TomorrowMakers

The current Indian startup scene is an investor’s dream. And women investors in the country are making the most of it.

Female investors
The great Indian startup story is one of the most talked-about topics in investor circles. Our nation already ranks among the top three technology startups in the world. And like almost every other field, women are quickly establishing their presence here as well. Those investing in startups and businesses are creating a new revolution with their accomplishments. If you wish to join these women investors and invest in businesses, here’s some advice – straight from the horse’s mouth.
 
Let’s take a look at how these former entrepreneurs, bankers, and mentors make their investment decisions:
 
1. Padmaja Ruparel
 
Designation: Co-founder and President, India Angel Network (IAN)
 
Portfolio: More than 130 companies in 7 countries, spanning 17 sectors
 
Padmaja Ruparel started IAN in a small office in 2006. Today, it operates in 10 countries and has over 430 angel members. On the situation of women investors in India, she feels that the concept of angel funding should be promoted throughout the country and women should be encouraged to become investors.
 
What she looks for
 
Padmaja goes by the mantra, ‘Organisations don’t make people; people make organisations’. So she looks for an exceptional team with relevant domain expertise. She feels the entrepreneur and his/her team should have a good understanding of the space they intend to operate in. Padmaja looks for startups that are either ‘disruptive’ or ‘create a new need’ with a new product. 
 
2. Vani Kola
 
Designation: Co-founder and Managing Director (MD), Kalaari Capital
 
Portfolio: Over 60 startups including Myntra, YourStory Media, Zivame, Active.ai, Urban Ladder, Curefit, and Bluestone
 
Vani’s 22 years at Silicon Valley explains why she heads one of the biggest venture capital firms in the country today. She was one of the first investors to place her trust in the e-commerce sector by investing in Myntra and Snapdeal.
 
What she looks for
 
When it comes to investing, Vani goes for startups that are aspirational. ‘I don't want to hear who you’re like; somebody else should want to become like you,’ is her refrain. Vani strongly believes that India’s startup situation has to go from being a knowledge ecosystem to being an innovative ecosystem. She encourages startups to contribute towards this change.
 
3. Nita Mirchandani
 
Designation: Founding member and Director, Kae Capital
 
Portfolio: HealthKart, Hello English; Porter; SysCloud, Parenttune, Truebil, Mapmytalent.in, Myntra, Edukart, Fractal etc.
 
Armed with Bachelor’s and Master’s degrees in Economics from London School of Economics, Nita Mirchandani has previously worked for JM Morgan Stanley and HDFC Securities, where her expertise lay in the area of equity research.
 
What she looks for
 
Nita looks for companies that identify gaps in their respective markets and then come up with innovative solutions to fill those gaps. She also notes whether she’s a company’s first investor of choice.
 
4. Lathika Pai
 
Designation: Founding member, SonderConnect
 
Portfolio: Women-led businesses across sectors like education, healthcare, fintech, environment etc.
Many investors and entrepreneurs sat up and took notice when Lathika Pai, along with seven other serial women entrepreneurs, started SonderConnect – an angel fund focused on supporting women-led businesses. SonderConnect is the India edition of Golden Seeds, a US-based angel network deemed to be one of the largest in the country.
 
What she looks for
 
Lathika says she’s disappointed at not seeing too many women investors in the great Indian startup scene. She believes that a lot of women entrepreneurs don’t have anybody to guide them and teach them the ropes of running a venture. So she and her team look for women entrepreneurs with a vision to create companies of a global scale and aim to empower them.
 
5. Presha Paragash and Shweta Singh
 
Designation: Co-founders and Managing Partners, Sol Primero
 
Portfolio: Cubito, Curofy, JustRide, Ridingo, Smart pocket, TheKarrier
 
Presha Paragash and Shweta Singh started the early-stage investment firm Sol Primero in 2014. The two women have a lot in common – they are MBA graduates from Wharton and have over five years’ experience in investment banking at UBS Investment Bank in London.
 
What they look for
 
Presha and Shweta look at partnering with entrepreneurs who are addressing large opportunities through innovation. They seek companies where they can become the lead seed investors.
 
Conclusion
 
If the Indian startup ecosystem is to reach a leading position, it has to recognise and boost the capabilities of women investors. So take a cue from these inspirational women and if you want to join the female investor bandwagon, there couldn't be a better time than right now.
 
Disclaimer: This article is intended for general information purposes only and should not be construed as investment or legal advice. You should separately obtain independent advice when making decisions in these areas.

