Ritesh Veera, a senior investment banking executive at Maxim Group in New York City, works with client companies in a multitude of industries including: healthcare, technology, energy and media. His work involves helping companies to raise financing using an array of financial instruments including IPOs, private financing, mergers and acquisitions and more. As an advisor to CEOs and startup Entrepreneurs Ritesh has been able to build a track record of success having closed transactions valued over $2B. Prior to joining Maxim Group, Ritesh served as V.P. at Provident group, a mid-market investment bank where he worked in emerging growth sectors. Early in his career Ritesh served as V.P. at Rodman & Renshaw where he spearheaded the India intiative providing him with expertise in the emerging markets. Throughout his career, Ritesh has built a strong reputation for high performance, integrity and accountability.
As an active angel investor and advisor, Ritesh has worked with and mentored over 15 early stage companies including Druva, Vuclip, Fab-alley, Zeel and Consure Medical. Ritesh holds an MBA from Baruch College and holds a BBA from Mumbai University. Recently, the Asian American Business Development Center in New York City awarded Ritesh the 2014 Outstanding 50 Asian Americans in Business Award.
Excerpts from an interview of Mr. Veera with Ajay Ghosh, The Editor in Chief:
Ajay: What made you choose finance/investment to be your career?
Mr. Veera: There are people out there who have a dream, a vision or a goal that they wish to achieve. They want to bring their product or service to the marketplace but often find the idea of raising money or receiving financial advice very difficult because it’s hard to find someone who gets your vision. Also, trust and credibility is very important in finding someone who can give you the exposure you need. I went into finance because I want to help people achieve their goals of becoming entrepreneurs. My father is an entrepreneur and I got to live through his experiences. By helping other entrepreneurs raise capital or provide financial advice, in my own small way I feel as though I’m helping people bring their dreams into reality. Also, what appeals to me about finance is the global aspect of the market. We live in such a fast, global and connected world that I can be doing business in Brazil one week and India the next. It’s exciting to me to meet people from all over the world who value what we do.
Ajay: Challenges you face to be a successful investment banker
Mr. Veera: Every job these days is quite challenging. With a global marketplace, there are more people doing what you’re doing in more parts of the world than ever before. For me, the challenge is about connecting with entrepreneurs in a meaningful way. What I have discovered is that the relationships we make with people are so critical to the success of a project and with the lack of time and resources, this has become a big challenge. Instead of spending weeks and months with a possible client, we might only spend a few days. Compressing that time to get to know the entrepreneur and their life vision and that of their business is getting challenging.
Ajay: What’s the high point of your career?
Mr. Veera: One of the most important project I worked on was to help this small company that is researching a treatment for cancer to raise capital and provide strategic advice . Who knows if they will ever find that treatment for such a devastating disease but I can say that it was meaningful for me to help them continue that search. In my small way, I can feel proud helping this company move forward in this area.
Ajay: What was the most proud moment of your business career and your personal life.
Mr. Veera: Having my parents come to New York City, where I work and meet my co-workers. This was special because growing up with such humble means in Mumbai, I could not envision working in the famous Chrysler building on 42nd street in the heart of Manhattan. I felt proud when they got a chance to see the fruit of my hard work through the positive remarks from my co-workers and friends.
Ajay: What is unique about Ritesh Veera and what has made you stand out
Mr. Veera: For me, what I find thrilling is finding the right question to ask the people I work with and my clients. There’s a lot of knowledge that exists out there in the world but what is so critical these days is finding the connection points between A and B through a powerful question that makes someone really think. So I ask clients really tough questions because I want to get at the source of why they do what they do and how they plan to do it. Insightful questions also provide value to the client because it helps them to become better at what they do. That’s what I really enjoy – asking the right questions.
Ajay: How do you pick the right investment for your clients
Mr. Veera: I don’t pick investments for my clients. Instead, I help them raise capital for their business ventures. Whether they’re a biotech company, a clean energy, industrial, or a technology business, I help them to find investors who will back their dreams and turn them into a reality.
Ajay: Share with us something about the India intiative you have taken and about the potential in the emerging markets
Mr. Veera: India is at a turning point. With the election of Narender Modi, there is a sense of pragmatic optimism I see everywhere – in small businesses to large global companies to the real estate sector to infrastructure. With Prime Minister Modi’s visit to the US in September, there appears to be a fresh new approach to the US-India dialogue. Our clients are bullish on India in that many believe that cross border transaction or other opportunities can be more of a reality than ever. One company that I work with in the bio-pharmaceutical space is keen to work with Indian pharmaceutical companies to explore substantive opportunities. It demonstrates that in our global business environment, US companies are seeing India not only as a market but also as a place to partner with well regarded Indian companies.
Ajay: What to look for in the next 12 months to 24 months in the investment sector
Mr. Veera: A couple of areas to think about as we head into the latter part of 2014 could be: the biotech sector where there is some real growth of opportunities given the advances in medicine and research. Also, the technology sector as well as energy might offer some interesting areas to explore. For us, one aspect that is really important is the management team and their vision for their product or service. You can have a terrific product but if the management is unable to execute and bring their vision to market, then it doesn’t matter how much capital you have.
Ajay: Any suggestions to our readers to learn from your life/career and to look for in choosing the right kind of investment portfolios
Mr. Veera: My role in investment banking is to help Companies raise capital and provide strategic advice for their business venture not necessarily to pick the right investments. What I can say is that everyone should consider working with a investment professional – whether to help them with their personal finance strategy or to help them raise capital for their business venture. A licensed, capable and service focused professional can make the world of difference.
Ajay: Would you like to tell us something about your family and education
Mr. Veera: My parents live in Mumbai and I have an older brother and sister. I am married to Manasi who is from Calcutta. I grew up in a business family with my father being in the garment business for most of his life. Being raised in a business family gave me a real appreciation for how important of a role a business can play in helping to create jobs and opportunities for others. By helping out as much as we could in the family business, my siblings and I got to appreciate first hand what it’s like to help each other grow and develop through life’s challenges.
My education is from Mumbai, which was a great place to learn not only about academics but about life. Being in a city of so many millions is just raw life which you have to deal with on a daily basis. It was fantastic.
Ajay: Anything else you want our readers to know about you and the investment industry
Mr. Veera: I do believe that our work in helping people realize their dreams of becoming successful entrepreneurs, providing jobs and opportunities for society, is valuable. I thoroughly enjoy working in this area and find that we are on the cusp of some great innovations in technology, health and energy. My hope is that through my work in a small way – to be a part of bringing those innovations to more people throughout the world.