Prior to joining SoftBank Investment Advisers, Vikas was a managing director for Google India. He is the past CEO of Religare Macquarie Wealth Management and was a director at Deutsche Bank and Standard Chartered. Vikas began his career as an executive with Ogilvy & Mather.
How would you describe your career path up until this point?
From my early childhood, I had an opportunity to watch my father—and other members of my family—pivot their careers in pursuit of constant learning and better opportunities. I started my career with Ogilvy at a time when I was very passionate about advertising. Through my network of friends, I was exposed to banking, and got drawn in, ultimately working across almost all areas of consumer banking. I built on this experience and knowledge to join a startup joint venture between Macquarie Bank and Religare, as its first CEO. In 2011, due to the digital transformation that was under way, the bug to reinvent myself hit again, and I joined Google as managing director for Google India.
How would you describe your professional philosophy?
I’ve always focused on thinking at scale, using technology to solve big issues, and making an impact. Through this work, I’ve learned that the best innovation comes from a diverse and inclusive workforce. I married another professional early in life, so we’ve always supported each other throughout our careers. From this relationship, I learned the importance of a supportive workplace to create the conditions for everyone to succeed. India is an exciting and culturally diverse country. When you think about scale and solve for diversity and inclusion, the outcome is always better. I believe that you not only make things better for India, you make things better for the world.
What is your role at SoftBank Investment Advisers?
I'm an operating partner, so I work with our existing portfolio founders and also work alongside our investing team here in India during the due diligence process. Everyone I work with is passionate about what they do. That is wonderful, but it can also be a rollercoaster. It's my job to provide counsel and connect people to help our founders scale their ambition. At times I’m playing the role of a coach and even a cheerleader. I also help founders navigate our ecosystem, which is an incredible resource. Pretty much every business challenge in every industry can be found in our network. So if a founder is struggling with something, I can help them collaborate with a peer who has solved a similar problem. Together, we can attempt to shorten the learning curve and make significant progress.
From an operations perspective, what do you see as the secret to a company's success?
Be it moonshot thinking or the ability to be future ready, it always starts from the top. The founders always set the tone on the pace, culture, ambition, and scale of the organization. Having worked at, and with, several great organizations, I strongly believe that a diverse and inclusive company always ends up with better outcomes. Companies typically have only two assets—people and brand—and when the founder gets this combination right, magic happens.
What is the most valuable lesson that you've learned in your career?
I've learned that you can adapt and do well in almost any situation if you have wisdom, humility, and a sense of humor. Wisdom is how you can prioritize and retain your focus when you're trying to solve really big problems. Humility is what reminds you that nothing is permanent, be it success or failure or something in between. Through it all, your sense of humor keeps you going. No matter how hard things are, there is always something that can lighten the mood. Finally, I’ve learned your core competency can turn into a competency trap. We are living in a world where change is constant and consumers adopt technology before most marketers realize what to do with it. Always keep the consumer and the product at the heart of everything that you do. Figure out how to solve for the big things that create the most impact. Don’t just do cool things—do the cool things that matter. When a founder sets their mind on doing magical things using technology, that ignites other people’s minds to accomplish the seemingly impossible, too. It's a chain reaction—and the bedrock of building great organizations.