Nguyen Thi Phuong Thao
Despite recent efforts to improve gender diversity among Indian startups, the low number of female founders is still a major issue in the country. This is where Ankita Vashistha and her Saha Fund are making a difference.
Saha Fund is India’s first venture-capital fund that promotes women entrepreneurship. The fund was established in 2016 and invests primarily in companies that are led by women or are focused on female-centric products and services.
Vashistha has said she started the fund in part as a response to her own experiences in the VC world, where she was often the only female in the room. This lack of representation among investors often meant that female entrepreneurs were not taken as seriously as their male counterparts, which would lead to lower valuations.
Saha Fund’s current portfolio include Fitternity, India's largest fitness discovery and booking platform, founded by Neha Motwani, Gocoop, an online Global marketplace that enables traditional handloom and handicraft co-operatives and artisans to connect with buyers, and My Ally, a B2B SaaS company that using Artificial Intelligence to enhance professional lives, founded by Deepti Yenireddy.
In one of her most recent investments, Vashistha invested in leap.club, a private professional network for women, cofounded by female entrepreneur Ragini Das.
Along with greater female representation in the industry, Vashistha’s vision also extends to strengthening the fund’s investment strategy in light of changes in the workforce brought by pandemic.
She says, “Innovation and technology is key for sustainable and continued growth globally. Emerging technologies for the future have been proven applicable now given the current pandemic in areas of future of work technologies, cybersecurity and digital platforms.”