A couple of months ago if you had asked me if I would be in India working at a venture capital firm and gaining exposure to some of the country’s most disruptive startups, I would have probably thought you were crazy. Earlier this year, I remember sitting in the Citi office in New York starting to think about my future given that my analyst program was ending. While I valued my time in investment banking and cherished the mentorship I received, I knew it was time for change but had no idea what the transition would entail. All I knew then was I wanted to learn, be challenged, get out of my comfort zone and immerse myself in an environment where passion was a common theme. Today, I can confidently say I found all of the following at Lightbox and much more.
I will never forget the time Sandeep called me prior to my departure for Bombay. It was a short phone call in which Sandeep explained to me the deliverables I would be in charge of but also told me realistically that eight weeks may not be enough time for me to receive the strong experience he wanted me to have. While I appreciated Sandeep giving me the choice to come or not, my decision had already been made. It was during the LP week that I realized that Lightbox is a firm and an environment in which even a day or two is enough to change your perspective on company building but more importantly, improve your vision on your own aspirations. Therefore, there was no way I was going to miss an opportunity to spend two months with this incredible team. As cheesy as this sounds, I mean it when I say, every day at Lightbox was a blessing for me. Whether it was making green tea in the morning while looking at the garden or laughing together during our team lunches while still managing to have productive discussions, I will miss everyone and everything about Lightbox.
I would be lying if I said I am leaving the same person I came because of the impact Lightbox has had on my life. Prior to Lightbox, working at a venture capital firm for me meant learning more about the fundamentals of company building, and the principles of entrepreneurship while simultaneously being able to bring about meaningful change. Although working a Lightbox has definitely taught me a lot about those aspects, my learnings have gone beyond the scope of my own expectations. Lightbox has taught me the importance of embracing the unstructured and empowering yourself with an ability to think independently. I came into Lightbox as a candidate who was accustomed to deadlines, summaries, and academic research but am leaving as an individual who also recognizes the importance of cultivating your own voice and providing a fresh viewpoint. I have always prided myself on being intellectually curious and inherently driven but Lightbox challenged me to think outside the box even more and meaningfully question with a greater frequency. There are countless times I can recall during my internship when I would be in the middle of a meeting and remain in awe at the pace with which the conversation would switch directions and everyone would feed off of each other’s constructive energy. That’s just the beauty of Lightbox though…it teaches you to never fear change, never settle for convention, and always strive to explore a different path.
On a more personal note, I am different mainly because of the relationships I have made at Lightbox. I am so incredibly touched that in such a short amount of time, all of you welcomed me and made me feel a part of the team…or more accurately I should say, a part of the family. Being a part of Lightbox has taught me that you don’t always have to take yourself so seriously to take your work seriously and that days feel less like work if you truly love what you do.
For those of you who don’t know, the first assignment as part of the interview process Nandita gave me before I spoke to any of the partners was to write a blog on the current state of Indian venture capital and essentially summarize key Lightbox investment themes in a unique way. Given my love for quotes, I decided to title the blog “Quoting the Indian Venture Capital Industry” and begin each paragraph with a quote before deep diving into the selected investment theme. I could go on and on trying to articulate how much this opportunity to work at Lightbox has meant to me but for now, I think it’s best to end my internship the way it began…with a quote. Unfortunately, finding a quote that did justice to this experience was incredibly difficult so I decided to try and come up with one on my own.
“Length of time has no bearing on the impact of an experience. For there are weeks in your life, that can help cultivate your purpose and encourage you to find meaning to a greater extent than several other years combined.”
It may have only been two months at Lightbox, but I am leaving with a lifetime of memories. Thank you, Sandeep, Sid, Prashant and the rest of the team for bringing such light into my life.