The great Indian startup story is one of the most talked-about topics in investor circles. Our nation already ranks among the top three technology startups in the world. And like almost every other field, women are quickly establishing their presence here as well. Those investing in startups and businesses are creating a new revolution with their accomplishments. If you wish to join these women investors and invest in businesses, here’s some advice – straight from the horse’s mouth.
 
Let’s take a look at how these former entrepreneurs, bankers, and mentors make their investment decisions:
 
1. Padmaja Ruparel
 
Designation: Co-founder and President, India Angel Network (IAN)
 
Portfolio: More than 130 companies in 7 countries, spanning 17 sectors
 
Padmaja Ruparel started IAN in a small office in 2006. Today, it operates in 10 countries and has over 430 angel members. On the situation of women investors in India, she feels that the concept of angel funding should be promoted throughout the country and women should be encouraged to become investors.
 
What she looks for
 
Padmaja goes by the mantra, ‘Organisations don’t make people; people make organisations’. So she looks for an exceptional team with relevant domain expertise. She feels the entrepreneur and his/her team should have a good understanding of the space they intend to operate in. Padmaja looks for startups that are either ‘disruptive’ or ‘create a new need’ with a new product. 
 
2. Vani Kola
 
Designation: Co-founder and Managing Director (MD), Kalaari Capital
 
Portfolio: Over 60 startups including Myntra, YourStory Media, Zivame, Active.ai, Urban Ladder, Curefit, and Bluestone
 
Vani’s 22 years at Silicon Valley explains why she heads one of the biggest venture capital firms in the country today. She was one of the first investors to place her trust in the e-commerce sector by investing in Myntra and Snapdeal.
 
What she looks for
 
When it comes to investing, Vani goes for startups that are aspirational. ‘I don't want to hear who you’re like; somebody else should want to become like you,’ is her refrain. Vani strongly believes that India’s startup situation has to go from being a knowledge ecosystem to being an innovative ecosystem. She encourages startups to contribute towards this change.
 
3. Nita Mirchandani
 
Designation: Founding member and Director, Kae Capital
 
Portfolio: HealthKart, Hello English; Porter; SysCloud, Parenttune, Truebil, Mapmytalent.in, Myntra, Edukart, Fractal etc.
 
Armed with Bachelor’s and Master’s degrees in Economics from London School of Economics, Nita Mirchandani has previously worked for JM Morgan Stanley and HDFC Securities, where her expertise lay in the area of equity research.
 
What she looks for
 
Nita looks for companies that identify gaps in their respective markets and then come up with innovative solutions to fill those gaps. She also notes whether she’s a company’s first investor of choice.
 
4. Lathika Pai
 
Designation: Founding member, SonderConnect
 
Portfolio: Women-led businesses across sectors like education, healthcare, fintech, environment etc.
Many investors and entrepreneurs sat up and took notice when Lathika Pai, along with seven other serial women entrepreneurs, started SonderConnect – an angel fund focused on supporting women-led businesses. SonderConnect is the India edition of Golden Seeds, a US-based angel network deemed to be one of the largest in the country.
 
What she looks for
 
Lathika says she’s disappointed at not seeing too many women investors in the great Indian startup scene. She believes that a lot of women entrepreneurs don’t have anybody to guide them and teach them the ropes of running a venture. So she and her team look for women entrepreneurs with a vision to create companies of a global scale and aim to empower them.
 
5. Presha Paragash and Shweta Singh
 
Designation: Co-founders and Managing Partners, Sol Primero
 
Portfolio: Cubito, Curofy, JustRide, Ridingo, Smart pocket, TheKarrier
 
Presha Paragash and Shweta Singh started the early-stage investment firm Sol Primero in 2014. The two women have a lot in common – they are MBA graduates from Wharton and have over five years’ experience in investment banking at UBS Investment Bank in London.
 
What they look for
 
Presha and Shweta look at partnering with entrepreneurs who are addressing large opportunities through innovation. They seek companies where they can become the lead seed investors.
 
Conclusion
 
If the Indian startup ecosystem is to reach a leading position, it has to recognise and boost the capabilities of women investors. So take a cue from these inspirational women and if you want to join the female investor bandwagon, there couldn't be a better time than right now.
 
Disclaimer: This article is intended for general information purposes only and should not be construed as investment or legal advice. You should separately obtain independent advice when making decisions in these areas.