Founder/CEO of Kansaltancy Ventures - Tushar Kansal is an accomplished professional, a "Thought Leader," and a "Thought Influencer."
Throughout the years, Tushar has provided support to startups and companies in various tech and non-tech sectors. Please refer to over 80 recommendations on LinkedIn.
He was honored with the "Best Startup Supporter" award at the "IndiaFirst Tech Startup Conclave" by the "All India Council for Robotics & Automation - AICRA," presented by Dr. Kiran Bedi. Additionally, he was bestowed the "Business Leader of the Year in Investment Management" award by the "Asian African Chamber of Commerce & Industry." Tushar was also recognized as the "Entrepreneur of the Year" by Business Connect magazine.
Tushar currently serves as a Venture Advisor at Loyal VC, the INSEAD-led Canadian VC Fund, which boasts a portfolio of over 300 investments across 15 sectors in more than 60 countries.
He acts as a mentor and speaker at the entrepreneurship cells of prestigious institutions such as IITs, IIMs, and globally renowned establishments. Tushar specializes in financial and business advisory.
His expert insights are frequently featured by prominent business news channels and publications, including CNN-News18, VCTV (Venture Capital TV), Business World, Business & Economy, Qrius, and Digital Market Asia. He has participated in over 300 talks – you can find more about him by searching on Google or checking YouTube.
His goal is to assist change-makers through venture capital and strategic services, utilizing his extensive network of over 450 investors and VC fund connections to engage in sector-agnostic global deals. The typical deal size ranges from USD 1-100 million.
Tushar possesses experience spanning various sectors, from venture capital (Brand Cap) and Big 4 consulting (Deloitte & Touche) to his role as CFO of MTS India, the LSE-listed Sistema's India unit, and the USD 200 billion Guggenheim Partners-owned company (DLI). He successfully executed numerous venture capital deals during his tenure at Deloitte and Brand Cap, and he raised USD 2.5 billion for MTS India.
He completed executive education at Harvard Business School, holds an MBA in Finance from the University of Delhi, and earned a B.Tech degree from "The Technological Institute of Textile & Sciences," affiliated with the “Textile Institute Manchester, UK,” and a part of the renowned industrial and educational conglomerate in India, “The Birla Group.”
1. Can you tell us about your journey from your educational background at The Technological Institute of Textile & Sciences to becoming a prominent figure in the venture capital and startup ecosystem?
The journey from doing Engineering at TIT Bhiwani (A Birla Group College affiliated with Textile Institute, Manchester) to becoming a VC is a journey of more than 15 years. After my Engineering, I did MBA from University of Delhi and started a business in IIT-JEE entrance examinations. By 2006, the Business had grown and I exited the business to Narayana Institute because the Business needed new capital and a strategic hand. Then my corporate exposure began and I gave Leadership at Deloitte and Touche, Brand Capital - the VC arm of Times of India Group, Aircel Central Treasury for a short while and then headed Treasury at the Russian Telecom Company MTS wherein I raised USD 2.5 billion for the company in 3 years. Lastly I was CFO with a company owned by Guggenheim Partners - the USD 200 Billion Private Equity fund.
My Entrepreneurship journey restarted in 2013 with the launch of Hair Extensions Startup, but my Financial services journey started 2016 with the launch of Kansaltancy Ventures. Since then, we have helped more than 5000 Startups across the world and today, Kansaltancy Ventures is the numero uno Venture Capital Brand! Through Loyal VC, a Canadian Venture Capital Fund, where I am a Venture Advisor, we have invested in more than 300+ companies across 60+ countries. We have been awarded 4 times in the process and also from the hands of Dr Kiran Bedi, the first female IPS officer of India. We are sector agnostic and have a network of 450+ institutional investors from India, Singapore, Dubai, US and UK. All these years, we have done more than 300+ talks, webinars, events including at top corporate bodies and academic institutions. The journey has been totally fulfilling and I look forward to playing even a larger part in the Global VC ecosystem.
