The CXXO program will create a cohort of 8-10 female founder-CEOs each year who have the ambition to create significant impact.

Woman with a business planImage for representation
Atom Startups Thursday, July 29, 2021 - 16:30

CXXO, a Kalaari Capital initiative, has launched a program to level the playing field for female founder-CEOs in India by making it easier for them to access capital, community and coaching. Kalaari Capital has set aside $10 million (~ Rs 74,38,55,000) annually, to invest in startups that have women founders as key decision makers, ideally as CEOs. 

India’s startup ecosystem is booming, with 16 new unicorns minted in 2021 alone, taking the total number to 53. However, only one of the unicorns has a woman as its founder-CEO. Inclusive growth cannot happen without adequate opportunities for women at the top, and more women CEOs need to drive India’s march to a $5 trillion economy for the growth to be inclusive and equitable.  

To address this, the CXXO program seeks to meet the specific needs of each CEO and her startup, providing not only capital but also bespoke support. The program will create a cohort of 8-10 female founder-CEOs each year who have the ambition to create significant impact.  

“Successful female founders as company builders serve an important role in Indian economic development. The CXXO programme will ensure there is no bias and discrimination on access to capital. We believe these founders will pioneer workplaces that are equitable and inclusive for more women to rise. At Kalaari, we have always believed in providing opportunities for diverse entrepreneurs to succeed. This initiative, ably supported by other women leaders, is personally important to me,” said Vani Kola, Managing Director, Kalaari Capital.   

CXXO has set up a leadership team of female pathmakers including Ankiti Bose, Co-founder & CEO, Zilingo; Lathika Pai, Country Head, Microsoft, Venture Capital and PE Partnerships; Paroma Roy Chowdhury, Chief Communications & Public Affairs Officer, Dream Sports; Priyanka Gill, Founder & CEO, POPxo - Plixxo; Saradha Sharma, Founder & CEO, YourStory Media; Vani Kola, Managing Director, Kalaari Capital.

The programme has three pillars: 1) Capital- This programme offers Seed and Series A funding ($500K to $5M) to the cohort and subsequent access to growth funding and resources; 2)  Community- CXXO will activate connections for founders to develop their ideas and grow their businesses. It aims to help female founder-CEOs expand their access to people who matter in their leadership journey; 3) Coaching-Given the limited number of female founder-CEOs in the Indian ecosystem, many of their achievements go unacknowledged and challenges unaddressed. CXXO will match each entrepreneur with a Champion who will play the role of a trusted advisor. 

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