Kalaari Capital strengthens investment team with three appointments
The new hires come after Kalaari, an early investor in ecommerce firms Snapdeal and Myntra, raised $290 million (Rs 1,922 crore) last year.
The Bengaluru-based firm has roped in Prashanth Aluru, a former partner at consulting firm Bain and Company, as a partner and Pooja Gupta, a former human resources head for fashion retailer Myntra has joined the fund as head – portfolio HR. In addition, Kalaari has made the first senior hire for its seed programme Kstart, by appointing Muthiah Venkateswaran as partner.
The new hires come after Kalaari, an early investor in ecommerce firms Snapdeal and Myntra, raised $290 million (Rs 1,922 crore) last year. The venture fund is now building an operations team, just like others in the industry such as Sequoia Capital India and Accel India, have already done.
"As our portfolio companies have grown, both in numbers and size, the help that we can offer and make a difference often becomes more complex. We have been thinking how at each functional level we can help them," said Vani Kola, managing director at Kalaari.
Kalaari has Prasanna HK and Karthik Nageswaran who work with portfolio companies in finance. With Gupta now leading HR, the VC firm also plans to add executives for functions like legal, technology and marketing but "not immediately, as it takes time to hire the right people," according to Kola.
Gupta was with Myntra for over five years, where Kalaari was an early investor. She has also worked with software maker SAP and is an MBA from XLRI-Jamshedpur. Aluru, a BTech from IIT-Kharagpur and MBA from Kellogg School Management, was with Bain for over nine years leading technology, media & telecom and digital practice across Asia Pacific. At Kalaari, he will focus on investments across enterprise software, consumer internet, cloud, big-data analytics, healthcare tech and logistics.
Venkateswaran has joined as the first partner at Kstart, where Kalaari plans to invest about $20 million (about Rs 135 crore) in up to 40 startups over the next two years. He helped set up Spencer Stuart’s Bengaluru office and led their digital and leadership advisory practices in India. Venkateswaran has also worked with McKinsey and Texas Instruments.
Kalaari had also added several new advisors last year. Microsoft’s former India chairman Ravi Venkatesan and Silicon Valley veteran Ram Gupta were roped in to work with startups in Kalaari Capital’s portfolio, the venture firm already has Tata Group chairman-emeritus Ratan Tata as a special advisor.