In 2021, a dynamic global landscape yielded crucial insights for investors and businesses. Unprecedented events created both opportunities and challenges, stimulating engaging discussions.
In this episode, we are joined by Shalini Rao. Shalini is an experienced investor and financial specialist who is enthusiastic about supporting technology-driven companies. She has been a crucial part of TCV since 2023, concentrating on investing in software, fintech, and consumer internet industries. In her earlier position as a partner at Generation Investment Management, Shalini actively promoted growth-stage technology companies led by teams driven by a clear mission. She earned her M.Sc. in Finance from the London School of Economics and holds a B.A. from Harvard University.
During our conversation with Shalini, we dive into the changes that have occurred in the VC landscape regarding how venture capitalists collaborate with founders and companies. Shalini also shares the lessons they learned in 2021, which are beneficial for both investors and firms. We examine the profound impact of AI on the investment landscape and discuss effective strategies for evaluating and supporting startups in today's market conditions. Moreover, we highlight the importance of cultivating strong relationships and fostering trust within the workplace. We conclude our discussion by offering practical advice on maintaining energy and gaining a fresh perspective in one's career. The insights and viewpoints presented provide valuable guidance for founders and investors alike.
“I think having a consumer and customer value proposition as the heritage of the firm and as the heart of trying to really kind of interrogate the value proposition of a business model is super important.” - Shalini [04:39]
“I think the number one, two, and three things that founders are still grappling with and that lean on investors for, it hasn't changed, which is just talent, talent, talent. You know, like how do we get the best talent? How do we motivate our talent? How do we think through hiring, training, firing, growing, etcetera?” - Shalini [19:42]
“Trust is about knowing that you can disagree, that you can really get into an argument, but that that other person will still show up tomorrow and give you 100%. It's not about agreeing on everything. It's really about intellectual honesty and debate and curiosity and having that kind of mutuality of respect.” - Shalini [23:36]
“You need trust so much because you need to have really sometimes vociferous debates about topics, and you need to come away from that understanding that you're debating the issue, not the person, and still have a strength in the partnership in order to then approach the next debate equally principled as the first.” - Shalini [28:05]
Shalini Rao is an experienced investor that joined TCV in 2023, focusing on software, fintech, and consumer internet companies. She was formerly a partner at Generation Investment Management and has invested in mission-driven tech firms. With a B.A. from Harvard and M.Sc. from the London School of Economics, Shalini brings strong financial expertise.
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