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Jyotsna KrishnanManaging Partner

Jyotsna is Managing Partner at Elevar. She leads the firm’s investing strategy and priorities in India, and the firm’s investing team that is based in Bangalore. Her leadership role in India includes sourcing and underwriting of new investment opportunities, portfolio management, partnering with entrepreneurs to achieve scale, while actively supporting the firm’s Latin America investing team. She has played a global role in building core organizational values and operational systems / processes at Elevar.

Jyotsna has 16+ years of work experience spanning banking, retail financial services, strategy, and  building businesses as an early stage investor. She has tremendous admiration for low-income communities and her favorite time is spent in the field, gathering customer insights and figuring out connections with capital markets. In nearly 10 years at Elevar, she has had a leadership role in making investments that have demonstrated a clear link between financial markets and sectors such as agriculture, affordable education and mobility for low income communities.

Prior to Elevar, Jyotsna was at HSBC and worked directly with the bank’s India leadership. While at HSBC, she had multiple roles in the context of retail distribution, including strategy, business finance, sales, operations, business intelligence and training and development. Jyotsna is a Commerce graduate from Shri Ram College of Commerce, Delhi University and completed her MBA from SP Jain Institute of Management & Research, Mumbai. She is a Chartered Financial Analyst®.

Jyotsna will be found in her free time walking around her little green neighbourhood, headphones on and old Hindi music blaring. She enjoys her time with family and will not compromise on her time with her hyperactive son – whose life moments she chronicles if only to embarrass him when he grows up. She loves her yoga sessions and can be depended on to bring the healthiest meals to the Elevar lunch table.

What kind of experience did you have before Elevar?

In terms of my career – a generalist banker – spent close to 8 years across multiple functions in retail banking operations, strategy and finance, analytics and learning and development. Personally, travelled to several smaller towns and cities and connected instinctively with families in underserved markets, their aspirations and drivers of decisions.

What are the most and least favourite parts of your job?

Most fav: the conversations with entrepreneurs where you know discussions translate into magical execution – with near unlimited capacity to drive change through their leadership, and equally, the sparkle in the eyes of families in underserved communities – a sparkle that comes from them relating to a world they may not have seen, and engaging / exchanging notes, sharing stories of their entrepreneurial resilience and tenacity – conversations in the midst of utmost warmth and genuine hospitality. Have to add, food / local meals during field visits is a big attraction. Least fav: seeing experienced entrepreneurs have to deal patiently with less informed / far less experienced professionals representing (much needed) capital, exerting capital influence without necessarily understanding customer / ground up business context.

What is your Elevar career highlight so far?

Spending 14 days – living out of the staff quarters of a rural hospital to understand business dynamics combined with realities of providing healthcare in underserved markets after being challenged by the team on the ground for forming judgement as an Investor without knowing ground realities.

Tell us one great thing you’ve learnt from your colleagues at Elevar?

The courage to have an honest and really tough, blunt conversation – in a way that it helps build further trust instead of breaking relationships – because you care.

Reflections on the nature of entrepreneurship.

The ability to be the source of inspiration and figure out their own sources of inspiration somehow – to (almost) remove capacity constraints by attracting phenomenal talent. Also, the ability to connect and relate to individuals from field staff and customers to upstream capital sophistication with similar ease.

The field visit that made a difference.

Too many – but specifically one where I bonded very well with a woman (farmer community) who was on the board of a farmer producer organisation and was very excited to spend time with yet another woman who was on the ‘board’ of a company.