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8 Women Investors In India Making This Space More Equitable

These women investors are figuring out exactly what they want, breaking stereotypes and being their best selves in the midst!

While there is a generalised view of investors being men in suits, and it is true that the investing space holds too few women still, there is hope! In Indian market, women are emerging as investors in all capacities and at all scales, whether as part of large VC firms, boutique investment firms, private equity ventures or as angel investors.

Being an investor is certainly not a man’s domain alone. Several women investors have inspired people to opt for this emerging career. These women break the glass ceiling and defy stereotypes as they rise above the bar.

While the venture capitalist and investment industry on the whole are becoming more cognisant of funding more women entrepreneurs and closing the gender gap, when it comes to startups, true equality is still a distant dream. So, the rise of women investors should certainly bring more hope to women entrepreneurs looking for funding.

It is undebatable that there is a need for women investors across India. These 8 investors are among the growing number, who show us that it is entirely possible.

Padmaja Ruparel

Padmaja Ruparel is the Co-Founder and President of the Indian Angel Network (IAN). Due to her business background, Ruparel transformed IAN into a unique global institution in the last ten years. IAN has invested in businesses across ten countries with over 450 investors. 

Ruparel has gone from starting her real estate business in her 20s to becoming a homemaker and then finally becoming one of the most influential women in the country. 

Lavanya Ashok

As an undergraduate at Wharton University, Lavanya Ashok was inclined toward finance. So, after graduating, she started interning at Goldman Sachs on Wall Street. Soon, she tried her hand at a hedge fund. 

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Lavanya worked at Goldman Sachs for ten years after finishing her MBA in 2010. Ashok joined Trifecta Capital as a growth manager for their equity fund. She has prior lifestyle investing experience in firms like Pepperfry, Azure and Cytecare. 

Bala Deshpande

In 2008, Bala Deshpande joined New Enterprise Associates (NEA) as a Senior Managing Director- based in the Mumbai office. Under Deshpande’s leadership, NEA has invested in several companies, namely Air Works, FSS, InTarvo, Intellisys, Naaptol, Nova, Trishe and Vishwa. 

Deshpande has over 15 years of experience in investing. Her private equity experience resulted in a cycle from nurturing new companies to executing multiple exits, including IPO buybacks, capital market divestments and strategic sales. Currently, she heads the India operation of NEA.

Sakshi Chopra

Sakshi Chopra is a Managing Director at Sequoia Capital. Her vision and desire to take on new projects have helped her make a footing at Sequoia. 

Before working at Sequoia, Chopra worked at Deutsche Bank, a Germany-based company, before she returned to her roots in India. 

Chopra joined Sequoia in 2010 as a principal, and now, as an MD, she recently started a unique programme across India and South-East Asia. In her programme, she selected 15 women founders and gave each one a $100,000 no-strings-attached grant with a year-long mentorship and networking exercise. 

Bharati Jacob

Bharati Jacob is the Co-Founder and the Managing Director of Seedfund Advisors. With over 24 years of experience in venture investing, marketing and financial services, Jacob comes with a diverse outlook. 

Jacob is an expert in her field, and she has been working since 2000 across three funds. She backs the early-stage companies’ pan sector ideas, which generate profit and add value to the market.

Ankita Vasisth and Usha Amin

Ankita Vaisth and Usha Amin came together with one mind- to support women entrepreneurs. With one mission in their minds, Vasisth and Amin Co-Founded SAHA Fund. SAHA Fund is one of a kind as it only caters to female entrepreneurs. 

Moreover, half of the employees of SAHA Fund are women working on products and services for women. 

SAHA invests in e-commerce, social media, mobile, cloud computing, data analytics, education, healthcare, food-tech and tech platforms. Lastly, their initiative of going digital has helped elevate the digital sector in India. 

Kanika Mayar

In 2020, Kanika Mayar joined Vertex Ventures as a partner. With over nine years of experience, Mayar came with expertise in private equity, asset management and investment banking. 

Currently, Mayar is associated with three companies, namely Bendable Technology Solutions Pvt Ltd, Pn IVF Access Pvt Ltd and Pn IVF Trading Pvt Ltd. Previously, Mayar worked at International Finance Corporation (IFC) and Goldman Sachs. 

In conclusion, it is extremely important to appreciate these women for the risks they took in their lives. Their risks have inspired more women to opt for careers in investing.

While some left their corporate careers, some changed countries to make a mark as investors. So, here’s to them for inspiring several women to opt for a career in investing.

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I am a journalism student with a penchant for writing about women and social issues. I am an intersectional feminist and an aspiring journalist. I identify as she/her. read more...

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