This series will look at leadership from the point of view of an investor or VC.

In each episode of this series, we will explore what traits, behaviors, or red flags investors see in the leaders that they work with – and how founders evolve over time as they become better leaders.

Rajiv Vaishnav is the co-founder and Managing Partner at Cornerstone Venture Partners Fund. He is the Honorary Executive Chairman of Start-ups council of India, and was an integral part of NASSCOM’s senior management team for 13+ years. 

From humble beginnings to working with renowned organizations like Reliance and NASSCOM, Raji’s career has been defined by seizing opportunities and making a difference. With an entrepreneurial spirit, he co-founded Thai, an organization that empowered entrepreneurs in India. 

Rajiv’s leadership evolved through the challenges of working with both small startups and big conglomerates, giving him a unique perspective on leadership. His experiences have shaped his approach to working with founders, emphasizing the importance of self-monitoring, accountability, and taking ownership. 

His management style is rooted in storytelling, using anecdotes and experiences to inspire and guide others. He believes in the power of faith, confidence, and trusting mentors to navigate the unpredictable path of success. 

With a focus on passion, problem-solving, and societal impact, he encourages aspiring entrepreneurs to embark on an inside-out journey, where fulfillment comes hand-in-hand with financial success.

You can find Rajiv at the below links

In the interview, Rajiv shares

  • “I had a very humble beginning coming from a middle-class background, and I always wanted to do some business of my own.”
  • “I have gone with the flow and have no regrets. I was at the right time with the right set of people, and those people have really changed my life.”
  • “Every job I’ve done, I was either the first person in that organization or my boss was not sitting in the next cabin.”
  • “Confidence in yourself and belief in yourself are key factors in leadership and personal growth.”
  • “Leadership and mentorship may sound pompous, but for me, it’s about taking ownership, being self-monitoring, and being accountable for your actions.”
  • “Having faith and trusting your mentors’ advice, even when it seems unconventional, can lead to unexpected opportunities.”
  • “Management by storytelling is my style. I love sharing anecdotes and experiences of life to inspire and guide others.”
  • “The difference between an entrepreneur and an employee lies in the mindset. An entrepreneur is driven by passion to solve societal problems, while an employee’s focus is often on money and fulfillment.”
  • “Success doesn’t come from rushing. It requires balance, faith, and the ability to adapt to unexpected situations.”
  • “The entrepreneurial journey involves co-creating, building products, working with people, and finding solutions that customers are willing to pay for.”