08 Apr 2013

John Mullins

After starting a successful venture capital business, Vani Kola was faced with the dilemma of which company to back next.

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Vani Kola, a successful serial entrepreneur once named one of the ten top entrepreneurs in Silicon Valley, had built and successfully exited two venture capital backed companies there during the technology boom of the 1990s and early 2000s. Subsequently, Vani had returned to her native India to start a venture capital business and spent more than a year successfully raising US$200 million in capital to invest in the burgeoning growth that modern India promised.

By 2008, Vani’s fund had made more than a dozen investments, of which a few had failed early (“The lemons always ripen first,” one of her California-based limited partners had reminded her.). But several of her fund’s companies had made considerable progress, having raised additional rounds of capital at sharply higher valuations, and one in particular was looking like a huge winner. Vani was optimistic that there would soon be a couple of exits, which would make it possible for her to raise a second fund. First, however, there were more deals to be done.

Thus, on her desk were the business plans of three potential companies the fund could back. The three businesses – MobileSpice, Belle Femme, and Verde Pvt Ltd – operated in different industries and were at different stages of their product and business development. It was time to decide which of the companies merited further due diligence, and which, if any, should be dropped from any further consideration.

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About John Mullins

John Mullins is an Associate Professor of Management Practice in Marketing and Entrepreneurship at London Business School.

He teaches on the following programmes: