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EVC Club invites Vani Kola for a talk on Entrepreneurship
Bangalore, July 29, 2006: Vani Kola, dubbed as B2B queen, is the founder and CEO of Certus Software, a leader in the Financial Compliance Market, and a serial entrepreneur. Earlier, she was the founder and CEO of RightWorks, a successful e-procurement company, and held management and engineering positions at Consilium and Control Data Corporation. An electrical engineer by qualification, Vani has had an interesting entrepreneurial journey on her way to success. She shared her experiences with students in a talk organized by the EVC Club on July 29, 2006.

Vani is back to India after 22 years, and described the growth of India in recent times as a major reason for her return. She wishes to create a sustainable global centre for entrepreneurship in this burgeoning country. She has been based in Silicon Valley, and discussed the concept of Entrepreneurship and Venture Capital with the students, what they imply, and also shared the moments in life which shape one's career.

Entrepreneurs, she said, were not better risk takers, but looked at things differently, and had a different level of self-confidence. Entrepreneurship is all about change, and involves an element of "craziness". One needs to have a vision and think forward, and be an architect of the future.

Talking from experiences in her professional life, she said that her company had made software which they believed could be sold to the technology companies, as it was for public company CFOs. However, technology companies didn't want shareholders to see their corporate structure, and did not take the software. On the other hand, the regulated industry lapped it up, and PepsiCola became her first customer. This taught her to think differently.

She advised students to have their own core conviction about themselves, and have faith in their vision. She quoted the instance of "Skype" that went on from being hounded by law enforcement officers to becoming a billion dollar company. Entrepreneurship is a passage or ritual in self-discovery, and one needs to break the walls in one's mind before creation can truly take place.

Vani found the idea of VC fascinating. The first aspect of VC funding depends on the person behind the project, second is the value of the idea, where one needs to sit in the customer's shoes, and third, question whether it changes someone's life. Her partner in her enterprise has been Vinod Dham of Intel, and she views her companies as her children. She impressed upon the students to understand the need of when to hold on to the company and when to let go.

The three most challenging tasks for an entrepreneur, according to her, are to get started, not to quit, and also decide when to sell the venture. Only by breaking the mental walls could one get to the stage of being an entrepreneur.



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