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BW Most Influential Woman Of India: Vani Kola, Kalaari Capital

Vani is an idea lover and a trend spotter. After being a successful serial entrepreneur in the Silicon Valley, she moved back to India to get involved in the start-up ecosystem, when the entrepreneurial landscape was still in its infancy.

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As an entrepreneur in Silicon Valley for 22 years, Vani returned to India in 2006. Her initial venture into venture capital in India, in partnership with New Enterprise Associates (NEA), was IndoUS Advisors (IUVP) which in 2012 was re-branded as Kalaari Capital without the participation of NEA. Kalaari Capital began operations as a USD 150 million fund in September 2012. Under Vani’s leadership, the firm has grown to have USD 650 million assets under management as of 2017.

At Kalaari, she works with entrepreneurs to build global companies, focused on technology, leveraging India’s domestic growth to create high growth enterprises. Vani has led investments in e-commerce, mobile services, education and healthcare. Some of Kola’s notable venture capital successes include: Dream11,, Snapdeal, Myntra, VIA, Urban Ladder, Power2SME among others.

She was founder and CEO of Certus Software, a leader in the Financial Compliance Market with over 70 customers worldwide. Vani’s personal commitment to excellence and integrity influences her approach to building companies, developing products and empowering people.

Prior to establishing Certus, Vani was the founder and chief executive officer of RightWorks, a successful e-procurement company that was acquired by ICG and subsequently by i2.

Before founding RightWorks, Vani held management and engineering positions at Consilium and Control Data Corporation. She holds M.S. and B.S degrees in electrical engineering.

Vani is also on the Board of several companies and has nurtured successful startups like Dream11, Snapdeal and Urban Ladder which are redefining the landscape of Indian business. Vani received the 2015 Economic Times Midas Touch award for her record in spotting entrepreneurs and disruptive ideas that scale to become large and successful businesses.

She has won TiE Delhi-NCR 5th Edition of Women Entrepreneurship Summit Award on 20 July 2018, in Delhi. As part of the first ever startup awards launched by Economic Times, Vani was awarded the Midas touch award for best investor in 2015. She also won the NDTV Women of Worth award for leadership excellence in business and entrepreneurship.

Vani meditates daily and spends time with her husband and two daughters. She was an avid hiker and runner who has tackled marathons and climbed Mount Kilimanjaro. She practices yoga devotedly and aspires to teach it one day.

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