Once the face of ICICI Venture, she’s now flying solo with a billion dollar Independent PE fund: Meet Renuka Ramnath

In 1979, Ramnath opted for engineering at Veermata Jijabai Technological Institute, only to be cautioned by the principal that she might be the only woman in the class. Though she ended up having another female classmate for company, her male counterparts often taunted them about how they occupied the seat of a deserving male candidate.

This sort of discrimination only strengthened her resolve to work harder. After securing a degree in textile engineering in 1982, Ramnath decided to get an MBA from Mumbai University. Working for Crompton Greaves and ICICI, Ramnath went on to build group subsidiary ICICI Venture into a name to reckon with, and was even made the head of ICICI Venture in 2001.

Today, the 53-year-old PE veteran runs her own investment advisory firm Multiples Alternate Asset Management. It was April 2009, when Ramnath decided it was finally time to fly solo and quit ICICI. “I sent emails seeking an appointment with people like Deepak Parekh, Ashok Ganguly, NA Soonawala, Arun Gandhi, etc. I doubted if they would want to meet me now that I was a nobody,” she adds. Not only did the above-mentioned recipients of her mail respond, but she was also approached by the heads of a few banks for the top post. That gave her the confidence that people had faith in her investing track record.

Within eight months, Ramnath founded Multiples with ex-ICICI Venture colleague Sudhir Variyar. The company carries the distinction of raising money from 15 institutional investors across the globe. The PE fund, which adopts a sector-agnostic approach to investing, has roped in marquee names such as the Canada Pension Investment Board (CPIB). And with around $1 billion in AUM, Multiples has indeed made its mark. Ramnath believes women should not be constrained by gender biases, and instead, they must first think of themselves as the most qualified for the job at hand. “I am a big believer that if you do the right thing, then the universe will make it successful, itna anyay bhi nahi hai iss duniya mein.”

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