- Ash LilaniGeneral PartnerFounder & Managing Partner
Hi, I’m Ash!
I’ve worked on the cusp of technology and venture capital globally for over 30 years, where I’ve been lucky to have met some of the most brilliant entrepreneurs and disruptors of the century. I mentor several young companies in India and Silicon Valley and am constantly energized by the enthusiasm and limitless potential of people and technology to transform the world. These experiences have given me what I value most in my career, a series of meaningful relationships with some incredible people.
Previously, I founded and headed SVB Global for Silicon Valley Bank, setting the strategy and overseeing the development and operation of international subsidiaries in London, Tel Aviv, Bangalore, Mumbai, Beijing, and Shanghai. Prior to taking on SVB’s globalization efforts, I served as Senior Vice President and Division Manager of SVB’s largest market and was based in Silicon Valley, where I was responsible for commercial banking activity and leadership of the team closely working with leading venture capital and technology companies in the area.
I’m a board member of the American Indian Foundation, a former board member of the U.S.-India Business Council, and was a founder of the U.S.-India Venture Capital Association.
I have two amazing kids, Natasha and Aidan, with whom I love to travel and explore the world. The kids and I are diehard fans of the Philadelphia Eagles football team and travel all over to watch them fly.
Fun Fact: I’m also an avid food and wine enthusiast who likes his wine cellars to be ‘always full’.
- Hemant AsherUS Advisory TeamPartner
Hi, I’m Hemant!
I’m a serial entrepreneur turned VC with over 30 years of experience in Silicon Valley building, scaling, and successfully exiting tech startups to large corporations. My journey spans early-stage startups to scale-ups to large enterprises, where I have held leadership positions managing P&Ls, building customer relations and revenue, and scaling operations. I particularly enjoy rolling up my sleeves and working with passionate entrepreneurs who can operate with their feet in the fire while keeping their heads in the cloud.
At Saama, I am responsible for investing in and growing early-stage startups within the Enterprise Technology segment. The most rewarding part of my role is the opportunity to work with portfolio companies and their founders to help solve complex early-stage and scale-up challenges.
Before joining Saama, I co-founded Enquero, a data analytics company specializing in sales and partner analytics for the Hi-Tech industry, leveraging its flagship IP Platform ‘PowerMe’. Enquero grew from a 3-person startup to 750+ employees in 6 years resulting in a strategic acquisition by Genpact (NYSE: “G”). Post-acquisition, I took over as COO for Genpact’s Analytics business helping the group lay the foundation for scaling the data, AI, and tech-led business model.
Before Enquero, I spent over 8 years working with Infosys in several revenue and market leadership roles. My career before Infosys spanned three software start-ups across supply chain visibility, cross-platform messaging & collaboration, and ERP financial reporting.
Secret Ingredient: I draw energy and inspiration from being with people. Knowing people as individuals first and accepting everyone with their strengths and vulnerabilities; while being honest and open about my own allows me to build successful teams and lifelong friends.
- Kiranbir NagIndia Advisory TeamPartner
Hi, I’m KB!
I’ve worked in finance, be it venture capital, private equity, or investment banking, for the past 25 years. Notwithstanding my training as a finance professional, one of the most important lessons I have learned is the value of building and nurturing human connections. While this has formed the crux of my ‘founder-first’ investment philosophy in VC, my journey started with a more traditional foray into finance.
After obtaining my degree in Commerce from the University of Bombay, I was recruited to the team setting up the Indian arm of Arthur Andersen, an American accounting firm headquartered in Chicago. I was among the first 100 employees working at a firm with a vibrant atmosphere akin to a startup with battlefield-like camaraderie at its core. I then spent a few more years in banking – first, as an Associate Director at ANZ and then leading the South Indian operations for the boutique investment bank, Ambit.
The idea of going above and beyond a transaction to build category-leading companies from the ground up was where I aligned with Ash, and we began to set up Saama. Through the years, I have led several investments and represented Saama’s interests at companies that espoused this philosophy. Additionally, I have also been a Charter Member of TiE and have served as a member of the governing body of its Bangalore Chapter.
I’m married with a daughter and a son. I’m a huge fan of jazz music from the 1950s and 60s (I’m also an amateur guitar player) and am equally passionate about promoting and supporting live music and growing India’s community of audiophiles.
