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IAN's 'Offbeat' Investment Bets

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Padmaja Ruparel, 

Co-founder, Indian Angel Network
age: 58
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In a year peppered with lockdowns, Padmaja Ruparel, co-founder, Indian Angel Network, does not remember taking even one Sunday off. Getting people to invest and unlocking their money was difficult in uncertain times. Navigating the first four-five months was a struggle, but as engagements with people increased on virtual platforms, things started to fall in place. One of the big questions was how to raise money. All along, investor relations have been face-to-face, which was out of question during the pandemic. "We started to engage with people on virtual platforms, understand what kind of investments they were looking at and managed to deploy money in very interesting companies," says Ruparel. Among them was Nocca Robotics, which started off as a waterless solar panel cleaning robot. During the pandemic, it developed a ventilator in 95 days. Then there was Astrome, based on 5G technology, and Skylark Drones, which provides a platform for other drone companies to come and work on it. The lockdown, however, meant a lot more handholding of young start-ups. That's nothing new for Ruparel who grew up in a business family in Kolkata and shifted to Delhi after marriage. She was also instrumental in setting up India's first TiE Chapter in Delhi along with Saurabh Srivastava. The rest as they say is history.

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