India added 31 new unicorns in the last nine months, taking the total to 70, putting to rest the question of whether Indian startups can create extraordinary investor returns.

This decade promises to be an exciting time. Mission-driven founders creating scale and impact and investors taking early risks are collectively driving the India digital story on the global watchlist.

We have all experienced moments of fulfillment that follow consistent hard work. 2021 is that moment for us at Kalaari. We are pleased to affirm the confidence placed in us by our LPs by creating great returns. This year, we exited from Robosoft (acquired by TechnoPro Holdings), Simplilearn (majority acquisition by Blackstone), Perpule (acq. by Amazon), Milkbasket (acq. by Reliance), Shop101 (acq. by Glance), Unilog (acq. by Investcorp) and partially from Dream11. It was a privilege to be early partners with Rohith Bhat, Krishna Kumar, Abhinav Pathak, Harsh Jain, Bhavit Sheth, and all the other founders from the Kalaari Family. I have immense gratitude for their trust in us and for generating substantial returns for our fund. In continuing the cycle of championing founders shaping the future, we have invested in 11 early-stage companies across Ed-Tech, FinTech, HealthTech, SaaS, DeepTech, and more. 

When I wrote to you last, I spoke of my commitment to promoting women's entrepreneurship. My own challenges as an entrepreneur and venture capitalist made me deeply aware of the importance of this cause. We are pleased to have launched CXXO by Kalaari Capital – an initiative to level the playing field for female founder CEOs in India. Through CXXO, we have already funded three women founders since inception.

We aim to bring insights to founders, accelerating the learning and growth of the startup ecosystem. Paying it forward is core to our Kalaari values, and we are committed to enabling first-time founders navigate the inevitable challenges of fostering ideas into successful businesses. With this in mind, we have revamped our website! If you have a moment, please review and share your feedback.


Vani Kola
Managing Director
Kalaari Capital

The Truth Out there
  • Between January 2018 and June 2020, funding with at least one woman founder was 5.77 percent while female-led startups was just 1.43 percent.
  • Today, only 1 unicorn from India is led by a woman-founder CEO. Globally, female-led startups account for just 16% of all new unicorns in 2020, accordingly to Crunchbase.
We felt that it was about time to do something about this. CXXO was born out of that need for positive action and making a difference. Through CXXO, we have set aside $10M annually to invest in startups that have women founders as key decision-markers, ideally as CEOs.

To know more about the CXXO program, click here

DIGANTARA | $2.5M | Seed
  • Digantara is solving for space-based situational awareness through its patented LiDAR-based space debris monitor that can track objects up to 1 cm in diameter.
  • It is poised to disrupt the global space situational awareness market, which is estimated to be a $1.2B opportunity.
  • It aims to build a comprehensive data stack that will provide end-to-end information for object tracking and space weather conditions and be the enabler for space commercialization.
Read More  

SWIFT | $2.2M | Seed
  • Swift provides full-stack E-Commerce enablement infrastructure for D2C brands, SMEs, and marketplace players through its offerings of fulfillment, RTO reduction, and one-click checkout
  • It is creating the infrastructural layer that will enable D2C E-Commerce, which is estimated to become a $100B market by 2025
  • It aspires to shape the internet commerce enablement ecosystem by making logistics easier for D2C brands and simplifying the purchase experience for consumers online.
Read More  

ELEVAR SPORTS | $2.6M | Series A
  • Elevar Sports is a D2C sports brand creating innovative and fashionable athletic footwear and cricket equipment by combining cutting-edge design & engineering
  • It aims to capture the $9B Indian sports footwear and activewear market, which is growing at a CAGR of 14.5%.
  • Its vision is to build a disruptive sports brand from India that is desirable, affordable, and high-performance.
Read More  

CONNECTED-H | $2.3M | Seed
  • ConnectedH provides a full-stack diagnostics delivery​ system by offering tech-enabled solutions (online testing, reporting, feedback, CRM) and on-demand phlebotomy services for diagnostic centres.
  • It's poised to disrupt the $10B diagnostics market in India, which is expected to grow at a CAGR of ~12% over the next 5 years.
  • It aims to transform all standalone diagnostic labs and connect different sectors of the healthcare system to give patients complete control over their information.
Read More  

  • Creative Galileo, built for global learners aged 3-12, is a gamified learning platform that leverages famous characters to build strong foundational skills.
  • It aims to capture the early childhood care and education market, which has grown at a CAGR of 17% over the last decade and is expected to be a $9.5B opportunity.
  • Its mission is to re-define the early learning landscape globally and build a fun learning platform designed for the learners of the 21st century.
Read More  

We are grateful for any suggestions of founders we should meet.
Please write to us at


DREAM11 | Partial exit at $8B valuation
With Kalaari since Series A (2014)
We have been early partners with Dream11 since 2014. Back then, not many people had the foresight to see the potential of fantasy gaming and broader sports engagement in India that Dream11 did. Harsh & Bhavit have executed their goals meticulously, with emphasis on product and technology at the core. They have always kept their employees and collective shareholders' interests aligned, generating great returns for investors. We are grateful for the returns you have provided us.

