The Leading Venture Capitalist Challenging Sexism
The world takes note when a woman treads uncharted territories and makes it against all odds. That’s exactly how Vani Kola, Managing Director at Kalaari Capital, became a known name in the investor ‘boys club’. It’s evident that Kola, a serial entrepreneur who invests in early-stage, technology-oriented companies, is here to change the narrative. Kola is aiming to enable more women to participate in India’s digital future. Staying true to her vision, last year, she launched CXXO, an initiative that promotes and supports female founder-CEO-led startups in India. The initiative will provide unbiased access to capital and mentorship to women entrepreneurs.
Scripting one success story after the other, Kola has made many life-changing decisions to come this far. Before coming to India in 2006, she made her mark in the Silicon Valley by building two successful companies, RightWorks and Certus Software, and exited them with a billion-dollar valuation. In India, she was quick to tap potential entrepreneurs, innovating in the e-commerce landscape. Kola then started Indo-US Venture Partners with another serial entrepreneur Vinod Dham and the former head of Intel India, Kumar Shiralgi. The venture was later named Kalaari Capital in 2011. Since its inception, Kalaari has funded 90+ startups including Snapdeal, Myntra and Urban Ladder, YourStory, Dream11, Curefit, and Zivame.
Kola’s CXXO initiative aims to drive inclusive growth and will promote women-led companies in the investing startup circles. As part of the initiative, Kalaari has set aside $10 million (Rs 74 crore) to invest in startups that have women founders as key decision-makers. The founders will be provided mentorship and support from a community of women entrepreneurs. CXXO will select a cohort of 8-10 founders/CEOs each year. The cohort will be supported by successful women business leaders including Vani Kola, Ankiti Bose, CEO and Co-founder, Zilingo, Priyanka Gill, Co-Founder, Good Glamm Group, Paroma Roy Chowdhury, Chief Communications and Public Affairs Officer, Dream Sports, Lathika Pai, Country Head of Microsoft, Venture Capital and PE partnerships, and Shradha Sharma, Founder and CEO, YourStory. Kola is on a mission to empower women founders and help them build their ideas into successful enterprises. As a leading woman venture capitalist, Kola is creating an ecosystem that propels investment in women-led companies without any gender bias.
The POPxo Power Women List is an annual list that celebrates incredible Indian women from diverse domains who make power moves that have a real impact. With The POPxo Power Women List 2022, we celebrate 22 phenomenal women. To see the entire list, click here.