Meet the women leaders who broke the glass ceiling in Asian PE/VC world

Women are taking a big leap in the private equity/venture capital sector with some branching out to set up their own funds while many holding senior leadership positions with prominent firms. These women are breaking stereotypes and proving to be role models in a traditionally male-dominated industry.


DEALSTREETASIA has compiled a comprehensive region-wise list of women who have made a mark in the clubby world of private equity and venture capital. Take a look:


Grace Sai: Impact Hub Singapore


Image Source: Impact Hub Singapore

Grace Sai is the CEO and Co-Founder of The Hub Singapore, which claims to be “Singapore’s largest co-working community of entrepreneurs, creatives and techies.” She is a Malaysian expatriate with an MBA from Oxford based in Singapore and recognised as an authority and commentator on venture capital and corporate venturing within Southeast Asia. She was invited as a speaker and consultant by the Prime Minister’s Offices in Singapore and Malaysia, and sits on the Advisory Board for Ben & Jerry’s Singapore, while serving as a Social entrepreneur-in-residence at INSEAD and a TEDx Singapore speaker. She has been a guest lecturer, delivering courses on entrepreneurship in universities, MBA classes and spoken at international conferences (e.g. Cities Summit in Tel Aviv, Social Innovation Conference in Moscow, US State Department in Islamabad, Future Enterprise Forum in Seoul, EMERGE in Oxford and RMIT in Melbourne).

Shirley Crystal Chua: Golden Equator Capital


With insight and experience across the financial sphere, Shirley Crystal Chua has founded multiple businesses, including the Golden Equator group and the Asia Finance portal. She’s also a member on the board of Waach, an  online video distribution platform. Her substantial experience of over a decade in the asset management, wealth  management and venture capital spheres sees her guide international businesses on global trends, strategic  directions, and ways to bridge business gaps. Prior to establishing Golden Equator, she worked as a director with  Citibank Singapore for over eight years, where she handled high net-worth clients from Asia and Europe as well as  mentoring new bankers and supervising a team of experienced relationship managers. There she was involved  with execution of a wide spectrum of products on a daily basis, including FX, DCD, brokerage, Bonds, MF, ELN,  Structured products and leveraged facilities.

Carmen Yuen: Vertex Ventures

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Carmen Yuen is a senior executive director with Vertex Ventures. She joined Vertex in 2014, and her focus is in Singapore and Southeast Asia. Yuen has served many years in Singapore’s government-backed venture capital initiatives including EDB Investments and Spring SEEDS Capital where she worked closely with many start-up companies in Singapore. Prior to joining Vertex, she was with Majuven, a Singapore angel fund. Carmen currently serves on the Board of TickledMedia (dba Carmen received her BBA from Simon Fraser University.


Vani Kola: Kalaari Capital

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Vani Kola is the Founder and Managing Director of Kalaari Capital, an Indian early stage venture capital firm. She was listed as one of the most powerful women in Indian Business by Fortune India. Prior to becoming an investor, Kola was the founder and CEO of Certus Software, a financial services company. She was also the founder and chief executive officer of RightWorks, an e-procurement company that was acquired by ICG and subsequently by i2 Technologies.

The poster girl for women investors in India, Kola returned to India in 2006 when she started her venture capital firm IndoUS Advisors in partnership with New Enterprise Associates, which was re-branded as Kalaari Capital without the participation of NEA in 2012. Under Vani’s leadership, the firm has grown to have $650 million assets under management today, with a strong portfolio including Snapdeal, Myntra, VIA, Apps Daily, Urban Ladder, Zivame, Rubique, Power2SME and Bluestone.

Bharati Jacob: Seed Fund

Bharati Jacob

Bharati Jacob co-founded early-stage investment firm Seedfund in 2006 along with Pravin Gandhi and Mahesh Murthy, which has over $70 million under management. She has over 27 years of experience in venture investing, marketing and financial services with Seedfund, Infinity Ventures and Lazard India. She began her investing career with Infinity Venture fund in 2000 as part of the startup team, and was an Investing Principal at the firm. Prior to Infinity, Jacob served as Head of the Investment Bank Lazard in South India and established Lazard offices in Chennai and Bangalore. Bharati has been the lead partner in diverse investments such as include Redbus, which was sold to Nasper, South Africa,  Edusports, Vaatsalya, Jeeves Consumer services, Sportskeeda and Axisrooms among others.

