Rajesh is a pioneer in investing in direct-to-consumer companies in India. His investment interests span consumer categories in retail, education and mobile. Rajesh returned from the US in 2006, drawn by the immense potential that India presents for entrepreneurs in reshaping the country. He has been a part of the startup ecosystem ever since.
In a career spanning over 20 years, Rajesh has had a broad set of experiences in the technology industry across product development, sales, M&A, equity research and private equity. He currently serves on the boards of several companies. Rajesh has an MBA (Hons) from the Booth School of Business, University of Chicago, a master’s in engineering from Marquette University and a bachelor’s in Engineering from BITS, Pilani.
What makes the job exciting
We work with cutting-edge technology companies and we’re looking for those smart young entrepreneurs who can deal with cutting — edge technology and the uncertainty that comes with it. That’s what I feel excited about coming to work every day-the opportunity to work with these young entrepreneurs and new technologies that are hopefully going to change the world. Being part of the VC industry is exciting.
Thoughts on startup success
What we’re looking for is entrepreneurial teams looking to solve large problems in large markets, and their ability to build a great team and raise capital. A great entrepreneurial spirit and the right leadership team are very important for a business, as is your ability to identify large markets and large problems that are worth solving.
The big bang ideas are the ones setting out to change the world. They’re high risk/high reward so you have to find investors who like such ideas and have the appetite to invest in these ideas. Even if your idea is one where you’re trying to make something more efficient, more accessible, or cheaper, access to capital is key and timely access to capital is critical.
Your ability to build a great team underneath you is just as important. Success really depends on the right fit between your personality, your team’s personality, your business idea, and being able to do the right thing with the right people.
Views on entrepreneurship
An aspiring entrepreneur should always put the growth of the company ahead of self and always be aware of things that come into the picture when you’re talking about a company’s growth versus yourself: your compensation, your shareholding, or your ego should never come into the picture ahead of the company’s growth.
You have to be a consummate salesman — you need to sell your idea to raise money, to attract talent, to position and sell your product to your customers. At every stage, you’re selling to someone and it’s important to always remember that aspect.
What I like about Kalaari
We try very hard at Kalaari to create a friendly, team-oriented environment. I look for new things to do every day and look forward to working with my colleagues and meeting new entrepreneurs every single day, so that same level of excitement (is what) we try to create among everyone at Kalaari and I love seeing everyone come to work each morning with lots of energy.