Vani Kola is a popular Indian Venture Capitalist and an entrepreneur. She is the founder and CEO of Kalaari Capital, a venture capital firm based in Bangalore, India. Vani has been a successful entrepreneur in the past in Silicon Valley, USA.
She firmly believes in helping entrepreneurs flourish and start their own businesses.
She is also involved in mentoring budding entrepreneurs and mainly focuses on technology companies in India. Kola’s firm, Kalaari Capital has funded over 50 companies in the E-commerce, Mobile Services and Healthcare service in India. She raised about $650 million and holds stakes in more than 60 start-ups, including Flipkart Online Services Pvt. and Jasper Infotech Pvt’s Snapdeal. Some of her major investments include Myntra, VIA, Apps Daily, Zivame, Power2SME, Bluestone and Urban Ladder. She is also a great speaker who has delivered motivational speeches at entrepreneurial forums like TED Talks, TIE and INK.
She was also listed as one of the most powerful women in Indian Business Fortune India in 2018 and 2019. Vani was awarded the Midas touch award for the best investor in 2015. She was also recognised as one of the Most Powerful Women in Indian by Forbes in 2014 along with Linkedin’s Top Voices in 2016.
Vani Kola was born in Hyderabad and completed her graduation with a degree in Electrical Engineering from Osmania University. In the late 1980s, she moved to the USA and completed a Master’s Degree from Arizona State University.
After this she began working in the technology sector with renowned companies such as Empros, Control Data Corporation and Consilium Inc.After working as an employee for nearly 12 years, Vani went on to establish her first business venture- RightWorks in 1996. RightWorks was an e-procurement company.
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After completing 4 years as the founder of RightWorks, Vani sold 53% share of the company for $657 million including both cash and stock to the Internet Capital Group. Eventually, she sold the company to 12 technologies for $86 million in 2001.
She went on to discover another side to herself and founded NthOrbit, a company dealing with supply-chain software developing in San Jose. Under this company, a software called Certus was also launched. In 2005, PepsiCo purchased Certus internal controls and assurance software.
After this was done, Vani was ready to take onto a new adventure- moving back to India after 22 years in the USA to work with young entrepreneurs. Returning to India in 2006 gave her some time to explore and understand what the future had in store for her. Her journey as a venture capitalist began in 2006 after she spent one-month researching, travelling and meeting people to understand the Indian Market when it came to Investing.
After much research, she collaborated with Silicon Valley-based entrepreneur Vinod Dham and Kuar Shiralagi, the former chief of Intel Capital India. They launched a $189 million in fund backed by New Enterprise Associates (NEA). This venture was named NEA Indo-US Venture Partners. After successful functioning for 4 years, NEA decided to move out of this joint venture and enter the Indian market directly.
In 2011, Kola along with Shiralagi rebranded the firm and named it as Kalaari capital. After parting with Dham, she raised another $440 million, which made Kalaari capital as the second-largest firm in India by assets and the biggest run by a woman. Out of the firm’s 84 investments, Kola managed to sell 21 start-ups. Kalaari capital was invested in focusing on early-stage technology-oriented start-ups in India. It was derived from Kalaripyattu, a form of martial arts with origins in Kerala. Both Kola and her business partner felt this name justified their vision with regards to their venture.
Mentioned in the table below is the top 5 funding by Kalaari Capital as of September 2020.
|Organisation Name||Total Funding Amount|
Vani Kola’s dream and vision is one of the greatest inspirations for women entrepreneurs. She is fondly also known as the Mother of Venture Capital Investing in India.
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