Fun Fact: I would rather start any meal backward with the dessert first and often daydream of moonlighting as a pastry chef.
- Amrita BarthakurIndia Advisory TeamPartner & COO
Hi, I’m Amrita!
I am a transactional lawyer with more than 20 years of experience in the Indian VC/ PE ecosystem. At Saama, I lead all efforts on legal & regulatory affairs, deal structuring & execution, and portfolio management. In addition, I also lead Operations. I greatly enjoy interacting with people and draw energy from working with the entrepreneurs in our portfolio.
Upon graduating with a Law degree in 2002, I worked with Fox Mandal, a leading law firm. Subsequently, I worked with Nishith Desai Associates, where I went on to head the Fund Investments practice. In that capacity, I advised several top venture capital and private equity funds and witnessed the emergence of the Indian venture capital ecosystem from a unique vantage point. In 2011, I joined Saama as its first General Counsel.
In over a decade at Saama, I’ve broadened my repertoire to contribute to the setup of the fund and its people and operations. From overseeing only the legal function, I have, thanks to my colleagues, transcended my original remit to be actively involved in the management of our consumer portfolio. While I tremendously value and enjoy my diversified role at Saama today, I must confess that even after all these years of executing deals, I still can’t resist the draw of involving myself in drafting deal documentation and in legal negotiations!
Apart from my work at Saama, I am very passionate about supporting initiatives that empower women and am a regular mentor/speaker with organizations like The Rebalance, Ladies Who Lead, etc., that are focused on helping women entrepreneurs.
My life outside of work revolves around my family – and especially my two beautiful children, Ananya and Aryan. We, as a family, enjoy spending a lot of time traveling together and discovering new places, cuisines, and experiences.
Fun Fact: When I am not negotiating deal documents, I de-stress by indulging in my love for dancing, especially Bollywood dancing. I am also (in)famous for indulging in unusual pairings of food – curd rice with gobi manchurian, anyone? Or idlis with chicken 65, washed down with some merlot?
- Sridhar RavipatiIndia Advisory TeamCFO
Hi, I’m Sridhar!
My journey with Saama began in 2010, and I have been running the Finance function while working closely with the legal and fund administration teams since.
I started my career at India’s leading credit rating agency as a research associate. I later joined Solar Electric Light Company (SELCO), a renewable energy services company, as a senior finance manager and played a crucial role in bringing mainstream banks and multilateral agencies to join India’s first rural financing program. I subsequently worked with Vistra Corporate Services, spearheading their finance function for corporates seeking to expand into India, including the GP finance function for venture capital funds.
I pride myself in filling the knowledge gaps in various aspects of a company’s business dealings and espousing a solution-oriented approach anchored in helping businesses grow pragmatically. In addition, I enjoy guiding start-ups with my strong accounting and commercial knowledge as they navigate their growth trajectory.
Fun Fact: I am known to have a wicked sense of humor!
- Varun EngineerIndia Advisory TeamSenior Associate
Hi, I’m Varun!
I’m a consumer product and tech investor with a deep understanding of the global landscape and consumer mindsets in emerging markets. I’m inherently curious and a fast learner (and un-learner). The haphazard, multi-pronged life of a venture capitalist suits me perfectly, working with companies in diverse sectors like d2c brands, e-commerce, and fintech, and helping them with a new problem every day, be it strategy, product, brand & marketing, operations, or fundraising.
I graduated from Duke University’s Fuqua School of Business with a Master of Management Studies in 2017, prior to which I earned a BSc (Hons) in Chemistry from the University of Nottingham and also received management training at the London School of Economics. My professional journey started with hands-on experience at Cellworks, a fast-growing Sequoia-backed biotech startup based in Palo Alto.
Prior to Saama, I apprenticed in the founder’s office at Originate, a digital innovation and product development consultancy in Los Angeles, where I was closely involved in fundraising, operations, and restructuring of the technology services business and worked with blue-chip clients like BCG, Nat Geo, and Starbucks on digital transformation projects.
