Chandni Jafri juggles many roles as a CEO, yet there is more to her than meets the eye.
There are many reasons to sing paeans to Chandni Jafri, CEO of a top class angel investing firm, Mumbai Angels Network, which has more than 100 portfolio companies and evaluates more than 500 startups every month for funding.
The startup evangelist with about two decades in the industry has created her own individualistic space that goes beyond her work — of investing in startups, consulting and investing in business impact activities. Personally, this theatre person practices Reiki and Buddhism — juggling many roles singlehandedly. Whatever she is involved in, her objective is simple: giving back to society.
Hailing from a theatre family of story tellers, producers and actors, Chandni occasionally dons the hat of a theatre producer. Genes she has no doubt inherited from her author/theatre person dad Vilayet Jafri. The first born among four kids, she makes it a point to do one production a year. “I do not do it for commercial purposes. Like most of my other initiatives, this one is also for charity. When you start doing things for money, there is a different expectation on the other side,” she reasons.
Theatre is an integral part of the activities of Sound and Light Social Ventures Pvt. Ltd. (SLSV), a strategic consulting group founded by Chandni in 2013. “I do a lot of theatre for employee workshops. Again, we do not do it for making money. It is just a segment,”she says.
Chandni is clear about where she needs to tap potential for theatre – it comes from the youth. “I work with artistes, not professionals. They are really young people coming from all across the world – Chinese, Swedish and even those from the interiors of Maharashtra–to become artistes. I like to work with them to tell the stories of victory, humanity, love and peace,” she adds.
For about 10 years, Chandni has been practising Buddhism that eventually took her on the path of Reiki. “So fascinated with it, I ended up doing three levels of Reiki which allows you to become a master. First of all, you don’t heal anybody, you are a medium,” says Chandni.
This makes her a go-to person among family and friends. “Lots of people make panic calls for healing. I also use it to reach out to my parents who live in Lucknow and anyone in family. I do a lot of work informally as charity as well,” she says.
The business tycoon has realised that businesses don’t thrive in isolation, especially if their sole aim is generating profit. “I have realised and learned on my journey that companies don’t grow equitably. They probably just grow and create great share holder value, but they kind of ignore the social/cultural responsibility, and eventually collapse,” she says.
Chandni worked mainly with start-ups of two-three member groups, and has scaled them up, like CNBC-TV18, Gettyimages and VCCircle Network.