interview is a part of Startup Terminal interview series to mark the occasion
of ‘International Women’s Day’
Please tell us more about yourself.
Khosla: I consider
myself to be an example of a diversified Indian. This is enhanced by the fact
that being an army man’s daughter, I had the privilege of being exposed to
several cultures within the country during the early years of my life. This
probably formed a part of my holistic development and the mind was trained to
be independent and proactive from an early stage itself. The inclination
towards being a lawyer was therefore almost a natural progression.
|Archana Khosla, Founder Partner, Vertices Partners|
coming from a middle class background the urge to create something of my own
was sowed quite early in my mind. The entrepreneurial streak was something that
needed to be watered and after a period of the better part of the last decade of
having worked with some of the eminent law firms in India, I finally decided to
give in to my entrepreneurial dream, which had me ever-beckoning and go ahead
and establish VERTICES PARTNERS, along with my other co-founding partners. The
idea was to create a boutique law firm which believes in being the best in the
specific genres of practice, with a primary focus on venture capital, private
equity, corporate commercial, dispute resolution, bankruptcy, banking and
finance, stressed assets and special opportunities.
Who is your biggest influence in life?
Khosla: If I were to
provide an analogy for this, I’d compare life to a book and the relevant
persons as either chapters or as pages. Some manage to range from the prologue
to the epilogue whereas some could be just a page. However, the term
‘influence’ is rather relative and I would say that I have been privileged to
have some remarkable people around me who have always been high value adds in a
complete manner. From the way, my parents brought me up which made me believe
that a woman is in no manner second to a man, to the way my husband firmly
established that belief and helped cultivate the ideology that one needs to
dream, believe and achieve, to the team that I believe is the foremost form of
my investment in building a legacy, all of these and some other key elements
have been a great influencer in building me as a person and my philosophies.
What challenges do you face in your day to day professional life, if any?
Khosla: I am a
first-generation lawyer and more so an entrepreneur. This itself comes with its
own share of challenges. Everything that one would normally take for granted in
a job is something that one would be accountable in one’s entrepreneurial
venture. Given that I had no legacy handed over to me, building everything from
scratch has been definitely challenging. Also, competing with well-known
established law firms and to create a niche genre of identity and to try and
champion that also brings with it several elements of challenge. Also, while it
is believed that gender discrimination or sexism is a thing of the past, I
sometimes feel that it still subsists, while in a far subtler form.
Where do you want to see yourself in next 5 years down the line?
Khosla: If you were
to ask me this sometime back, I would have probably categorized this as one of
the typical clichéd questions with an equally clichéd response. However, today,
I would look at this very differently. I would like to see the sense of
achievement be culminated into how VERTICES would have shaped up into. The
team, that I believe is my largest form of investment, I would love to see that
blossomed into established individuals. I would like to contribute to the
society in some form or the other and most importantly, I would like to see myself
to be hopefully a reason and a reference
for women, to go ahead and break through the regular regime of playing it safe
and remaining within the frames of employment and taking that plunge into
living their dreams and getting more and more entrepreneurial. We need more
women to come out of the shadows and take the main frame center stage and
believe in themselves and live their dreams.
What is your message to the readers on ‘International Women’s Day’?
Khosla: The larger
part of how society brings across the mind frame of treating a woman can go
into a long way to build that woman’s self-confidence or go against her ability
to create an impact. Infact most of the times, even without being on the face
of it, circumstances could well prevent a woman to achieve her true potential
and infact affect her confidence.
out there is to be yourself and more importantly to be true to yourself, have
confidence in who you are and do not hesitate talking about your
accomplishments. Remaining true to yourself and finding your own voice are the
keys to rising above preconceived expectations. Don’t worry of being treated
differently in business because of your gender. To borrow a quote “The bottom
line is, if you’re successful, no one cares whether you are a man or a