‘Work at a level higher than you are expected to; only then will you succeed:’ Vinayak Burman, Managing and Founder Partner, Vertices Partners

The Proust Questionnaire is a questionnaire about one’s personality. It has its origins in a parlour game popularised by Marcel Proust, the French essayist, who believed that, in answering these questions, an individual reveals his or her true nature.

Vinayak Burman is the Managing and Founder Partner of Vertices Partners, an Indian law firm. He specialises in venture capital, private equity, and strategic acquisitions across multiple sectors. He has been regularly representing several venture capital and private equity funds, promoters and founders in relation to investments, and several companies for various rounds of capital raise at all stages. He possesses a holistic, as well as an incisive understanding of the corporate legal framework.

In 2016, he was awarded 40 under 40 Rising Star by Legal Era. He has also been awarded the prestigious 40 under 40 by Thomson Reuters Asia Law Business for the year 2018–2019 as one of the top lawyers under the age of 40 in the Asia-Pacific region.

Also, as a startup enthusiast, he regularly moderates and speaks at various forums, and being an entrepreneur, he mentors several young entrepreneurs. He is an occasional angel investor as well.

Here are his responses to our Proust questionnaire…

What is your idea of perfect happiness?

Happiness is relative. I think you need to marry realism with optimism to stay truly happy. As long as I am able to contribute to the betterment of my family, my team, and my work, I am happy.

What is your greatest fear?

Lack of motivation. I have to face my fear successfully every day.

What is the trait you most deplore in yourself?

The more I grow in my entrepreneurial journey, the more I check intolerance of any kind.

What is the trait you most deplore in others?

Dishonesty. It’s never just about the act. It shows the mindset and the character of the person.

Which living person do you most admire?

Too many to list. For me, it would be my family, my teachers, my colleagues (present and past). All have given me reasons to admire some aspects or the other about them.

What is your greatest extravagance?

My relationships. My biggest earning and my extravagance are all the relationships that I have built and nurtured over a period of time. All my clients beyond a time, become my friends. For me, the essence of a good entrepreneur is about how strong his/her relationships are and the depth of the same.

What is your current state of mind?

Ever optimistic.

What do you consider the most overrated virtue?

Hard work. It’s not a virtue but a necessity. And it needs to be married to smart work. Efficient solutions are the need of the hour.

On what occasion do you lie?

But why should I lie?

What do you most dislike about your appearance?

Nothing. I am comfortable in my own skin.

Which living person do you most despise?

My alter ego. The negative, over-critical, pessimistic Bhayanak that tries its best to stop me from dealing with failures healthily.

What is the quality you most like in a man?

Empathy does not depend on gender.

What is the quality you most like in a woman?

Same as above, empathy does not depend on gender.

Which words or phrases do you most overuse?

My favourite phrase is to encapsulate the essence of entrepreneurship is that “It’s better to be a hamster in your own treadmill, at least you have the ability to control the speed, hopefully.”

What or who is the greatest love of your life?

Family, the firm, and everything that goes with them. The two great Fs of my life.

Which talent would you most like to have?

Tolerance raised to the power of 1000.

If you could change one thing about yourself, what would it be?

Health. Definitely want to add a dose of healthy routine to my life.

What do you consider your greatest achievement?

Yet to come, so stay tuned.

If you were to die and come back as a person or a thing, what would it be?

Can we come back as an emotion? Empathy. Can’t have enough of it.

Where would you most like to live?

Undecided. Seaside or mountains.

What is your most treasured possession?

Wit. It sees me through every day.

What do you regard as the lowest depth of misery?

Being opportunistic in your day-to-day relationships.

What is your favourite occupation?

Being a lawyer, entrepreneur, and a story-teller.

What is your most marked characteristic?

My ability to punch above my weight.

What do you most value in your friends?


Who are your favourite writers?

Too many to list. So many different writers with so many different talents.

Who is your hero of fiction?

Ironman. I love his intelligence, spark, charisma, chutzpah, wit, and confidence.

Which historical figure do you most identify with?

No one in particular.

Who are your heroes in real life?

Our country’s armed forces, including the police force. They are the reason why we can do what we can, peacefully.

What is your favourite name?


What is it that you most dislike?

Nothing specific.

What is your greatest regret?

I should have started my entrepreneurial journey earlier.

How would you like to die?


What is your favourite journey?

My entrepreneurial journey.

What is your motto?

Follow the principle of archery. If you want to aim at the bulls-eye, you actually need to aim slightly above it to neutralise gravity. Similarly, in life, if you have to achieve something, work at a level higher than you are expected to, only then will you achieve it. if you do what you're expected to, then that just normal, and normal is not out of the world.

Edited by Suman Singh


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