“The day I stopped caring about people’s criticism is when I discovered how skillful and talented I am. My success is by reason of my hard work and not mere luck!”
-Vandana Tolani (Founder & CEO, Convanto)
The Global Hues received the opportunity to get in conversation with Ms. Vandana Tolani, the CEO & Founder of Convanto, a portmanteau of the words “Consultant Vandana Tolani”. This is a boutique investment bank started 7 years ago by her, in Gurgaon, Haryana. With a range of services aimed at enabling young start-ups – it provides them with services such as Fund Raising, Marketing & Growth Advisory, GTM Strategic Advisory, along with value-added services such as building Investor Presentations and Financial Models. The bank offers its expertise to small, medium, and large enterprises on raising capital, finding their product-market fit, and implementing a successful go-to-market strategy, branding strategy, and brand positioning.
In an industry that is heavily male-dominated, Convanto is one of the few successful boutique investment banks led by a woman. “ I had to believe in myself and not others, and even when I had no support I had to stand firm in my decisions” expressed Vandana.
THE ORIGINS OF CONVANTO
Vandana had her own family office in Singapore and Jakarta. She worked as an Investment Banker & Advisor to Family Offices and Angel investors in Jakarta and Indonesia. Her work involved raising funds for start-ups from diverse backgrounds such as Fin-Tech, B2B Tech, consumer-based start-ups, etc. After 15 years of staying in Singapore and Jakarta, she came back to India. Here she engaged in investments for a bit but then decided to return to the advisory. This is when Convanto was founded. Today Convanto is one of the most well-known boutique investment banks in India and led by a female founder.
With more achievements to boast off, Vandana is also a Venture Advisor with Loyal VC, the INSEAD-led Canadian VC Fund, having a core portfolio of over 160 investments in more than 35 countries. She is also a Partner with GSD Venture Studios, a Silicon Valley-based venture builder.
Vandana tells us that over the years, she has gained much expertise in arranging funding for startups & growth-stage companies in diverse sectors like EdTech, FinTech, Consumer B2C & B2B, AgriTech, HealthTech, FoodTech, Disruptive & DeepTech as well as non-tech sectors. This month she has been nominated as one of the Top 10 Women Leaders in Wealth Management 2021.
Leading business news channels and publications such as VCTV and Business World seek her expert opinion quite often. She has also participated in 100+ talks which can be easily viewed on YouTube and VCTV streaming sites. Connected with 300+ investors globally, her ticket size is $1-$25 million.
WHAT MAKES CONVANTO UNIQUE
Convanto differs from other consulting firms in how it extends practical expertise when it comes to making revenue, creating value, and helping growth, and other things that help startups maximize their results. Unlike traditional consulting firms, she says, Convanto is one of the very few female-led boutique investment banks that has proven its operational expertise in bringing money, creating value, and driving growth to help organizations maximize their results.
Client faith is ensured by always completing the work earnestly and on time. “I do my best to fulfill whatever goal they have in mind,” Vandana says. With her professionalism, she builds a relationship of trust with the client by always delivering the best results. She believes in being constantly in touch with the clients and updating them about the status of the work, as this ensures clear communication.
KEY FACTORS BEHIND ITS SUCCESS
“My persistence was one of the key factors that helped my brand grow,” she told us. She was always on her toes, looking for new ideas and ways to position the business. Often she had to step out of her comfort zone. Moreover, being a firm believer in client satisfaction, she ensured that she did everything in her power to meet the needs of the client. Over time, she learned that the best way for sustainable growth and success of any relevant strategy is to focus continuously on customer problem-solving, feedback, and improving the services accordingly. This builds continuous consumption, trust, value, and growth, and is what has been implemented in Convanto. This, combined with her determination and persistence, has helped her brand to grow the most and reach where it is today.
When asked about her leadership style, she explained it to be heavily democratic where teamwork is valued a lot. “Especially in the finance industry, it is important to consider certain issues from all standpoints, so I ensure to always take into consideration the opinions of even the most junior employees at my company,” says Vandana. Convanto strives to upkeep and maintain the team ethos at all times, by making sure the employees always feel welcome to voice their opinions.
LIFE LESSONS AS A FEMALE ENTREPRENEUR
- Nothing beats hard work. Hard work outweighs talent and intelligence and is necessary if one wants 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 one’s faults as an entrepreneur, facing reality, and doing one’s best to work around these faults is the best way to move forward and the secret to success.
SOURCES OF INSPIRATION
Vandana has always been drawn to finance as an industry. Even in high school, she was always reading biographies and memoirs of entrepreneurs and business leaders to glean how their businesses started and continued making money and how they navigated moments of crisis or transformation. This inspired her thoroughly and decided her path in life. Throughout this time, she has always looked up to Vani Kola as an inspiration. To her, she’s like an entrepreneurial superwoman. Vandana hopes to one day bring Convanto to the level Vani has brought her business. Some of the books that impacted her deeply are -The Power of the Subconscious Mind, Rich Dad Poor Dad, Pitch Anything, and The Lean Startup.
VISION AND MILESTONES ACHIEVED
She has recently been nominated as one of the Top 10 Women Leaders in Wealth Management 2021 and received several recognitions for being a speaker at several events and webinars as well. In the next five years, she sees herself on the front page of Forbes and wishes to receive recognition for Convanto being one of the most recognized female-led investment banks. Moreover, she sees herself doing Series C, D, and E deals.
ADVICE TO BUDDING ENTREPRENEURS
- Every single person I know who is successful at what they do is successful because they love doing it. Anything can be done, as long as you truly believe it.
- Always remember that one is never be criticized by someone who is doing more than them but only by someone who is doing less, as successful people do not put others down.
“Be unstoppable. Think back 5 years ago, think of where you are today. Think ahead 5 years about what you want to accomplish.” -Dwayne Johnson
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“I was enjoying my journey, but life had bigger, better plans for me. I was blessed with my son and that put me on a new artistic journey of being a mompreneur”
– Ghazal Alagh from MamaEarth shared with The Global Hues