Vishal H
IMPACT INVESTING

Vishal H. Kewalramani

#103

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Investor, Family Office, LP, Entrepreneur

Honesty with investors – Vishal H.

“But that’s the life of an entrepreneur. It’s not about who’s going to let me. It’s about who’s going to stop me. That’s the mindset that you got to have. you’ve got to take rejection every day of the week, from customers, from your investors, and employees. So, you have to have thick skin as an entrepreneur.”

ABOUT

A seasoned entrepreneur and owner of The Valkin Group. Founder of Elite Models in London.

The Valkin group is a family office and trading company that has global interests in media, fashion, real estate, private equity, philanthropy, films and trading.

We finance and invest in growing businesses in developed markets. We look for businesses with established track records and strong management teams.

Investment Criteria:

– Companies with annual revenue of US$1 to US$80 Million
– Good credit history (No startups under 2 years)
– Located in Developed markets (US, UK, EU, AU, NZ, CA, etc)
– Companies dealing in Physical products, hardware, consumer goods. (No Software or services)

Industries preferred: E-commerce retail, Tech Hardware, Fashion & Clothing, Consumer household goods, Apparel & Accessories, Home Décor, etc. (Low preference for software, services or Real estate currently)

REQUEST INTRODUCTION Arrow

THE FULL INTERVIEW

Vishal H. Kewalramani

The full #OPNAskAnAngel talk

Jeffery: Welcome to the Supporters Fund Ask An Angel. I’m your host, Jeffery Potvin. And, today let’s welcome Vishal Harris Chandra. Thank you very much for joining us today.
Vishal: My pleasure to be here.
Jeffery: we’re very excited to have you on especially because you’re in one of my favorite countries which is Singapore. And, you can’t go wrong with Singapore. It’s the hub of all of Asia, or at least I find it is. It connects so many great things that are going on in Asia today. With that excitement, we want to dive right into it. And, we’d love to learn a bit more about your background. I know there’s a lot of great things that you’ve done, especially in the family, office and the venture firm space. So, perhaps you can give us a little bit of a background on yourself and then one thing about you that nobody would know.
Vishal: Sure. happy to be here. Thank you for having me. always a pleasure to take time out and talk to founders and entrepreneurs. So, we’re a single-family office in New York, London, Singapore and Hong Kong. So, usually I’m in London, most of the time. but I get to travel quite a bit. serial entrepreneur, built and sold for businesses. I’ve been lucky in my life. It is in private equity fashion. real estate these days, we get to spend time investing in founders, mostly venture debt. We do quite a bit of hardware consumer goods, and developed markets are always looking for young ambitious founders to begin support. And, what was that thing you mentioned, one thing about you nobody would know. Well, some people would know this. but I mean the first company I ever started was when I was 23 years old. That was on the back of a lottery ticket which I won when I was 23. it was in the press back in the day. but that was about 20 years ago. So, not a lot of people would know that now.
Jeffery: So, you use the funding to do that? or what do you mean by it was on the back of a lottery ticket?
Vishal: I was on the back of a lottery ticket. I actually won a car and I sold the car. And, I got forty thousand dollars for it. I started my business.
Jeffery: wow. That’s amazing. And, where were you at the time when this occurred? Was it in Singapore or London? Which city or country?
Vishal: I was in Dubai at the time.
Jeffery: Wow, that’s pretty cool. I’ve never heard a story where someone had a nice little win and then turned it into a bigger win. So, that’s pretty cool.
Vishal: yeah. It was a win by default. it was more arbitrary. I did that on purpose. And, it was when you’re young and you’re poor and you’re hungry, you’ve got nothing to lose. You sort of try all the angles and you work the numbers and it pays off.
Jeffery: so, wow. That’s brilliant. And, maybe you can talk about a little bit on that side, because what I find really fascinating is that some of the really strong family offices, VCs, investors, have a background in entrepreneurship. And, you obviously attacked it by winning, selling and building a company. What kind of got you interested in that side of things? and why did you jump into entrepreneurship right away and not take a corporate job? What was the push or pull that got you into that space?
Vishal: Well I don’t know. I’m inherently unemployable. I think that’s the best way to put it. my first job out of college, I was getting paid 500 bucks a month. It didn’t seem like a lot of fun. And, I was at entertainment events. I was in exhibitions at that time in Dubai. They used to have a shopping festival where every day you could win a car. you go into a store, you buy something for 10 to 20 bucks, and you can win a car. So, back as a poor kid, I went to the gas station. back in those days, you would have prepaid credit for your mobile phone. So, I would go and buy the credit. I got the raffle ticket with me. I sold the credit, got my money back and I still had the ticket with me. So, I said okay, that’s a great business. So, I could do that infinitely. So, every day after work, I would buy thousands of hours of credit. And, then I would go door to door to the retailers to sell the credit, get my money back so I would put in 50 to 500 coupons a day. And, on the 27th day, I actually won the car. And, then I sold that and started the first business. entrepreneurship has always been in my DNA. And, as they say, you have to be in it to win it. So, if you don’t start somewhere, you’re never going to get there.
Jeffery: And, it kind of sounds like the whole component to this was that you wanted to find ways to make money or pay back the money that you spent to get something, some value out of something. So, which is kind of how entrepreneurs work, which is solving a problem, finding out that there’s a fit and getting the value and exchanging value for currency. And, in your case, you were going in and found a way that if I take these tickets and resell them, I can get my money back and still have an opportunity to have a gain. And, that gain is going to be that I may win a car. If I do this long enough, maybe the odds will be stacked for me because I’ll have enough tickets that will open up my odds of winning. It’s fair to say exactly.
Jeffery: Yeah, that’s a fair way to put it. I mean back in those days. there wasn’t much venture capital around. Nobody would give me any money to start a business. So, I figured I had to go do this myself. well a lot of people probably look at that and say the same thing. but they don’t actually do it. And, you took the job of moving forward and actually going after it and that I think in itself you’re breaking the fear, the stigma of how hard it is to build a company. And, you found a workaround and made it happen. So, kudos because you wouldn’t be sitting here I guess, if you didn’t do all of these. I guess hustle to figure out how to solve that problem