2. With your diverse experience in various sectors, could you share a specific challenge you faced while supporting startups in non-tech sectors and how you tackled it?
There is a large pool of people which believes that if a Business does not have a Technology component, then the Business is not likely to do well. But everything is situational and there is a difference between the economies of different countries and their means of production. If the European countries have less population and an aging one, then it has to develop ways and means to sustain its economy which includes using more robots in factories and enhancing the use of technology on the consumer forefront so that the economies don't suffer. But the same is not true for countries with a huge population like India. Hence we see a huge focus on development of industry/ consumer robots in US, Europe and Japan but the same is not true for Asian countries with a sizeable population.
The challenge is that Internet has democratized the delivery of products and services. Hence an Indian company operating in a largely Indian environment is likely to compete with the US company which is deploying technology on a large scale. To give an example, when Amazon came to India, it started utilizing high-tech warehouses with industry robots, hence the only Indian player, which was Flipkart, also had to adopt to the same to compete with a huge giant like Amazon. Another example of the same company - Amazon - It utilizes only ground floor warehouses in the US and Western countries because the land outside the cities is cheap there and abundantly available but the Labour is costly, so multi level operations would be costly in those countries. But in India, Amazon resorted to a different strategy of creating multiple level warehouses, because land price always keeps on going up (because of a huge population) but labor cost does not go up proportionately because of the same reason - a high population!
When it comes to India, the fact is that Startups in non–Tech sectors are likely to do well if they are big in size and they get Private Equity also relatively easily as compared to Startups which are in early stages and in a non-Tech sector. I give the example of a company in India which created robots for manufacturing furniture and in spite of a huge support by the Government, it could not progress beyond a certain point because it was difficult to replace cheap labor in the furniture sector in India. The Chinese investors were telling the company to relocate to China because after so many years of breakneck growth in China, there is a better ecosystem of these robots there because the labor cost has risen by more than 10 times in China over the last 30 years!
3. You've been recognized as a "Thought Leader" and "Thought Influencer." How do you stay up-to-date with the latest trends and insights in the rapidly evolving startup and investment landscape?
I am an avid reader since school time. I keep myself up to date by reading relevant publications and nowadays listening to podcasts and other media. Over the years of reading almost 3 hours every day, and taking pains to research on areas about which I knew less but had a number of questions in my mind, I happened to develop my own thoughts about various macro and micro topics. I also took to writing. In 2013-14, I had a blog called "Indus Churning" on which there were 59 articles written by me and it had 2.6 million hits on the platform. Writing brought about a lot of clarity of thought because once you write, then you start understanding the lacuna in your own flow of thinking. Also, having done more than 300 events, webinars and talks over the last 8 years, enabled me to exchange views with luminaries from different sectors and countries, and developed an original way of thinking on venture capital, startups, funding, economics, politics, social and impact causes, on Indic spirituality and theological thought, on Hinduism and on India, my beloved country
I would recommend the Blog on our website - https://www.kansaltancy.com/blog/ - and also Inc42, VCcircle and YourStory as the go-to platforms for keeping yourself up to date about the Global and Indian Startup scenario. Feel free to check my YouTube channel - Tushar Kansal - which has more than 300+ videos of my work. Check my Corporate podcast - "Right! with Tushar Kansal" and my Spiritual podcast - "Aradhya by Tushar Kansal"
4. You've been involved in mentoring and judging startup pitch events at prestigious institutions. What qualities do you look for in startups when evaluating their potential for success?
The process of understanding startups and judging them for the purpose of investment has not changed since 1960 when the investments really started from Silicon Valley in the US. First of all, you have to understand the particular sector whether it has a force in it and whether it is going strong or not in the particular country in which the startup is. Then you have to understand whether the company in which you are investing actually is capturing the growth smartly and what is the performance of the company in financial terms since the last 6 to 9 months. Then you have to look at the market size whether the market size is huge enough to give room to the startup to achieve a larger market share in the following five years so that you can take an exit at. When I was a Shark at Shark Tank India at IIT-Delhi, I could see a particular focus on Technology as a way to capture market share and reach out to consumers and this was particularly heartening.
5. Being well-connected with global investors, could you share a memorable cross-border deal that you were part of, and what made it stand out to you?
One of the most memorable deals was a medical device company which was based in Switzerland with an office in India. The Company created a new cochlear implant which basically is a huge requirement for people with low or zero hearing ability and a large population in countries like India, Pakistan and Iraq have this particular disability. The company took great care to bring the latest technology at a low price with a low maintenance cost thereby benefiting a large section of people not only in Asia but in Southeast Asia as well as South America. The social component of the deal was particularly heartening as our work allowed a large section of poor people to gain access to this particular technology enabling them to hear and lead a better life.
6. Could you walk us through your approach to providing financial and business advisory to startups? How do you tailor your advice to suit different sectors and stages of growth?
This is a very good question. Each sector requires years of looking at the sector, studying its variables, understanding how the market is behaving/ moving and over a period of time one develops a fine understanding of how this market is further likely to pan out. We have in-house know-how and quality teams to understand various sectors like FinTech, HealthTech, EdTech, Artificial Intelligence, Machine Learning, Logistics and so on. The advice to each sector starts becoming crystallized once we start working on the business plan of the company by having initial discussions with the founders. As and when we reach a point where the business plan gets firmed up, our advice also becomes crystal clear for the founders. But in many cases, the business plan itself is moving, and changing in the future, so the founder also has to keep up to date and educate the investor as well as the reasons why the pivot to the business plan is happening. Kansaltancy Ventures, today, is the most reputed boutique investment bank in the field of venture capital, having helped more than 5000 startups since 2016 by way of Equity, Debt and M&A's
7. Your experience includes executing Venture Capital deals at Deloitte and Brand Cap. Can you share an example of a particularly complex deal you were involved in and how you navigated its challenges?
One large complex transaction which I did was a structured deal with various banks involved including Deutsche Bank, Raiffeisen bank and ING Vysya. When I was heading Treasury and Corporate finance at MTS, the Russian Telecom Company, there was a need for raising money and the amount involved was INR 1240 crore which was about USD 200 million. There were problems raising this money from Indian banks because of the 2G scam in which the Indian entity's name had surfaced. So we decided to do a complex cross border deal wherein there were 4 legs - Austria, Russia, India and Singapore. It would have been an award winning deal, having been done under a very adverse international scenario and under the weight of the Indian entity having been embroiled in government Investigation and a large court case but because of the already-running adverse commentary in the press, we decided not to divulge details of this wonderful deal!
8. As a Venture Advisor with Loyal VC, how do you identify promising investment opportunities from a diverse portfolio of over 300 investments in more than 60 countries?
Loyal VC is an index fund which identifies opportunities based on select criteria like the Founder should be an INSEAD alumni and that there should have been a previous investment in the company and hence some kind of a benchmark. The VC Fund is very structured in terms of its investment thesis, the tickets, the background of the founders, focus on technology, select criteria on the percentage of women founders and a huge focus on diversity - which means that those 300+ deals have been done in over 60 plus countries. Our role is huge in terms of being on the panel to hear the Startup Founders, evaluate their Business Plan, identify niche opportunities for growth and structuring the transaction. With great satisfaction, I can say that it has been a marvelous journey and a largely fulfilling relationship.
9. You've raised substantial funds for MTS India and have been part of fundraising efforts for startups. What strategies do you find most effective when it comes to attracting investors and securing funding?