With Kalaari since Series A (2012)

We invested in Simplilearn back in 2012, believing in the future of the EdTech opportunity in India. Today, Simplilearn is the leading platform for upskilling and continuous learning. We partnered with Krishna Kumar because of his approach to creating a company on first principles. He has always focused on building Simplilearn with limited dilution and as a profitable business, generating great returns for investors. We are grateful for the returns you have provided us. 

ROBOSOFT | $100M + | Acquired
With Kalaari since Series A (2013)
We invested in Robosoft back in 2013. From starting as a software development firm in 1996 to becoming a pioneer of mobile app development, Robosoft is now a leading global partner in digital transformation. Robosoft was recently acquired by Japan's TechnoPro Holdings. Congratulations to Rohith Bhat and Ravi Teja Bommireddipalli on this milestone. We are grateful for the returns you have provided us. 

PopXO With Kalaari since Series A (2015)
India’s beauty and personal care market is projected to reach $32.7B by 2023. When we first partnered with PopXO and then MyGlamm, we believed that content and influencer-led commerce will drive the next generation of large consumer brands in this space. Congratulations to Priyanka Gill & Darpan Sanghvi on their latest fundraise. We look forward to seeing you build India's leading beauty and personal care brand. 

AGNEXT | $21M | Series A
With Kalaari since Pre-Series A (2019)
Lack of quality assessment solutions leads to approximately $90B in losses globally in agricultural trade. AgNext has built deep-tech-driven solutions to help agri-businesses address quality assessment issues and improve trust, speed, and transparency in the food trade globally. Congratulations Taranjeet Singh Bhamra, Subrat Panda, and Sparsh Kaur on their latest fundraise. We look forward to seeing you transform the agri value chain on a global scale.

We are privileged to have been early partners in their journey and wish them continued growth and success.






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At Kalaari, I get a ringside view of the start-up ecosystem – how it is evolving and creating some of the largest corporate brands in India. I’m excited by the opportunity to work alongside colleagues, who have built a legacy of pioneering investments in companies and founders, who have fundamentally altered business models in India.

Srikanth is the VP of Corporate Development. He is in charge of building and managing relationships across investors, partners, corporates, and advisors to drive outcomes for Kalaari and our portfolio companies. He is a big fan of Manchester United.

Accidental Innovation
Not all products are intentionally developed, and innovation involves remembering this fact. Read more to learn how some of the world's greatest products were invented in this manner and how one can position themselves to do the same. 

Read More  

The Rise of The Creator Economy
The new generation is characterized by greater individuality, sense of ownership, and people wanting more control over how they live, work and express themselves. Here’s a deep dive on how we see the evolution of the creator economy.

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Nischal Shetty, WazirX | #HindustanHamara 

  • One of the major misconceptions about Crypto is that people think it is a direct competition to Fiat money. But, it can be classified as a currency, asset, utility or security.
  • You can’t regulate the entire crypto sector but there are parts that can be regulated, primarily around taxation and KYC.
  • You don't need to know everything to start trading in crypto. Start small with Bitcoin or Ethereum and then make your way forward.

Gaurav Deepak, Avendus | #PayItForward
  • Perseverance: Don't look at crises as setbacks. Look for opportunities that can help you build a strong MOAT and come out stronger.
  • Long-term thinking: Have a long-term vision of what you want to achieve. It’s important for founders and investors to have open and honest conversations, especially when it comes to tackling short-term setbacks.
  • Focus: Develop a core focus on your fundamentals while having one eye on the macro trends in the market. This will help founders develop a long-term competitive edge.

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In his book 'Skill It, Kill It: Up Your Game’, Ronnie Screwvala shares personal stories and observations from his 30+ years as a successful entrepreneur. He underlines the importance of developing soft skills to give you a long-term edge in your career. The book is practical, actionable, and peppered with advice from successful founders and business leaders.

Here are some key takeaways:

  • Listen with intent: Listening is the most important part of communication. Always be present, avoid switching off, and be ready to listen, observe, and learn. 
  • Authenticity: Always be true to yourself. Real communication happens by being authentic, approachable, and vulnerable.
  • Empathy: Empathy isn’t just for leaders. Peer-to-peer empathy builds strong bonds of team unity.
  • Work-Life Balance: Identify the things that energise you and the things that drain you. Focus your energy on the former.
Nesar Rao
Fellow '21

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