“How adaptable a business is defining its ability to stay afloat in the future,” says Vandana Tolani, Founder & CEO at Convanto. With a range of services aimed at enabling young start-ups, Convanto works with professionals that help startups with services such as, Fund Raising, Marketing & Growth Advisory, GTM strategic advisory and value-added services such as building Investor Presentations and Financial Models.
In an industry that is male dominated, Convanto is one of the few boutique investment banks led by a woman. According to Vandana, this, along with its progressive attitude towards business, is what sets the company apart from others in the market. With over 20 years of experience in the industry, Vandana is the mastermind who started Convanto 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.
To know more about her & the company, kindly peruse the exclusive conversation between Vandana & Women Entrepreneur India.
Take Us Through Your Journey That Led To The Formation Of Convanto.
After completing Bachelor of Commerce from the University of Mumbai, I joined my Family Office in Singapore and Jakarta. I worked as an Investment Banker & Advisor to Family Offices and Angel investors in Jakarta, Indonesia, helping start-ups from a diverse background, from Fin-Tech and B2B Tech all the way to consumer startups. I was raising funds for them & providing them with a range of services just as Convanto does today. After 15 years of staying in Singapore and Jakarta, I came back to India. That is when Convanto was founded. Convanto started 7 years ago, in Gurgaon, Haryana. Convanto is a portmanteau of the words “Consultant Vandana Tolani''.
What Are Some Critical Business Lessons That You Learned Through Your Prior Industry Experience That Have Stayed With You?
I have been fortunate enough to face challenges and overcome obstacles. This journey has left me with countless life lessons that I feel privileged to have learned firsthand. The number one lesson I’ve learned is that nothing beats hard work. Hard work outweighs talent and intelligence and is necessary if you want to succeed. This not only means working hard when things are going well, but working harder when things are not. It means taking calculated risks and sticking to them, no matter how challenging they are. No business is perfect, and just like people, they too have their faults, no matter how successful or unsuccessful they may be. Recognizing and accepting these faults as an entrepreneur, facing reality and doing your best to work around these faults is the best way to move forward. Being progressive in terms of keeping up with the ever-changing market is also of great importance in an industry such as this, and we ensure that Convanto does its best to keep up with these changes.
“In an industry that is male dominated, convanto is one of the few boutique investment banks led by a woman”
In Your Opinion What Aspects Of Your Personality And Leadership Style Have Helped You Traverse Through Your Career Journey And Rise To The Very Top?
I always believed in myself, and didn’t let negative comments get to me. On the journey to believing in myself, self-doubt was unavoidable, but I minimized it and didn’t wallow in it. As an entrepreneur, I believe that's my superpower. Most importantly, I believe that leadership is about taking your people along with you on your ride to the top. It's about being authentic, progressive, and empowering those around you to be the best version of themselves.
Tell Us More About The Representation Of Women In Top Leadership Roles. How Can It Be Improved?
It begins with education. If a girl child is given the right kind of education, she will outrun others. The second thing is that marriage should not limit her. Marriage should empower her to move ahead and the same applies to having kids. In addition to these three changes, people in the industry must get rid of the notion that women are not business savvy. Look around at some of the largest firms today, they’re headed by women. There’s YouTube, Heineken, Bumble, and more.
Lastly, I believe women need to be self-advocates, they must be comfortable speaking for themselves. As women, we need to find the right balance between going with the flow and putting up a fight. We must pick our battles carefully so that we don’t exhaust ourselves even before we get to the top.
Finally, Tell Us About The Roadmap That You Have Envisioned For Convanto.
I plan to close a lot of deals this year and look up new disruptive projects. I would like to do more podcasts and come on more panels and webinars. While Convanto keeps moving forward and upward, I wish to create a platform that uplifts both myself and others. I see it this way, when you help others, you help yourself and that is the thinking I’d like to focus on in the coming months.
Vandana Tolani, Founder & CEO, Convanto
Over 15 years of experience in international and domestic business advisory & fund-raise, my area of work is fundraising for early stage start-ups across sectors and industry sub-verticals. Develop an eagle's eye for spotting opportunities in industries that are set for long term growth in the Indian economic context. Am passionate about helping businesses reach the right people also fulfill their business requirements, With a large network of VC Funds, angel investors and family offices.