195. Monisha Varadan: Entrepreneur in Residence at INSEAD: Entrepreneurship, Privacy and the… by The Fiftyfaces Podcast

Monisha Varadan works at Google focused on Privacy and Partnerships, and is a partner at Zephyr Ventures, an acquisition vehicle set up to invest in profitable, growth businesses. She is Director of the Start up Bootcamp and is Entrepreneur in Residence at INSEAD, my own alma mater, where she also completed her MBA.

Our conversation starts with her upbringing in India – where she spent her childhood between Mumbai and Bangalore, and her early introduction to the media business through her family’s focus.  We trace her path to the UK where she studied media and ultimately built a career in financial journalism.  Many of the traits used in journalism and media are useful in business, from the art of communication to negotiation to the development of instincts and judgement and we discuss how all of this relates to a career in business and can also be relevant to start-up life.

We move then to her path to Singapore and an MBA at INSEAD and the start of Zephyr Ventures alongside a career in privacy at Google.  We discuss then the trends in privacy regulation and how the time for the consumer to make more conscious choices about their own privacy and how their data is used is coming.

Monisha is now based in Fontainebleau in France near the INSEAD campus and we discuss what it means to be Entrepreneur in Residence and the type of content that is shared at the regular Start-Up Bootcamps.  We bust some myths around start-up life, including the abundant freedom and independence that are assumed to go along with that.  We ask if the experience is different for female entrepreneurs, why this might be and what interventions and supports can alleviate it.

In the personal reflection section we discuss some of the challenges of balancing maternity leave and raising a young family with the demands of today’s professional roles and also revisit the Linked In post that drew me to Monisha.  That post, a deeply personal and vulnerable one describing her experienced with alopecia, near total hair loss that followed her pregnancies, received widespread attention and support and was a reminder of the universality of certain conditions and the acceptance of deeper vulnerability today.

Series 3 of the 2023 Fiftyfaces Podcast is supported by Eagle Point Credit Management. Eagle Point Credit Management is a specialist investment manager principally focused on income-oriented credit investments in niche and inefficient markets. Founded by Thomas Majewski in partnership with Stone Point Capital in 2012, Eagle Point currently manages over $7.8 billion in AUM. Investment strategies pursued by the firm include collateralized loan obligations (“CLOs”), portfolio debt securities, and other opportunities across the credit universe.  Currently, we believe that Eagle Point is the largest investor in CLO equity in the world and one of the largest non-bank lenders focused on providing financing solutions to credit funds. Learn more about Eagle Point at http://eaglepointcredit.com/