Vandana Tolani: Re-inventing the Art and Science of Fundraising via Convanto


To get on the fast track of progress, every startup must raise sufficient funds to invest in its growth momentum. Raising funds is an art and science of the highest degree. It prepares you to become financer-friendly in a market with an ever-shifting quantum of upward-downward dynamics and investor sentiments.

In this regard, with the global industry experience of the last 15 years, Ms Vandana Tolani, the Founder, and CEO of Convanto, has mastered this art and science perfectly. Thus, she offers a multitude of services to help equip your startup to become investor-ready. Leveraging her vast expertise in the Investment Banking and Venture Capital arena, Vandana founded Convanto–a boutique Investment Banking firm focused on fundraising and consulting early-stage startups.

Vandana is a versatile and dynamic professional with over 25 years of rich experience in International and Domestic Business Advisory and Fund Raising. Sharing her inception saga, she says, “Prior to starting Convanto, I had my own family office in Singapore and Jakarta. I worked as an Investment Banker and Advisor to Angel Investors and family offices there before moving to India.”

Your Partner in Fin-Infusion

An adept strategic planner with a proven history of mentoring business startups, identifying new growth avenues, developing innovative strategies, and building high-performing teams, Vandana’s core area of work is Fund Raising for early-stage startups across sectors and industry sub-verticals.

Today, Vandana is also a venture advisor with Loyal VC, the INSEAD-led Canadian VC Fund. She is also a partner with a Silicon Valley-based venture builder. She informs, “We are sector-agnostic, with a ticket size of $1M-100M.” After making its mark in the industry over the past few years, Convanto today is globally recognized, with a core portfolio of over 180 investments in 40+ countries, and the recipient of several accolades, such as the Best Institution in India for Supporting Startups in 2022 (awarded by Dr Kiran Bedi, AICRA) and 2021 and Top 10 Most Trusted Business Consulting Companies in India by The Inner Review business magazine.

Vandana, herself is a recipient of many prestigious and coveted awards, including,

  • Top 10 Inspirational Female Entrepreneurs Award by The Global Hues (TGH) Magazine,
  • Top 10 Emerging Women Entrepreneurs of the Year 2021-22 by Fame Finder,
  • Top 10 Futuristic Women Entrepreneurs 2022 by the Corporate Review Magazine,
  • Recognized for Contribution to STEM Society by All India Council for Robotics and Automation (AICRA),
  • Top 10 Women Leaders in Wealth Management 2021 by Women Entrepreneur Magazine, and
  • Woman Entrepreneur of the Year 2021, by Business Connect.

Over the years, Convanto has executed fundraising assignments for numerous Fin-Tech, B2B Tech, and Direct-to-consumer startups. With a range of services aimed at enabling medium and large-sized companies, Convanto helps startups and VC funds with services such as Fund Raising, Marketing and Growth Advisory, GTM strategic advisory, and value-added services such as building Investor Presentations and Financial Models.

An Eagle’s Eye

Revealing her inspiration behind venturing into the business arena, Vandana says that she has always been inclined towards starting her own business ever since high school, “Which is why I started to work towards it from an early age, around the age of 16. Granted, marriage, kids, and responsibilities did set me back slightly, but I’m glad to be back on track, especially since Convanto is what arose from it. I chose to venture into the business arena because being an entrepreneur gives you a lot of freedom and flexibility to try and implement new ideas and give a bit of your own touch to your work, which is what I absolutely love about the job.”

A diversified set of experiences has enabled Vandana to develop an eagle’s eye for spotting opportunities in industries that are set for long-term growth in the Indian economic context. She is also passionate about helping businesses reach the right people and fulfill their business requirements.

Weathering the Storms

Recollecting the initial challenges she had to surmount to ensure Covanto’s success rate reached greater heights, Vandana mentions, “Well, on a personal note, I’m a single mother of two kids and starting a business when you have to manage the responsibilities that come with being a mother was challenging initially, but I learned to manage my time better and overcame that over time.”

Since she also chose to start a business in the finance industry, where women form less than a quarter of those working in it, Vandana says that she has had to deal with a lot of sexism in the industry. For example, there’s the notion that women are less business-savvy than men. This is something that, of course, has changed with time but continues to remain an issue in the industry. “Over time, I have learned to deal with it better and put my foot down where necessary, and I think that has helped me ensure that my business is successful,” states Vandana, adding, “Of course, another challenge that arose with starting Convanto is the risk associated with managing your own business, but catering to the changes in the market, and keeping up with the times, especially after COVID, is something that has definitely helped me and my business.”

Widening her Wings

Her expert opinion is often sought by leading business news channels and publications like LATOKEN, Business World, and Business Outlook. She has participated in 200+ talks and events across numerous corporate and academic institutions. Additionally, she has been a mentor, judge, and guest speaker at various startup pitching events at Entrepreneurship Cells of renowned institutions such as IIT, IIM, Delhi University, and O.P Jindal Global University. Vandana also does brand endorsements–she has recently ventured into the world of influencer marketing by endorsing brands like SheWings and Payomatix.

When probed about what professional values and qualities she thinks are greatly admired by her clients, Vandana expresses that the values that they at Convanto live by reveal the deep appreciation they have for their investors and startups. She puts, “Our values include doing all our actions with uncompromising honesty, transparency, and integrity in everything we do. We always satisfy our customers with utmost quality and give our investors an attractive return, which has helped us become a global name.”

Highlighting brand Convanto’s USPs that make it special in the industry, Vandana says that, unlike traditional consulting firms, they have proven their operational expertise in bringing money, creating value, and driving growth to help clients maximize their results. “This is what has led us to emerge as a global brand and being labelled as the Best Financial Institution for Supporting Startups in India,” she asserts.

Blessings of Wisdom

As an experienced professional, in her advice to the budding aspirants willing to enter the business world, Vandana says that to become a successful entrepreneur, one must know what they need to do – “You need to be a person with a plan. And once you have that plan, you need to delegate it effectively, trust your workers, and contribute to achieving it too. If you have shortcomings, you should have people with those skills to fill the gap. I cannot stress the importance of having a clear and certain business plan for your startup; if you don’t know where to go, or if there is confusion about your goals, it will dissuade investors and workers alike.”

It will also make taking risks harder because, with a plan, one can at least mitigate some of it so that it is less risky. Confidence is also important; one needs to inspire confidence in others and look like they know what they’re doing. “You may even have to fake it till you make it,” she suggests. A lot of people think entrepreneurs are born; this is not true. Anyone can become an entrepreneur provided they’re willing to put in the hard work – one of the most important things – and perseverance.

On envisioning Convanto’s operations with the emerging technologies and automated tools that are revolutionizing the business world by enabling innovations, Vandana reveals that she always gives importance to keeping up with the latest trends in the market. AI is big right now, with more and more companies choosing to opt for AI-driven business analytics, embedded business intelligence, and intent intelligence to better their business and understand their clients more. “I see myself using these emerging technologies, amongst others in the near future, to smoothen Convanto’s business processes,” she concludes.

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