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Director of Investments, Shambhavi Mishra is named Top 10 Indian Women Business Leader in Canada by Women Entrepreneur
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AMALGAMATING FEARLESSNESS & STRATEGY TO CREATE GLOBAL SUCCESS STORIES

Adversities are often the best teachers in life. Not only do they build one’s character and grit but also present opportunities for growth. The life journey of global business leader Shambhavi Mishra is a true testament to the transformational power of challenges. Primarily raised by her mother in a middle-class family, Shambhavi’s childhood was filled with its own set of challenges. But observing her mother’s struggles to rise as an entrepreneur inspired her at an early age.

Fuelled by positivity, she firmly believes that if one has the conviction and perseverance, the universe conspires to make their desires into reality. And Shambhavi’s desire to succeed as a business leader has been the driving force behind her long and illustrious career as a VC. Currently functioning as the Director of Investments for Brand Capital International, she was instrumental in bringing their North American offices to new heights by establishing an outpost in Canada

Shambhavi leverages her 15 years of experience in venture capital investments, operations, and business strategy across US, Canada and India and brings in a deep global network & outlook to all her portfolio companies.

The astute business leader also strongly believes in giving back to the society. She actively supports the cause of girl child education in India's Himalayan state of Ladakh. Shambhavi also champions the cause of women and underrepresented founders in entrepreneurship and actively supports them.

It is an honor for us to recognize her as one of the “Top 10 Indian Women Business Leaders in Canada".

In an in-depth interview with the Women Entrepreneur Magazine team Shambhavi shares with us her exceptional life journey and lessons that she learnt on the way.

TAKE US THROUGH YOUR EARLY EDUCATIONAL JOURNEY AND PRIOR INDUSTRY EXPERIENCE. HOW DOES YOUR PRIOR INDUSTRY EXPERIENCE AID IN YOUR CURRENT ROLE LEADING BRAND CAPITAL INTERNATIONAL?

I did my schooling in Lucknow, and earned an engineering degree. I worked for Infosys for a few years and gradually realized that coding wasn't my calling. I went on to pursue my MBA degree from Singapore. I started my consulting journey at IBM as a strategy & technology consultant. and then eventually joined McKinsey. Those were the game changing years of my life, and inspired me to be hungry for knowledge and growth

Later, I joined Boston Analytics, which is a boutique consulting firm and assisted several Fortune 500 companies in developing their go-to-market strategies and scaling them into international markets. It taught me about how businesses and their founders operate in terms of vision, strategy, and business operations This was a true learning experience and a foundation for me to step into the competitive world of Venture Capital.

Being a VC makes you a part of various success stories since you invest in several firms. One on hand it enables you to identify next gen opportunities, but on the other hand this comes with a great responsibility because you are directly responsible for the growth of the startups that you invest in. On behalf of my firm, I recently invested in a Finland based education platform, and I’m on the verge of closing another deal in a gaming company based out of Canada.

INTRODUCE US TO BRAND CAPITAL INTERNATIONAL. WHAT LEADERSHIP PHILOSOPHIES DO YOU FOLLOW IN ORDER TO DRIVE GROWTH WITHIN THE ORGANIZATION?

As the strategic investment arm of Bennett Coleman & Co Ltd. (BCCL) and the Times Group, we're the largest media conglomerate in India. We are the thought leaders and experts on bringing new companies to the Indian market. With our deep domain expertise and insight into the Indian media landscape, we channel that knowledge into every investment we make; thereby giving our companies the ability to thrive in one of the world's fastest growing markets.

I am a firm believer of a hands-on leadership concept, where you actively work as a player in your team. We are a small team and I am heavily involved in the day-to-day activities of the organization. As a leader you must clearly identify each person's strengths and encourage their best for the benefit of the business.

My goal is to always to think long term. If you're investing in the company today, you need to know its charter for the next five to ten years down the line. And, more importantly, will that road be profitable enough? You must present yourself as a thought leader - what is happening globally, virtually, and culturally is paramount.

YOU’VE BEEN A RISK TAKER THROUGH LIFE. TELL US ABOUT SOME SUCH PROFESSIONAL ANECDOTES FROM YOUR PROFESSIONAL JOURNEY. ALSO, TAKE US THROUGH YOUR JOURNEY TOWARDS STRENGTHENING BRAND CAPITAL INTERNATIONAL’S PRESENCE IN CANADA?

I grew up in a middle-class family where ambition and education were greatly valued. My mother is a social entrepreneur and has broken multiple glass ceilings herself. She is my inspiration; it is because of her that I have the drive to experiment with new opportunities and constantly innovate myself. While working as a management consultant in Mumbai, my life was good. The company benefited from my work as well, but I wanted to create an impact on new businesses. At the same time I wanted to visually see the impact come to fruition and challenge myself.

In 2015, I changed my stream and joined Times Group's venture capital arm. I began working with founders to scale their businesses, provide mentorship support and enabling them on the pathway to success While I was making an impact, I did not feel that it was enough of a personal challenge and I wasn’t ready to settle down in one place.

I decided to take the plunge to bet on myself and moved to Canada. I applied for permanent residency and came here with the hopes of continuing to see action to my goals and build my investment portfolio in the position I hold in the VC space. The Times Group's leadership team saw what I was capable of and provided me the opportunity to start the "Brand Capital International" office in Canada.

Since the time I moved to Canada in 2019, I've done investments in about five to six companies from Canada, New York, UK and Europe, and I've also expanded the team with two new locally based employees . I’m currently also overseeing investments for the Times Group in New York and Boston. And, ideally, we will have a presence in Europe next year. It’s been an upward and exciting journey so far. The office is well-established and has become a case study for the Brand Capital San Francisco Headquarters.

My personal belief is that even if you are a risk taker, no matter where you come from if you have a purposeful intention in life and a drive to make your dreams happen the universe will provide you with the right support at the right time.

WHAT WOULD YOU ADVICE WOMEN WHO ASPIRE TO BECOME BUSINESS LEADERS & ENTREPRENEURS?

I was raised by a strong woman who is a living example of being truly fearless. She has taught me to be brave in pursuing my true passion. I would advise women to stop worrying about what other people think about you and the preconceived notions of what you should be; instead, explore your full potential, be strong and fearless in achieving what you want, and never lose faith in yourself.

The world is an open canvas. So paint your own masterpiece. Even if you have to walk alone, go ahead, people who believe in you, your vision, and your journey will come with you and those who didn’t were never a part of your journey.