Padmaja Ruparel: Indian Angel Network

President of the Asia’s largest and India’s first angel network Indian Angel Network, Padmaja Ruparel is a prominent angel investor that was instrumental in building the angel network. She has played a key role in building a network, which now has around 400 member investors on board, with investments in various overseas companies and has also established an office in the UK. It has investors from 10 countries, with an investment portfolio of over 100 companies, spanning 17 sectors across seven countries. She set up and operationalised the TiE Delhi chapter. As Executive Director of the Indian Venture Capital Association, India’s oldest and largest association of VC and PE firms, she has also helped in bringing together the PE/VC communication. In addition she helped the creation of Lankan Angel Network in Sri Lanka

Ankita Vashishtha: Saha Fund 

Ankita Vashistha, CEO and founder of Saha Fund, poked the boundaries of comfortable investing when she formed a women-centric investment fund. Vashistha also serves as a Managing Partner at Tholons Capital, where she previously served as a Principal. Saha Fund, which was launched in October 2015, is India’s first venture capital fund approved by the Securities and Exchange Board of India focused on women entrepreneurs, but not necessarily those businesses only run by women. With a $15 million fund, Saha has invested in over six startups including Inner Chef, Fitternity, GoCoop, among others.

Shanti Mohan: LetsVenture

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Shanti Mohan is the Co-founder and CEO of LetsVenture, a platform that enables startups looking to raise money to create investment ready profiles online, and connect to accredited Investors. A seasoned entrepreneur and angel investor, Mohan’s notable investments include Aureus Analytics, Tripoto and Online RTI. Having launched her first start-up in the late 1990s, Mohan’s challenges of raising funds for her startup led her to launch LetsVenture In 2013. Since then, she along with co-founder Sanjay Jha, have garnered the backing of investors like Accel Partners, IDG Ventures, Singapore Angel Network apart from prominent angels like Mohandas Pai, Rajan Anandan, Kunal Bahl, Anupam Mittal, Nandan Nilekani, among others.

Renuka Ramnath: Multiples PE

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The former MD & CEO of ICICI Venture, Renuka Ramnath went on to build one of the most prominent domestic private equity firms in the country. After spending a decade in ICICI Ventures as the CEO, Ramnath turned an entrepreneur to set-up Multiples in 2009, which has now grown into a $1 billion Independent private equity fund that has backed 17 Indian and global institutions. Its investors include pension funds from Canada, Netherlands, and sovereign funds from the Middle East, development finance institutions, Indian banks, and other institutional investors. As one of the early private equity investors in India, Ramnath has been instrumental in shaping the market both in terms of leading pioneering investments such as buy-outs as well as opening new pockets of capital for investment in Indian private equity. Her name has been featured in many prestigious listings as one of the most prominent and powerful business women in the country.

Shivani Bhasin Sachdeva: India Alternatives

Image Source: LinkedIn Profile

Shivani Bhasin Sachdeva is the Founder, Managing Director and Chief Executive Officer at India Alternatives. She has over 15 years of private equity experience having worked in private equity funds including IDFC Private Equity, Lightyear Capital and GE Equity where she has been responsible for deal sourcing, execution and monitoring companies across various sectors. Bhasin has helped shape strategy at various companies through board level involvement and been instrumental in generating superior returns for her investors. Bhasin steered India Alternatives into a strategic partnership with IIFL Wealth Management Limited, where the wealth management firms acquired majority stake in the PE firm.

Archana Hingorani: IL&FS

Archana Hingorani is the CEO & Executive Director of IL&FS Investment Managers Limited. She has done Ph.D. from University of Pittsburgh – Joseph M. Katz Graduate School of Business. Hingorani has almost three decades of experience in the financial services business with a focus on private equity. A founding member of the IL&FA PE business, she has overseen over 150 investments with an aggregate capitalization value in excess of $15 billion. In her role as chief executive officer, she leads an investment team of around 75 professionals managing $3.2 billion

Ritu Kumar: CDC Group

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Ritu Kumar is Director of Environmental and Social Responsibility at CDC Group plc. She holds an Msc degree in International Economics from London School of Economics and Political Science. Kumar, a London-based economist, has built up extensive experience in value creation, research, capacity building, and management of environmental and social issues. She is a Board member of the Global Climate Partnership Fund and has advised a number of companies on their sustainability strategies. Having joined CDC in 2013, she worked with private equity firm, Actis, as director and senior advisor.

Bala Deshpande: NEA

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Bala Deshpande is the Senior Managing Director of the venture capital firm, New Enterprise Associates since 2008. She is a post-graduate in Economics from the University of Mumbai, and a master’s degree in Management Studies holder from the Jamnalal Bajaj Institute of Management Studies. A former executive at ICICI Venture, Bala has a wide experience in private equity. Under her leadership, NEA has invested in several companies like Air Works, FSS, InTarvo, Intellisys, Naaptol, Nova, Trishe and Vishwa. Her private equity experience has seen the full cycle from nurturing young companies to executing multiple exits including IPO’s, buy-backs, strategic sales, and capital market divestments. Deshpande is passionate about social development and inclusion.

