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Mumbai: CXXO, a Kalaari Capital initiative, has launched a program to level the playing field for female founder-CEOs in India by making it easier for them to access capital, community and coaching. Kalaari Capital has set aside $10 million annually, to invest in startups that have women founders as key decision makers, ideally as CEOs.

“India’s startup ecosystem is booming, with 16 new unicorns minted in 2021 alone, taking the total number to 53. However, only one of the unicorns has a woman as its founder CEO. Inclusive growth cannot happen without adequate opportunities for women at the top. More women CEOs need to drive India’s march to a $5 trillion economy for the growth to be inclusive and equitable," CXXO said in a statement.

To address this, the CXXO program seeks to meet the specific needs of each CEO and her startup, providing not only capital but also bespoke support. The program will create a cohort of 8-10 female founder-CEOs each year.

“Successful female founders as company builders serve an important role in Indian economic development. The CXXO programme will ensure there is no bias and discrimination on access to capital. We believe these founders will pioneer workplaces that are equitable and inclusive for more women to rise. At Kalaari, we have always believed in providing opportunities for diverse entrepreneurs to succeed," said Vani Kola, Managing Director, Kalaari Capital.

CXXO has set up a strong leadership team of female pathmakers to guide and spearhead this movement, which includes Ankiti Bose, Co-founder & CEO, Zilingo; Lathika Pai, Country Head, Microsoft, Venture Capital and PE Partnerships; Paroma Roy Chowdhury, Chief Communications & Public Affairs Officer, Dream Sports; Priyanka Gill, Founder & CEO, POPxo - Plixxo, Co-founder & President, MyGlamm; Shradha Sharma, Founder & CEO, YourStory Media and Vani Kola.

“CXXO can create access to coaching and capital for top female founders, encouraging them to take more risks, and grow faster. If women know they have fair access to capital, they can stay focused on growth and innovation to stay ahead," said Ankiti Bose, Co-founder & CEO, Zilingo.

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