scorecardExclusive: Know Vani Kola, one of India's best known investors, like never before
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Exclusive: Know Vani Kola, one of India's best known investors, like never before

Exclusive: Know Vani Kola, one of India's best known investors, like never before
IndiaSmallbusiness3 min read
Vani Kola, Founder, and MD, Kalaari Capital has always been drawn to something new, creative, and challenging, something that engages her intellectual curiosity. She reflects back on her days in the Silicon Valley where the exposure to new ideas was tremendous and the energy to create the impact. "Entrepreneurship is a personal journey which requires tremendous self-discipline. Seeing people navigate through difficult situations to grow and rise to their destiny is what drives me to do what I do,” says the effervescent globe-trotter with a smile.

As an investor, she finds it exhilarating and fulfilling to help entrepreneurs. Her career is testimony to the fact that she is always up for a challenge - whether it was being an engineer when women were not engineers, working with startups or working with individual founders to help them succeed.

“The fundamental question is why can’t it be me who solves the problem?,” Kola asks of herself and budding entrepreneurs.

To push the frontier, to go with the flow has always been her mantra. For Kola, life has been about building blocks and not scripting her entire life.
Embracing Conventional Rules

Born in Hyderabad, Kola said that she is glad that she was conditioned into vernacular learning by her parents and teachers and still credits that as the foundation of her success.

Starting out in a conventional school, she believes that her values were set right by her parents. “Like any other middle-class child, I traveled the world in my mind with my books. The first time I got on a plane was when I went to the US to do my Masters with my spouse by my side,” recalls Kola who moved to the US in 1985 and only looked back twenty years later.
Silicon Valley and its Exposure

When she went to Silicon Valley to work, she started understanding new businesses like never before, something that she had never been exposed to back in India.

“The cliché is true; Silicon Valley is a vibrant place full of ideas and possibilities. When I started my own company, I was willing to accept failure,” says Kola who founded Right Works Corp., a business that helped businesses set up software systems. She went on to sign customers like General Electric and Pepsi and sold the control of the business for $657 million in cash and stock in 2005.
After a decade of running her own company, her homecoming happened in 2006 and she sees it as a fulfilling journey where it is the land of possibilities full of aspirations instead of it being a country of predictability that she had left behind.

Calling her parents hands-off, she always got support for her actions. Even after getting married, she never felt her wings were getting clipped by her partner or the family with two girls that she has created. Kola feels that she has been blessed with a family that is proud of her and encourages her to fulfill her dreams and she does the same for them, and as an extension even with the entrepreneurs, she supports.