Over the years, Kalaari Capital has attracted a huge number of queries on what it takes to be a successful venture capitalist (VC). As we responded to these, we realised that a VC career requires a range of skills and competencies and that it’s good to test a variety of profiles for it. However, there are no structured programmes today that provide hands-on training and exposure to venture investing. To address this gap, we launched a one-of-its-kind fellowship programme in 2016, which sought to bring together a diverse group of extremely talented individuals and help them learn more about the VC industry and the start-up ecosystem in the country.
The programme, which runs under the banner of Kstart, Kalaari’s Seed Fund, is inviting applications for the second batch starting April this year. To be a part of the next Fellowship, apply here.
With apprenticeship at the heart of our methodology, we expose our Fellows to a wide spectrum of VC work spanning sectoral research, sourcing potential investments and providing inputs to the investment process, exposure to the actual rigour of diligence and transaction closure and the on-going support for portfolio companies, as well as marketing and branding initiatives. It also provides opportunities to work closely with our senior team of investment professionals and leaders to acquire these skills and to imbibe the underlying values of respect for the entrepreneur and a commitment to fair-play.
As Vani Kola, MD at Kalaari Capital, who conceptualised the programme says, “As much as we expect our entrepreneurs to innovate, it is imperative that as VCs we do the same. If we want to create a vibrant startup ecosystem with great talent, each of us as leaders in the startup ecosystem have to contribute.”
As our inaugural batch of the Fellowship approaches a successful conclusion, our graduating fellows have several exciting avenues to explore. While some of our Fellows are exploring roles with established VC firms, others have offers from Kalaari/Kstart Portfolio companies to join them in significant operating roles.
Karteek Pulapaka, Fellow-Kstart, says, “Apprenticing with Kalaari’s ‘Founder First’ school of thought, I was able to hone soft and hard skills to lay strong foundations for a career in the Venture industry.”
Some Fellows are leaving to seek an MBA with enriched profiles and recommendations. There are also potential entrepreneurs in the mix who spend time prototyping businesses they have just launched or want to launch as they move on.
The programme is flexible by design, allowing the Fellows time and space through a quarterly project-based approach to include projects that are relevant and exciting to them personally.
Sandeep Sharma, Fellow-Kstart, opted in the third quarter to set aside 20 percent of his time to work on his start-up and is all set to launch his venture later this quarter. Anuj Mehta, Fellow-Kstart, who worked extensively on the Gaming Sector, chose to drive Let the Games Begin, an event focused on the future of mobile gaming in India, bringing together a slew of experts in the field and eventually leading sourcing efforts in the space.
Says Anuj, “The Fellowship is a window into the future of digital India. I would strongly recommend the fellowship to anyone who is willing to work in the Indian venture capital and entrepreneurial space.”
Apart from core VC work, we encourage our Fellows to lead research and events with some of the most respected leaders and influencers from the industry and develop their own personal brands. As we gear up to welcome our next batch of Fellows, we are one step closer to realising our vision of seeing the Kstart Fellowship set the benchmark for programmes that groom talent to Learn, Lead and Excelin the startup ecosystem at home and globally.
To be a part of our next Fellowship, apply here.