Anuradha Ramachandran: Omidyar

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An MBA in finance and a BS in physics from Madurai Kamaraj University, Anuradha Ramachandran serves as a Director of Investments at Omidyar Network. Having an experience in early-stage venture capital, Ramachandran leads investments in financial inclusion at Omidyar. Before this, she worked with Ventureast where she made many successful investments across sectors spanning clean tech, enterprise software, IT services, financial inclusion, supply chain, and group buying. Ramachandran started her career as a principal correspondent on the corporate reporting and equity analysis team for The Financial Express.

Archana Priyadarshani: Unicorn India

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Archana Priyadarshani is Venture Partner at Unicorn India Ventures. She is a chemical engineering graduate from IIT Kanpur. At Unicorn India Venture, Priyadarshani heads its Bangalore operations and is engaged with portfolio entrepreneurs for performance monitoring, capital raising, and strategic decision making. She has one-and-a-half years of experience in the IT industry. After her corporate stint, Priyadarshani started Bootcamp Fitness Studio (Bangalore based chain of gyms), which ran successfully for a couple of years before an exit. Archana became an active angel investor afterward and had invested in various sectors.

Varsha Tagare: Qualcomm Ventures

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Varsha Tagare is a senior director with Qualcomm Ventures. Tagare, who has 20 years of operating (microprocessor design, technical marketing and eco-system development) and venture capital experience in Silicon Valley and India, looks into investments in India for Qualcomm. Prior to Qualcomm, she was associated with Intel Capital investing in United States and Indian companies. She has multiple patents in chip design processes. Tagare headed the out of order design cluster on the Pentium II chip through design and production. She led technical marketing and market development for the Pentium III chip. She currently manages investments in AppsDaily, Apalya, Birds Eye Systems, and Kirusa.

Rema Subramanian: Ankur Capital

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Rema Subramanian cofounded Ankur with a vision to use her multi decade CXO and entrepreneurial experience to bring the tools to young startups to become game changers. She has worked across education and IT/ITES taking young companies from scratch to midsize ventures. She is a cost accountant from ICFAI and when she has spare time she likes to travel and try her hand at growing plants. Subramanian looks to invest in agriculture, education, and fintech sectors. Currently, she has seven companies in her portfolio.

Vishakha Mulye: ICICI Ventures

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Mulye assumed leadership of ICICI Venture Funds Management Company as its Managing Director & CEO in 2009. She is also an Executive Director of ICICI Bank. Mulye, a qualified Chartered Accountant, and carries vast experience in the areas of strategy, treasury & markets, proprietary equity investing and management of long-term equity investments, structured finance, management of special assets and corporate & project finance. Under her leadership as CFO, ICICI raised close to $7 billion in equity capital and several billion dollars of debt financing. She is presently the head of Wholesale Banking Group. Mulye joined the ICICI Group in 1993 and headed the team that planned and executed the merger of ICICI and ICICI Bank in 2002


Truong Dieu Le: Mekong Capital

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Truong Dieu Le was appointed as Partner of Ho Chi Minh City-based private equity fund manager Mekong Capital last year. Her role in the firm is to oversee all activities of the operations team, including finance and accounting, human resources, investor relations, IT and administration. Joining Mekong Capital in 2003, Le was involved in appraising, implementing and managing some investee companies of the Mekong Enterprise Fund before being appointed as the head of operations. She is a member of Mekong Capital’s management committee. Before her stint at Mekong Capital, Le worked as assistant to the general director of Huy Hoang Garment and Construction JSC. Prior to that, she worked in the tax consulting practice of KPMG in Ho Chi Minh City, after serving as assistant to the vice president of the Venetian Blind Company in Montclair, California, where she was involved in inventory management and costing.

Shuyin Tang: Unitus Impact

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Shuyin Tang leads Unitus Impact’s investing activities for Vietnam and the Philippines. She has experience spanning strategy consulting (Bain & Company), development consulting (TechnoServe) and impact investing (Unitus Impact, LGT Venture Philanthropy), across Australia, India and Southeast Asia. At LGT Venture Philanthropy, Tang led its investment activities in the Mekong region and was also Head of its accelerator programme across Asia. She has also worked in US Congress and the Australian public service, as well as at The Lowy Institute for International Policy and UNICEF. Shuyin was named one of Australia’s “100 Women of Influence” by the Australian Financial Review in 2015 and an Asia 21 Young Leader by the Asia Society in 2016.


