Kalaari Capital’s Vani Kola says pandemic will give rise to social vernacular platforms

Kalaari Capital co-founder Vani Kola. Photo: Kalaari Capital website

Serial entrepreneur and venture capitalist Vani Kola believes that the current ongoing pandemic is providing an opportunity for Indian startup community, as businesses start to focus towards the local economy.

“Local will dominate on every level. And the next few decades of growth will move more towards the local economy, which will provide opportunity for entrepreneurs,” said Vani Kola, managing director, Kalaari Capital.

Kola added that sectors like entertainment and education have completely moved online with the current pandemic and it will give rise to social vernacular platforms, which will be a big play for the country.

“With entertainment and education moving online, we can see social vernacular being a big play. Today, we haven’t thought much about vernacular and it is crucial as we see the next 300-400 million come online,” added Kola.

Kola also emphasised with work from home being the new reality, not much has been thought about security products and businesses being vulnerable to cyber-hacking.

“Entrepreneurs need to see where the tailwinds are and need to drill (go-deep) in to a sector and tackle a problem they understand and want to solve for […] one needs to think about the gig economy for instance. But the Indian ecosystem will see some great companies emerge in the next 12-24 months from the pandemic,” said Kola.

Kola was in a conversation with Deep Kalra, founder and group executive chairman, MakeMyTrip, on the second day of the Global Fintech Festival 2020 virtual event.

In her talk, she added that there are plenty of opportunities for Indian internet companies, and one such sector is deep tech where not many companies have emerged from India.

“ There is a big opportunity for India in the deep tech space and we have seen global behemoths make acquisitions in the past in this segment […] Companies which gobble funding and throw minimum profits are not worth it for a venture capitalist. Hence, these segments should be looked at. Similarly, areas of enterprise productivity and the SME space where we can build a tech platform are still areas of opportunities,” said Kola.

“At Kalaari, we anticipated 4G to come earlier and supported businesses that were building for that tailwind. However, some of those companies don’t exist anymore. Hence, it is important for entrepreneurs to do their research and see where the tailwinds are heading and tap on and build on it,” she said.

Kalra said that capital is scarce, other than areas such as health and remote e-learning, but entrepreneurs need to hunker down, take tough decisions and please slash all costs possible, especially fixed costs.

“…Entrepreneurs should be able to swap salaries with stock and that has done wonders for us at Makemytrip,” he said.

This article was first published on livemint.com

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.