Five years ago, Kalaari Capital was arguably India’s top VC firm. Only Sequoia Capital had a larger corpus under management. Kalaari was also an early bird to the most important sector of that vintage—e-commerce. It boasted investments in marquee e-commerce startups like Snapdeal and Myntra.
The firm’s sheen stemmed from Vani Kola, its general partner (GP). Kola was recognised as one of the most powerful women in Indian business by Forbes and was the recipient of The Economic Times Midas Touch award for the best investor in the country in 2015.
Lost and fund
Kalaari Capital’s US$200 million Faustian deal with Reliance
The announcement that Jio Platforms will anchor Kalaari’s new fund is an oddity. Jio is too big and powerful to really need Kalaari, and the latter is well past its prime. What explains the odd marriage?
Kalaari Capital was once among India's most vaunted venture capital firms. In e-commerce, it boasted investees like Myntra and Snapdeal
Over the years, however, a combination of team exits, middling exits from portfolio companies, and an inability to raise a fourth fund have seen Kalaari stagnate
In February 2021, it was announced that the elusive fourth fund would happen, and it would be anchored by Jio Platforms—the holding co for Reliance's digital assets
Why did one of India's most deep-pocketed companies choose to park its money with Kalaari? Equally importantly, what does this mean for Kalaari?