The biggest hygiene factor which an investor looks at while evaluating the investee company for the first time, as unbelievable it may sound, is actually how trustworthy the company is and what is the reputation of the company in the market. If the company has a good name across countries, then the banks surely instruct the local branches to lend for the local operations of the companies because they have a global relationship. To give an example, when I was in MTS, the parent company based in Russia - Sistema - the largest Telecom company in Russia - had gotten all its subsidiaries in a number of countries to have a cross-default clause amongst each other. This clause meant that if one company of the group in a particular country defaulted on a loan in that country, then all the loans taken by all the companies in different countries would be counted as default and would be due to the banks in each country. You can imagine the effect of this clause, that if a particular company in the country was defaulting on a loan, all the other companies across countries were forced to look at their cash in hand and actually lend money to the defaulting company so that the default doesn't happen. This meant that no company of the group ever defaulted on any loan in any country. With this clause, the kind of reputation Sistema, the holding company, actually had with all the banks, was very high and the Group was seen as totally trustworthy which would never default on even a small loan in any country.
Other factors would be meeting compliances in the right manner, as in having auditors and legal firms with a clean record in the market, enjoying high ratings given by reputed rating agencies, and more so - operating businesses which had a steady free cash flow which means that the servicing of the loans won't be an issue at any point in time.
10. With your expertise in creating documents and collaterals for VC funding, what elements do you consider essential in a pitch deck to make it compelling to potential investors?
The pitch deck is essentially a document which captures the business plan of the company in short, it should not be longer than 14 to 15 slides ideally. The pitch deck should capture the problem statement, the solution, the team, the market size, the traction of the business as of now, the five year projections as in what will the company achieve by utilizing the money, the amount of money the company wants to raise, how those funds will be deployed and the look and feel of the product as also any intellectual property associated with it. The Company should also mention the moats around the business, and also give a sense of any previous funding round and the status of the capital table as it looks.
11. Could you discuss your role as a mentor and judge in startup pitch events? What are some common mistakes you've seen startups make during their pitches, and how do you advise them to improve?
When I started Kansaltancy ventures in 2016, my senior from MBA college Mr V Swaminathan, while in a meeting at his house, requested me to be a judge at an event in our University which his VC fund was sponsoring. I said yes and after the event, I got a number of people approaching me and I really liked it. Subsequently, another platform approached me for judging their event. In some time, Venture Capital TV guys approached me from Singapore to be on their panel discussion on the TV. I again said yes and ended up doing 51 episodes across different sectors for VCTV! Since 2016, I have done more than 300 webinars, talks and events across marquee platforms like IIT 's, IIM 's, Ivy League colleges, top corporate bodies like TIE, FICCI, PHD Chamber of Commerce, media platforms like CNN news 18 and Business World. I have also written a number of articles on critical issues on the blog on our website - https://www.kansaltancy.com/blog/ - as also on platforms like Inc42 and Business World.
Satellite player Tata Play’s channel number 510, call "Har Ghar Startup" is part owned by Mr Sunil Shetty. My life story has been playing there since the last 6 months by the name "The Hustler - Tushar Kansal". A series of 9 episodes is also playing on the channel called "Business ki Pathshala" in which I discuss a different sector and a different topic in each episode. The same series and my life story is also available on Tata Play app and the website
The biggest mistakes made by Startup founders are - First, they start believing that the money is being raised on the pitch deck and not on the business. The pitch deck is just a presentation of the Business plan - at the end of the day, the Business has to speak out, the Founder has to speak out, the Opportunity has to speak. Second, they start believing that a presence of a large market itself means that the startup will become a Unicorn. Markets like India are highly complex, very price sensitive, service sensitive and quality sensitive. Number of customers is easy to get but converting them to a paying business is difficult to achieve. The other mistake which the Founders make is that they read the media and come to believe that any company will become a billion dollar company, my advice is don't get discouraged, but be realistic. Focus on the fundamentals, focus on quality teams, and enjoy the journey more than the result, and you will surely create a great company.
12. You've been sought after for expert opinions by leading business news channels and publications. How do you balance your responsibilities as a professional while engaging with the media and sharing insights?