I’ve thrived on being a mix of the creative and the analytical. With experience in England, India, and the US, I bring a global perspective to the table and cross-pollinate my learnings from leading entrepreneurs and business builders. I am passionate about the evolving demands of the modern global consumer and the opportunity to create innovative new products and experiences.
Fun Fact: I’m a restless soul that likes to keep abuzz by constantly changing cities (or countries), hearing new ideas and stories, and enjoying a variety of meals in extraordinary quantities!
- Siddhant PramanickIndia Advisory TeamAssociate
Hi, I’m Siddhant!
I ensure that investment decisions made by the team are founded on well-reasoned analyses stitched together from disparate sources. While working with data has been my forte, being in Saama has taught me that the VC world is as much EQ-led as IQ-led. At Saama, assisting our founders in tackling some of society’s thorniest problems has been tremendously enriching.
While learning how startups work, what it takes to grow them, and how to do diligence on them has been an incredible learning experience, my journey into the VC world wasn’t straightforward. After earning a BSc in Quantitative Economics & Applied Statistics from SMU, I got an opportunity to work in impact investing. Post this foray into finance, I moved to a data analytics company. I later embarked on a Master’s in Applied Development Economics from the LSE.
Upon graduation, I joined an international development consultancy. One of the first clients I worked with was an accelerator that also operated as a VC fund. My responsibilities included appraising and doing diligence on the companies the client wanted to incubate. I enjoyed the work thoroughly and knew it was time to put out feelers into the VC world, and fortunately, Saama happened to me!
Competitive by nature, I’ve always partaken in sports – football and racket sports mostly have given me a good blend of being a team and an independent player. The balance of these skills has come in handy in adapting to the nuances of the VC industry.
Fun Fact: I like spending time in the kitchen, no matter how hazardous I am to my environment at the time!
- Mayank AgarwalIndia Advisory TeamInvestment Analyst
Hi, I’m Mayank!
As the newest addition to the family, I’m excited to contribute to Saama’s ongoing success in the startup ecosystem and assist founders by providing strategic guidance and support. Drawing from my own experiences, I hope to help founders navigate the unique challenges and opportunities that arise during the startup journey.
Prior to joining Saama, I worked as the Head of Business Development at an early-stage SaaS startup offering automated bookkeeping and consultancy services. In this role, I was responsible for developing and implementing the GTM strategy and building the sales channels for the company’s products. I’ve also advised multiple early-stage startups on raising capital.
I started my career as an entrepreneur by establishing a farm-to-market supply chain startup in Bihar, focusing on market linkage and low-cost financing. Through this venture, we enabled over 1,000 farmers to sell their produce directly from their farm gates while creating a pre-harvest credit program for farmers without a formal credit history.
I earned a degree in Management from London Business School. I am a CFA Charterholder and hold a Bachelor of Commerce (Hons.) in Accounting & Finance from St. Xaviers’ College (Autonomous), Kolkata. Outside of work, I enjoy reading non-fiction and playing Texas hold ’em.
Fun Fact: Aviation has always been a subject of great fascination for me, and I am committed to pursuing my dream of acquiring a private pilot’s license.
- Ann OliverIndia Advisory TeamOffice Manager
Hi, I’m Ann!
At Saama, I am responsible for administration, ranging from founder and investor-facing engagement to internal operations. My pragmatic approach to organizing systems and processes helps in the smooth and effective functioning of daily operations in a fast-paced environment that prioritizes quality and relationships.
My professional journey began as a Customer Services Executive at Novo Nordisk, a multinational pharmaceutical company. During my time there, I interacted with a lot of patients with stories to share. It was there that I discovered my management skills and realized how inspired I was by people. This led me to start a newspaper at Novo Nordisk called ‘Prerna,’ which published inspiring life stories of patients I had interviewed.
Thereafter, I moved on to join Saama. My empathetic and solution-oriented nature is required to ensure everyone, from the employees to the founders to the partners and vendors, is made to feel at home every day.
The atmosphere here is always inspiring. I get to work with individuals from different backgrounds who believe strongly in their purpose and ideas. You would think that a VC fund is all about logic and reasoning, but being with Saama has taught me even more about the importance of having empathy and building strong connections with all the people you work with.
Mantra: Slow country music. I listen to it all the time – it helps me work better, even when there’s chaos!