Richa Natarajan: A Role-Model and a Self-Starter

Richa Natarajan | Director | Unitus Capital
Richa Natarajan | Director | Unitus Capital

In an exclusive Interview with Insights Success magazine, Richa Natarajan – Director of Unitus Capital spoke about her professional journey and gave a sneak peak about her life.
Kindly brief us about yourself, your initial journey since the beginning of your career?
Richa: I started my career in financial advisory and realized early on that working with clients, advising them, and supporting them motivated me. After being part of large Fortune 500 companies for several years, I realized that I wanted a change: I wanted to make a difference. Unitus Capital happened, quite frankly, by chance (at an airport!) and provided an opportunity to use my financial skills to work with budding entrepreneurs who were looking to make a difference in the lives of the masses — that for me was just the right combination.
What drives you every day to work? Or what is your motivation which pushes you to enhance your performance?
Richa: My clients drive and motivate me. I took on this role because I wanted to make a difference while still using my skillsets in finance. The hard work, the energy, the ideas, and the tenacity to push forward each day that I see from my clients is really what motivates me and pushes me to do all that I can for them.
How does your family contribute to your success? Talk about your family values, the culture which has strongly impacted your professional journey?
Richa: My family is an integral part of who I am. All my values and basic characteristics are due to the upbringing I have had as well as the family I have been married into. My husband is my biggest cheerleader as well as my biggest critic. My kids are my greatest inspiration and I learn from their “never-give-up” attitude each day.
My parents always told me that I could become whoever and whatever that I wanted to. They never differentiated between me and my brother and gave us the exact same platforms to succeed. I believe that my parents treating us like equals played a big part in where I am today. I continue to do the same for my kids. In the world of finance, which is largely male dominated, I hope to be a role model for many young girls out there who are unsure if they can do it. I first start with my own daughter and hope that one day, by example, she will see that she can pave her own way (with the support of others) and be who she wants to be without worrying about her gender.
Please mention the challenges, issues you have faced in your professional journey and your efforts or solutions you have identified to overcome the challenges.
Richa: I have been fortunate to have had great cheerleaders, supporters, and mentors along the way. I was once told by a peer that “I am lucky to be a woman and that I got a role on the basis of my gender and not on merit”. That almost shattered my confidence until I realized the biases that exist in the workplace. Ever since then, I have pushed myself and others to ensure there is equality in the workplace — everyone is judged on the same plane and there is no special treatment irrespective of any form of bias. I would like to see more and more women succeed in breaking the stereotype of what they “should be doing” versus what they are “capable of doing”.
Apart from stirring such a high-end profile, who is Richa Natarajan on the personal front?
Richa: An introverted home body who likes to spend time with her family.
Kindly describe in detail about Unitus Capital and its unique services and products.
Richa: We are a social investment bank — as much of an oxymoron as that is! We help raise capital for for-profit social enterprises that provide innovative and affordable products and services to the masses. We work across debt and equity instruments as well as advise on buy-side and sell-side transactions.
Brief us about the industry scenario from your perspective.
Richa: Impact investing is now becoming more mainstream and is part of several commercial enterprises. It is no more a niche play with few focusing on it. There are now several sustainable and scalable businesses that have evolved over the years. The next few years will demonstrate that it is possible to generate positive financial returns while still making a difference.
What would you advise to the budding entrepreneurs?
Richa: Never give up! It is a long and potentially lonely journey — find all the pillars and support systems you can. Ask as many questions as you need and don’t give up — setbacks are what will teach you to pick yourself up, re-engineer, and move forward.
Share with us the noted milestones, accomplishments of your journey along with highlighting the company’s achievements under your leadership.
Richa: At Unitus Capital, we work collaboratively as a team — all of our achievements are achieved collectively. Over the past decade or so, we have raised US$2+ billion for our clients across sectors, verticals, products, and geographies. We have played a small part in showcasing the impact investing ecosystem on the map, at least in India. In the process, we have brought in capital from several players globally into this ecosystem —many of whom were first-time investors in India.
State your passions, aims, and goals.
Richa: Working with entrepreneurs who are passionate about making a difference while making sustainable returns.
How are you foreseeing the future in terms of expansion of your business, the advent of new technologies and increasing tech-enabled players in the market?
Richa: We aim to be a full-service financial services firm. We started with investment banking and moved on to lending and hope to add on other verticals including asset management in the near future. It is important to be a full-service firm in the current market context.

Related Posts