This is a very good question. We have confidentiality and ethical clauses with our clients, business partners as well as other stakeholders. Kansaltancy Ventures, as a business, never divulges any proprietary information about any of its clients, no matter which media platform or corporate federation or corporate chamber it may be. We believe that protecting the confidentiality of our clients is not only a legal responsibility but a fiduciary duty for us as a business. In my talks at CNN News 18, I came in primetime, have done more than 13 articles for Business World, articles for Inc42, and a number of podcasts and talks. Being a knowledge driven company, we discuss our thoughts on various market happenings but we take enough care that nothing should be divulged which would damage our clients business.
13. Your extensive global network includes 450+ investors. Can you share a key lesson you've learned about building and nurturing relationships with investors, especially in cross-border contexts?
As in all walks of life, investors also come with different natures and backgrounds. Someone likes to discuss knowledge and believes in knowledge sharing platforms, some are more party oriented and like to enjoy while doing the business, some treat it as a job wherein it is their responsibility and duty to invest the money raised from other investors, some are angel investors who are investing their own money and hence would love anyone who can take them up the ropes and make them learn investing as also bring them quality companies for them to invest and earn a return. More often than not, I have found that investors love knowledge sharing and exchanging quality deals. Example, an investor will bring his investee companies to another one to solicit investment and at the same time he would offer to invest in the investee companies of the other investor - so it's a give and take kind of work. One peculiar thing which I've seen across all marquee investors is that they want the final decision of the investment to be taken by them as they really believe that they have it in them to generate the alpha or solid return on investment.
14. You received executive education in Leadership from Harvard Business School. How has this education influenced your leadership style and approach to managing Kansaltancy Ventures?
Content has been democratized with the advent of huge EdTech companies and platforms like Khan Academy, Coursera, EDx, Unacademy, Udemy and many platforms which offer degrees and not only certificates. Companies like Tesla have even done away the requirement of a degree while applying to them! And content is also very easy to digest and consume because it comes in very simple video formats the tests can be taken online. In such a scenario, getting a degree from Ivy League is not so much about content, but about an environment, about forming relationships with the right kind of people who have seen a lot of success, the alumni networks which offer easy opportunities to gain access to business partnerships, investments, business knowhow and learn and grow by partnering with each other. I value my Engineering and MBA from India equally as compared to my education from Harvard Business School.
15. In your journey from receiving an MBA in Finance to becoming an entrepreneur and investor, what pivotal moment or realization encouraged you to start your own venture, Kansaltancy Ventures?
After my stints at corporates like Deloitte and Touche, Brand Capital and finally becoming CFO of a company owned by the USD 200 billion Guggenheim Partners, I had started a Startup in Hair extensions business. After 3 years of managing it, I realized that I was majorly handling the market side. There was a realization that all my life I had studied finance, I had been trained as a finance professional all throughout these two decades, and hence I started Kansaltancy Ventures in 2016. Finance was my bread and butter, it is my calling and it is what I love as well. And I sincerely believe that behind a good CEO, there is actually a CFO who understands the financial side of business very well. Since college, my belief that Technology and Finance are the two core areas on which the world runs, has always stayed true and hence Kansaltancy Ventures, in its 8 year journey, has seen tremendous success and today, it is the go-to Investment Bank for Venture Capital, Debt and Mergers & Acquisitions - and over the years, we have helped over 5000+ Startups achieve their aims and objectives.
Linktree - https://linktr.ee/tusharkansal
Corporate website - https://www.Kansaltancy.com
LinkedIn - https://www.linkedin.com/in/tusharkansal/
Expert Speaking website - https://www.TusharKansal.com
Venture Capital Tv videos - https://latoken.com/vctv/investor/1040
YouTube - https://www.youtube.com/c/TusharKansal
YouTube Playlist Talks/ Events/ Shows - https://www.youtube.com/playlist?list=PLgrWugpMQEmY8UWwJOEiZ1ICcsSD9tgBk
YouTube playlist VCTV (Venture Capital Tv) shows - https://www.youtube.com/playlist?list=PLgrWugpMQEmbyMzpcsJQkYYDIu6JxiZUh
YouTube playlist VCTV (Venture Capital Tv) shows –