Josephine Price: Anthem Asia

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Josephine Price is the Managing Director and Co-Founder of Anthem Asia. She has spent more than three decades working in the investment industry in Asia with a career spanning law, corporate finance and private equity before co-founding Anthem Asia. Price co-founded the private equity business of CLSA, an Asian investment banking group, now part of Crédit Agricole. She led its pan-Asian private equity mid-market platform for 13 years. Price previously worked with Nat West Markets in corporate finance. Her sectoral experience includes fast-moving consumer goods, food & beverage, services and light industry. Price trained and practiced as a lawyer, and is a member of the Law Society of England & Wales and of Hong Kong.


Dzuleira Abu Bakar: Cradle Seed Ventures

Image Source: LinkedIn Profile

Bakar brings with her over 12 years of experience and expertise in venture capital and private equity investment, corporate finance, legal, deal structuring and stakeholder management. Prior to joining Cradle Seed Ventures, she was the vice president of Investment at the Malaysia Venture Capital Management Bhd where she was responsible in identifying and investing in high growth tech and digital companies as well as managed the strategic partnerships, corporate relations and stakeholder management. Dzuleira also played an important role in her previous companies such as Usaha Tegas Management where she oversaw the Group’s fund of funds and private equity business, Maybank Investment Bank in the Equity Capital Market’s department as well as in Khazanah Nasional, where she was part of the pioneering team that helped shape the KNB Foundation and Yayasan Hasanah.

Rachel Lau: RHL Ventures

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Rachel Lau is one of the three millennial co-founders of RHL Ventures. As the Vice President with Heitman Investment Management, a $35 billion investment manager headquartered in Chicago, her role is focused on portfolio management, fundamental company research and macroeconomic analysis of Asia Pacific economies. Prior to joining Heitman, Lau was an investment analyst with Dutch investment manager, NN Investment Management, where she worked in the Asian Equities team in Hong Kong, Emerging Market Debt team in Atlanta and Multi Assets Strategies in New York. At RHL Ventures, she played a key role in the Perx Technologies and Sidestep deals. Lau serves on the Leadership Team of the Hong Kong chapter of Ellevate (formerly 85 Broads), a 34,000-member global network of professional women; and sits on the Program Committee of EMpower, a not-for-profit organization that supports at at risks youths in developing countries.


Stella Xi: Keytone Ventures

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Stella Xi Jin is the Founding Partner at Keytone Ventures, with over 10 years of investment experience in technology space including semiconductor, systems, software, internet, mobile/wireless, meida/advertisements, and clean tech. Prior to establishing Keytone in 2008, Jin was partner at IDG-Accel China Growth Fund. She holds an MA degree in Economics from University of California, Davis

Ruby Lu: H Capital

Image Source: LinkedIn Profile

Ruby Lu, was co-founder and general partner at DCM China. Last year, she joined H Capital, a China-focused venture capital firm founded by Xiaohong Chen, Tiger Global Management LLC‘s former China managing partner. Lu started DCM Ventures’ China operations and debuted on the 2012 FORBES Midas list for leading DCM’s investment in VanceInfo, which went public in 2007. Prior to DCM, Ruby was a Vice President in the Technology, Media and Telecom Investment Banking Group of Goldman Sachs. According to information on the DCM website, Lu had raised over $30 billion in financing for technology and telecom companies. She also serves as independent director of Chinese health check up clinic chain Aikang and and mobile gaming firm DreamSky.

Kathy Xu: Capital Today

Kathy Xu is the Founder and Managing Partner of the Capital Today Group that provides growth capital to small and medium-sized Chinese companies. Xu has over 12 years experience in venture capital and private equity in China and has led multiple successful investments, including companies such as,, Kungfu Fast Food, Great Wall Auto, Noah Education, and Comba Telecom System. She was selected one of “The Most Influential People in Asia – Stars of Asia” by Business Week in 2004, and “The Most Influential Venture Capitalist” in China by Capital Magazine in 2005. In 2006, Xu was awarded one of the “Top 10 Venture Capitalists” by Forbes. She is currently serving as a governor of the China Venture Capital Association (CVCA), where she is leading the Public Policy Action Committee. Xu has previously worked for Baring Private Equity Partners, PricewaterhouseCoopers and Bank of China.


