded RightWorks, and then Certus Software. She was the CEO at both the companies. Her strong 22-year-old career at Silicon Valley really honed her creating something as humungous and successful as Kalaari Capital.

On her return to India in 2006 she began her journey as a venture capitalist in association with the NEA. However, she re-branded her company to Kalaari Capital in 2012 and started her own entrepreneurial journey as a 150 million dollar fund.

Today the company holds 650 million dollars plus in assets under management. She along with her team has been the financial backbone for several startups that have gone on to become global market leaders now. For instance, Myntra, Snapdeal and Curefit to name a few are the giants she’s helped build along the way.

Vani usually participates in Series A investments. Her portfolio consists of a multitude of companies (30+) that she has invested in to grow in heaps and bounds.

As an entrepreneur, if you have a keen eye and understanding of the market and its future needs, nothing can stop you. This is what perhaps motivated Vani to start off and be especially interested in the E-commerce space.

It’s good to note that at that time in the country, E-commerce was barely at its boom. The space was quite new and risky for an entrant to try tapping into. Such that, it would take only a greatly foresighted business mind to predict the drastic change that was to come.

Mrs Kola says “When I came to India in 2006, I saw consumer internet as a great sector. The last decade more or less has seen tremendous validation of that. We have about 100 million Indians who are doing some kind of online transaction. It’s about the next 400 million who are coming online and that’s the rising India opportunity.”

What does Vani love the most about working as part of Kalaari?

Mrs Kola loves to be around and interact with people brimming with new entrepreneurial ideas. In an interview with another entrepreneurial website Vani explains –

“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.”

As for formal recognition and rewards, Mrs Kola is and has been facilitated a number of times by the most prestigious juries. For instance, she recently won the TiE Delhi-NCR 5th Edition of Women Entrepreneurship Summit Award in 2018. She has also been awarded by NDTV the Women of Worth award for leadership excellence in business and entrepreneurship.

When not working, Vani believes in rejuvenating herself through meditation. She places immense importance on wellness. She loves her yoga time and would like to teach the same someday.

What’s more? The founder and CEO of Kalaari herself believes in a sustainable approach to life. She actually grows produce in her own garden which forms the basis of all her family needs. She is a family person herself, thoroughly enjoying the company of her husband and two children as and when free from work.
Wait there’s more…Vani has also run in important marathons and actually climbed the Mount Kilimanjaro! Need we say more?

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