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Urvashi Barooah's rise in venture capital

Venture Capital Success, Urvashi Barooah’s rise revealed

Urvashi Barooah’s rise in venture capital, from rejection to partner, showcases an unstoppable journey of an Indian girl

When Urvashi Barooah applied to MBA programs in 2015, she aimed to become a venture capitalist. Despite rejections from every school and being told her dream was unrealistic, she remained undeterred.

Nine years later, Barooah, now 33, is promoted to partner at Redpoint. She joined the firm as an associate four years ago and became a principal in late 2021. Redpoint, based in Silicon Valley, is investing from its USD 650 million ninth fund. Barooah is one of three partners focused on early-stage investments.

Barooah admitted that business schools were partly right. She knew breaking into the small venture capital industry without contacts in Silicon Valley would be tough. Yet, she didn’t give up. “It did feel impossible at one point,” Barooah said. “I was far removed from the reality. I only knew what was written in the papers.”

Growing up in Guwahati, India, Barooah watched her parents run their businesses. Her dad managed a chemical business, and her mom designed and sold furniture. Her parents encouraged her to forge her path and start her own company. Although she considered it, no idea excited her. Instead, she decided to work with founders.

In 2017, after working as a consultant, Barooah reapplied to U.S. business schools and got into Wharton. She focused on learning everything about venture capital. She talked to entrepreneurs, developed an investment thesis, and cold-called VCs.

Cold calls led Urvashi Barooah from rejection to success in venture capital

After about 50 cold calls, she secured an internship at Primary Venture Partners in 2019. Soon after, she got another at Redpoint, leading to a full-time role.

Barooah’s upbringing didn’t introduce her to venture capital, but it made her a better VC. Watching her parents’ successes and failures taught her resilience in business.

“They always fought against the odds,” Barooah said. “They taught me to keep moving forward despite setbacks. If a company faces a setback, it’s just part of the course.” Her portfolio includes Dune Analytics, Offchain Labs, and The Rounds. She also has two new investments with board seats.

Barooah learned that the best VCs adapt to the market. Initially, she backed blockchain and crypto companies, but now focuses on vertical SaaS startups using AI.

“I started in venture four years ago knowing nothing,” Barooah said. “I’ve shaped my judgment on what a good company is. I have more successes now, which gives me confidence to take contrarian bets. In VC, it’s about believing in things no one else believes and being right.”

Tell your success story to C500s and inspire others, just like Urvashi Barooah’s journey in venture capital.


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