Veronica Lukito

Veronica Lukito started her career in investment banking as an Assistant Vice President at Bahana Securities. She also spent three years as a Corporate and Credit Banker at Citibank N.A., handling top-tier Indonesian conglomerate relationships. Lukito co-founded Ancora Capital Management (Asia) in 2007 and served as its CEO and MD. She was involved in setting up various investee companies for Ancora Capital Management’s investments in plantation, health care and education. She also served as a Vice President in the investment banking division at JPMorgan Chase & Co., where she handled client relationships and sourced and executed numerous transactions encompassing financing, acquisitions and corporate restructuring deals. In 2015, Lukito moved on to adopt a family office model where she represent several families for their investments. Lukito earned a B.S. in Business Administration from the Haas School of Business at the University of California, Berkeley. She also completed the Advanced Management Program at Harvard Business School.

Geraldine Oetama: Skystar Capital

Geraldine Oetama is the founding partner of Skystar Capital, which in technology startups in the Asia Pacific region, particularly Indonesia, at their early and growth stages. She co-founded the firm in March 2014 and has invested in several tech companies since then. Oetama holds a BA in Media and Communications from Loyola Marymount University (LMU). She also holds an MA in Marketing with a focus on Digital Media and Marketing from the University Of Southern California (USC). Geraldine’s passion for tech started when she experienced firsthand how the Internet was disrupting traditional business models specifically in the media, retail and education industry. This drove her to create a program to help up and coming founders to take advantage of this major shift.


Minette B. Navarrete: Kickstart Ventures


Minette B. Navarrete is the president at Kickstart Ventures, which she started in 2012 as head of Globe Telecom’s Business Development team. As Globe’s wholly-owned corporate venture capital subsidiary, Kickstart funds early-stage digital startups, providing capital, mentoring, and market access. Its portfolio companies have attracted funding from known tech investors like Y-Combinator and 500 Startups from Silicon Valley; Omidyar Network of New York; IMJ Investment Partners of Japan; and Wavemaker Labs of Singapore. She is a member of the Innovation Advisory Council of diversified conglomerate and Globe’s parent firm Ayala Corp. She is also a member of Globe’s Innovation Advisory Board, and is concurrently vice-chairman of Yondu, Globe’s technology solutions company. Before joining Globe, she was Managing Director of online game publishing startup Level Up. She previously served as Levi Strauss & Company’s Country Manager for Philippines and Guam; and President & CEO of Shangri-La Plaza Corporation. She cut her teeth in global giants, Unilever and L’Oréal. Minette holds a Bachelor of Science Degree, Major in Management Engineering, from the Ateneo de Manila University.

Singapore Reporter/s

In Singapore, we are looking to double our reporting team by this year-end to comprehensively cover the fast-moving world of funded startups and VC, PE & M&A deals. We want reporters who can tell our readers what is really happening in these sectors and why it matters to markets, companies and consumers. The ability to write precisely and urgently is crucial for these roles. Ideal candidates must have to ability to work in a collaborative, dynamic, and fast-changing environment. We want our new hires to be digitally savvy and ready to experiment with new forms of storytelling. Most importantly, we are looking for hard-hitting reporters who work well in a team. Collaboration and collegiality are a must.

Following vacancies can be applied for (only in Singapore).

Following vacancies can be applied for (only in Singapore).   

  • A reporter to track companies/startups that have raised private capital, and have the potential to become unicorns. SEA currently has over 40 companies with a valuation of over $100 million and under $1 billion.
  • A reporter who can get behind the scenes and reveal how funding rounds are put together, or why they’ve failed to materialise. She/he in this role will largely focus on long-format stories. 
  • A journalist to track special situations funds, distressed debt and private credit (from the PE angle) across Asia.

Singapore Reporter/s

In Singapore, we are looking to double our reporting team by this year-end to comprehensively cover the fast-moving world of funded startups and VC, PE & M&A deals. We want reporters who can tell our readers what is really happening in these sectors and why it matters to markets, companies and consumers. The ability to write precisely and urgently is crucial for these roles. Ideal candidates must have to ability to work in a collaborative, dynamic, and fast-changing environment. We want our new hires to be digitally savvy and ready to experiment with new forms of storytelling. Most importantly, we are looking for hard-hitting reporters who work well in a team. Collaboration and collegiality are a must.

Following vacancies can be applied for (only in Singapore).

Following vacancies can be applied for (only in Singapore).   

  • A reporter to track companies/startups that have raised private capital, and have the potential to become unicorns. SEA currently has over 40 companies with a valuation of over $100 million and under $1 billion.
  • A reporter who can get behind the scenes and reveal how funding rounds are put together, or why they’ve failed to materialise. She/he in this role will largely focus on long-format stories. 
  • A journalist to track special situations funds, distressed debt and private credit (from the PE angle) across Asia.