On July 20, SVGH partnered with Aaroogya International to host a conversation with Ms. Paula Mariwala. Interviewed by Aaroogya's co-founder, Dr. Priyanjali Datta, Ms. Mariwala is an early stage investor in Aaroogya, and an experienced advocate in sustainability, social impact, women empowerment, and education. As well as being a trained physicist, technologist, philanthropist, engineer, business woman, and mentor, Ms. Mariwala is currently an investor in innovative impact investments.
As a physicist, Ms. Mariwala told of her training in not only solving problems, but discovering challenges as well.
“Technology for the sake of technology is not what excites me, you have to apply it, and you have to see the impact it creates,” Ms. Mariwala posited; to Ms. Mariwala, the dot com bubble burst of 2000 brought to the forefront of entrepreneur and investor minds the fact that businesses need to be solving a real, substantial problem, as opposed to inventing technology for the point of keeping up the trend of cutting edge growth.
Growing up, Ms. Mariwala saw firsthand the change that tech made in India, stating that “access to technology was changing the nation” of India. Inspired by her father, whose company was responsible for bringing some of the first computers into India, Ms. Mariwala started a seed fund—so early in the industry that she was able to name it simply “seed fund”—to invest in businesses that were solving problems in India with strategies designed and implemented by Indians.
To Ms. Mariwala, the role of an angel investor is in part to lessen the load on a new founder by opening their network for the founder’s use, while also holding the founder accountable and being brutally honest when needed. “You want an angel investor who is demanding,” Ms. Mariwala said, “who will make you think, who will make you take some hard decisions.” In this process: “the angel investor has to bet on a founder who will be a learner for life. Founders have to learn a lot, and also have to unlearn a lot,” Ms. Mariwala states. If a founder is too focussed on one aspect—for instance, developing the technical aspects of a product—that founder, Ms. Mariwala said, will need a co-founder to learn the rest of the elements of how to run a business.
This is only the first episode with Ms. Mariwala, so stay tuned for more information about the second interview episode coming soon. In the meantime, you can access this episode by clicking the link below: