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April 16, 2013

Renuka Ramnath: Facing Challenges of Life

Who is she?

Renuka Ramnath is a talented equity investment manager whose name is taken in the same breath as ICICI Eco Net Ltd., which was later merged with the joint venture of ICICI Bank and Unit Trust of India (UTI), known as ICICI Venture. She has held the position of Managing Director and Chief Exceutive Officer (MD & CEO) of ICICI Venture since 2001 and has toiled hard to make it one of the top league companies. Under her leadership, the total corpus of this company went on to become cross the mark of 200 million US dollars! Doesn’t that make you jump up?

And you would be surprised to know that she is no longer a part of ICICI Ventures. She had resigned in 2009 and started her own company – a journey which has been inspiring and awesome at the same time.


It is hardly a surprise that such a powerful business woman who has led by example would feature among the Top 25 Powerful Women in Indian Business compiled by Business Today. She has been awarded as one of the “Most powerful CEO” s by Economic Times, and “Best Woman Entrepreneur” by IMM, etc. She has received many such recognitions; but has remained as down to earth as she had always been.


Renuka is a Civil Engineer from Veermata Jijabai Technological Institute (VJTI), Mumbai. She went on to obtain a degree in Masters of Business Administration with specialization in Finance from University of Mumbai (Known as ‘Bombay’ in those times). Her hunger for knowledge drove her to pursue the Advanced Management Programme from Harvard Business School.

Personal and Professional : Two sides of life

Renuka hailed from a middle class family and pursued her education in Mumbai. She had been enjoying a happy marital life with her husband and kids until one day, destiny snatched away her husband in a car accident. She was only 32 then.

Though the world came to a standstill for her, Renuka resolved to fight back. She worked hard to provide the best of everything for her children, encouraging both of whom to explore options for studying abroad as well. Renuka maintained her cool through her deep faith in the Almighty, and religion provided her the support she needed to weave her life around her family and professional life.

Mr K. V. Kamath, then head of ICICI Group of Companies, believed in Renuka’s abilities and allowed her flexibility in allocation of her time to work and family. She kept climbing the corporate ladder fast as ICICI Ventures also grew into a big name. But there is a saturation level that even successful companies reach and the scope of growth seems very bleak. It was then Renuka decided to quit; to start her own company, Multiples Alternate Asset Management. It was a difficult decision and a tough challenge with no proper office. The company began its operation out of Renuka’s home, and gradually grew with the support of her friends, family and well wishers, and of last but not the least, Renuka’s efforts.

She is presently located in Mumbai.

Learning from one’s mistakes

Multiples Alternate Asset Management has earned itself fame by raising significant funds in a short period of time, in spite of being an independent private equity fund and with no institutional name associated with it. There were some miscalculated decisions at ICICI Venture that may have shied away the investors and disturbed Renuka’s vision and working style.

At her own set up, Renuka introduced a dual financial base – an Indian part which looped in various public sector banks such as Andhra Bank, Indian Overseas Bank, etc; and the international portion consisting of Canada Pension Plan Investment Board and CDC. Renuka’s credit lies in her ability to raise money from the foreign market, which has been possible through careful planning and proper homework before taking the plunge. However, it would remain a company with focus on Indian entrepreneurs who are in need to raise money from the market for their business ventures.

The success of a company rests on its happy customers who spread the goodwill, isn’t it? Renuka does not wish to fool her investors by promising massive returns.  Being at the nascent stage still, she strives to gain maximum on their behalf, and help them to do gain maximum benefits out of their association with Multiples Alternate Asset Management – “Multiply with Multiples” is an expression Renuka Ramnath likes.

The journey has been tough, but gradually the company is growing!!


Renuka had resigned from her association with ICICI Venture in 2009. There was much speculation about the reason behind her taking such a drastic step. While some thought that it was because Renuka’s ego was hurt by Chanda Kochar’s rise to the helm of ICICI Bank, succeeding the prolific K. V. Kamath; some conjured that it was because partial sale of ICICI Venture’s stakes in the Azim Premji (Chairman of Wipro) owned Subhiksha, a retail chain that was struggling to survive in the consumer market.

Once she rejoined the private equity business through her own set up, it put a final end to all gossip. In her own words, she had felt like a mother separated from her child during the brief time she was away from the institution that was a second home to her for about 23 years! She clarified that her interest in her profession revolved around equity business and she never wished to get into the core banking activities. She also felt that the Subhiksha sale was good for all stakeholders in the long run; and had nothing to do with her resignation.

Future plans

Having her own company gives Renuka the opportunity to work in her preferred profession as long as she wishes. She is now her own boss and perhaps answerable to only her investors.

When she moved out of ICICI Ventures, there had been invitations to join the family business – but Renuka chose to live on her terms. It was a decision that has benefitted not only her, but the Indian economy as a whole! 

Tags : Renuka Ramnath, ICICI Venture, Equity

About Anupama

A Transport Planner and Architect, Anupama has been blogging for about six years now. She has taken up professional content writing for the last two years, and can always be contacted for any assignments or queries. Her strength is original presentation of any topic.