Vani Kola: an NRI success story

Vani Kola is the typical uber successful Silicon Valley tech entrepreneur whose first e-procurement company RightWorks was acquired by Internet Capital Group (ICG) for $657 million in a deal that valued the start-up at $1.25 billion in 2000. RW was later acquired by I2 Technologies.

Kola, the founder & CEO of the company, received $22 million in cash and about $635 million in stock. But, of course, she didn’t stop there. She went on to set up NthOrbit, a company that supported technology development and seed funding. Her most recent start-up was Certus Software which targeted the Sarbanes-Oxley compliance space and became a market leader in the financial compliance market.

“Software business models are fundamentally changing, so lots of interesting companies that provide a service-based applications will have a role. RFID applications are also interesting and I see a lot of opportunity for security, identity management, regulatory conformance type of solutions,” says Kola, the founder and former CEO of Certus, who is today completely uninvolved with the company and wants to spend the next ten years differently.

“It will be defined by being involved in a few companies deeply and bringing leverage and creating impact. In the last ten years I have been singularly focused on being an entrepreneur/CEO and building my companies,” she adds. As for her future role while she has not fully established the business model which she’s going to adopt, she wants to help young companies into sustainable businesses and work with smart people and enable them to achieve their potential.


Her other interests are raising her two daughters Tara and Sandya and musing about finding the perfect balance between work and family. Kola was supported in her first start-up by Dr Suhas Patil, veteran entrepreneur and VC, who apart from funding RightWorks with $2 million of his money, also mentored her. And today she finds herself in the role of a mentor and IT visionary.

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