Being a Venture Advisor for Unitus Ventures

share this article
Share on facebook
Share on linkedin
Share on twitter
In this article

Venture advisor Karan Wallia shares the challenges and rewards of advising impact entrepreneurs some 8,000 miles away

PicHaving been trained in business management, the most effective way I can make a difference is by offering my knowledge, skills and expertise to impact entrepreneurs. In my first job after business school, I quickly realized how easy it is to get sucked in to “everyday corporate life” and how slowly that can become your way of life. I believe I am an entrepreneur at heart, and through working as a Venture Advisor, I really enjoyed being part of a start-up once again.

My first engagement was working hands-on with Caravan, a niche handicrafts retailer in India, in developing their Series-A pitch. My background in finance from my prior investment banking days and my current role in business development at Microsoft Retail made this a natural match. My next engagement is working on building a scalable B2B model for a grocery retailer.

caravan-logoEngaging with a team 8,000 miles away on a daily basis via Skype for over four weeks has its challenges, but it was much smoother than I expected. One thing that worked surprising well was the time difference (~12 hours). I would be free after work in the evenings and that was the best time for the Caravan team.

I prefer to work very closely with the entrepreneurs rather than in a consulting capacity hence our rhythms were shorter and meetings ran a little longer. In this particular engagement, we were working against a deadline and needed to develop a Series-A pitch from scratch. I spent a fair bit of time learning about the business and then worked closely with the leadership team on how best to tell their story. Our working sessions would last a couple of hours over Skype with discussions and debates around every aspect of the business. We had a check-in call every day and each team member including myself had slides to create or research to do.

The sheer dedication our team shared fueled my enthusiasm to make this a successful pitch. I genuinely enjoyed the mutual respect and trust we shared as a team, and look forward to building similar relationships with impact entrepreneurs in the future.

Learn more about Caravan>
View our entire list of venture advisors>
Sign up to be a venture advisor>

Subscribe to

Our monthly roundup of funding initiatives, meetups
and latest trends in startup tech.