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Building Women Entrepreneurs

Ankita Vashistha, founder of Saha Fund, says 'soon we will have many woman role-models to talk about'

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Meet Ankita Vashistha, founder of Saha Fund - India's first VC fund supporting women-led, women employee focused or women consumer focused companies. Being a woman investor with deep knowledge of private equity, financial structuring and entrepreneurship, she understands the mindset and apprehensions of startup teams led by women immensely.

Ankita holds her MSc degree in Finance and Management from the Cranfield University and has an experience of more than 12 years in the investment field. Her vision for SAHA fund is clear as she says, "We want the best talent to walk through our doors. We aren't here to do charity."

The 30-year-old is also a member of various angel groups and associations like the India Angel Network (IAN). Along with another co-founder Usha Amin, she is closely working with Mohandas Pai and Kiran Mazumdar Shaw on the board of SAHA Fund.

So far, the first scheme of the fund amounts to $15 million out of which investments in India will have 75% of the pie; & 25% will be invested outside India.

When asked about the hottest sectors that attracting investment in India, she said, "Right now the trends across industries are leveraging digital to scale up. Fin tech, healthcare, education, media, IoT sectors are really exciting. Some amazing companies in these spaces are really going to make a huge difference to the way consumers and businesses behave and function."

The Fund which you run has done a quite a number of investments in women-led startups, such as KAARYAH, Fitternity, Stelae Technologies, Ginger Crush, Joules to Watts, Go Coop, Innerchef to name a few with an average first ticket size of 2-3 cr.

In the coming years, Ankita aims to bring about gender equality across the workplace and therefore within the society. She expressed her plans to make an impact in this space, become a catalyst in this gender quality movement.

On an optimistic note Ankita said, "I would want to share some amazing stories of the women I work with. With time we will have many role models to talk about!"

She points out some of the must-haves' on her list while she picks a team she wants to invest- Integrity, commitment, focus, leadership and team work and of course a brilliant idea!

A regular day for Ankita includes meeting new people, travelling, performing yoga and singing. She is pro about learning through listening and sharing her knowledge and experiences with others. "I love to be inspired by people from all walks of life, stories can help people immensely along their growth journey. You never know what will inspire you and really touch your life and make you reach heights you never knew."

She has one more hidden passion, 'Cooking!' "It works like therapy to me. Nothing makes me feel better. It picks me up instantly," she chuckles.

When asked about her biggest achievement Ankita Vashistha said, "All our experiences along the way are all achievements. However, launching Saha fund and being able to work with amazing women and startups is one great achievement. I also got to meet Mr. Modi personally and tell him about my story which was a great experience!"

Her message for aspiring women entrepreneurs in the country on the occasion of International Women's Day was heart-warming, "Each one of you can be an entrepreneur anytime you want. Being an entrepreneur starts from within you and your attitude, whether by being at home, within a small business, at a huge multinational corporation or at a self-funded startup. Being an entrepreneur defines and differentiates you. It's a way of being spirited in life. If you believe in yourself and what you want to do, you will get the best opportunities and support too! Surround yourself with the best and positive people."