What’s it likely to be a woman in the investment banking industry?
Studies and reports paint a mixed picture for women in the industry. The banking & finance sector is probably one of the most well-known industries that are widely seen as a fierce place for women to ascend to the top.
However, some women leaders’ journeys have voiced that with motivation and self-confidence, any roadblocks that prevent them from achieving their career’s heights, can be removed.
This mission is not new for Entrepreneur and Venture Advisor, Vandana Tolani. Not only does she bring 22 years of investment banking experience, but she has also been heavily involved in creating India’s one of the finest boutique investment banks, Convanto. Donning multiple leadership hats, Vandana also chairs as a Venture Advisor with Loyal VC, the INSEAD-led Canadian VC Fund, having a core portfolio of over 160 investments in more than 35 countries and has partnered with a Silicon Valley-based Venture builder. Adding more stars to her professional portfolio, she has arranged Funding for startups & growth-stage companies across diverse sectors like EdTech, FinTech, Consumer B2C & B2B, AgriTech, Health-tech, Food- tech, Disruptive & DeepTech as well as non-tech sectors.
- Vandana has been awarded as one of the Top 10 Women Leaders in Wealth Management 2021
- She has also been recognized as Women Entrepreneur of the Year 2021
- Convanto has been recognized among the list of Top 10 Women Entrepreneur Brands
- A regular opinionist, Vandana’s expert opinions are often featured by leading business news channels and publications like VCTV, and Business World and she has been invited to participate in more than 160+ talks across the globe
- Enjoying a vast network of 300+ investors globally, Vandana has a great eye and expertise for picking up global deals while being sector agnostic
- The ticket size of Convanto stands at $1-$50 million
Post her graduation in Commerce, from the University of Mumbai, Vandana joined her family office in Singapore and Jakarta. There, she worked as an Investment Banker & Advisor to Family Offices and Angel investors in Jakarta, Indonesia, Where she would help start-ups from a diverse background, from Fin-Tech & B2B Tech, all the way to consumer startups for raising funds & providing them with a range of services just as her venture, Convanto does today. After spending 15 years in Singapore and Jakarta, Vandana flew back to India and established Convanto, 7 years back, in Gurgaon, Haryana to help small, medium and large enterprises to raise capital, find their product-market fit and implement a successful go-to-market and branding strategy.
Convanto is a portmanteau of the words “Consultant Vandana Tolani”.
To gain more insights on her entrepreneurial journey, we talked with Vandana, who shared her strong opinion on promoting women entrepreneurship and her plans. Here are the edited excerpts.
What is Convanto? What are you focusing on with your venture?
Convanto is a boutique investment bank firm with a range of services aimed at enabling young start-ups – providing them with services such as Fund Raising, Marketing & Growth Advisory, GTM Strategic Advisory, and other value-added services such as building Investor Presentations and Financial Models.
We at Convanto advise small, medium, and large enterprises on raising capital, finding their product-market fit, and implementing a successful go-to-market strategy, branding strategy and brand positioning. Unlike traditional consulting firms, we have proven our operational expertise in bringing money, creating value, and driving growth to help you maximize your results.
Plunging into the entrepreneurial world
Being an entrepreneur allows me to take a calculated risk on a passion. Entrepreneurship constantly presents new challenges. As I overcome the adversity in my business, it leads to personal growth as well. I love owning my own business because I feel there is always something that I can do to improve. Being an entrepreneur is awesome for a lot of reasons, but I think the most important and overlooked reason is that it forces a person to develop parts of their personality that make them better-rounded and a better person.
I think being an entrepreneur is great because the possibilities are endless. You can be as creative and innovative as you want to be, and the results are the most rewarding.
How much has women entrepreneurship evolved in the last decade in India?
I think women entrepreneurship has highly evolved in India as you can see Nykaa reached the IPO level owned by a women entrepreneur. So I see significant growth.
How important it is to promote the term Women Entrepreneurship specifically?
When women are at the forefront of entrepreneurship, innovation is enhanced, productivity surges, creativity expands, and the economy ultimately grows. Today, more women are starting new businesses than ever before, and the outcome has shown an economic improvement on both smaller and larger scales.
What are your plans for development?
I see myself on the front page of Forbes in the next five years and maybe even receiving recognition for Convanto being one of the most recognized female-led investment banks. I also see myself doing Series C, D, and E deals. I want to be able to do several podcasts as that interests me a lot. And also a write a book and also travel to places I haven’t been
To every woman out there who aspires to be an entrepreneur this decade, what would be your advice to them, especially after this pandemic?
Every single person I know is successful at what they do because they are passionate about it. Anything can be done, as long as you truly believe it. We led with our conviction rather than rational approach because rational said it was impossible. Find something you love and do it better than everyone else. Failure is a stepping stone to greatness and we all fail. I read the book ‘Power of the Subconscious Mind’ and found it inspiring, and I practiced the law of attraction. Also, remember that you will never be criticized by someone who is doing more than you. You will only be criticized by someone who is doing less, so always remember that. Successful people do not put others down.