Thought Leader Interview: Paurush Sonkar, Stallions Capital

Tell us about yourself and your background

I am Paurush Sonkar and I am the Founder & Chief Executive Officer at Stallions Capital. I am a 2004 MBA passout who worked extensively in the Financial services sector and understood the nuances of finance. I then moved into the start-up space by becoming a mentor to a few start-ups and also began investing in start-ups in the capacity of a lead investor. I set up base in the UAE early on as I was always in awe of the opportunities that the region offered and the nations stellar leadership under which Dubai; UAE has become one of the finest business hubs.

Why did you establish Stallions Capital?

The more I worked with start-ups and the closer the association I developed with the founders, I realised that just like an aeroplane is of no use without jet fuel, similarly the best ideas, product, services & solutions cannot soar and take off unless they have the relevant funding.

I understand the above is an obvious statement but let me tell you why I state it as relevant funding. There is a huge mismatch when it comes to the alignment of goals that a founder has versus that of a VC who is looking to fund them and this is where the issue begins. It is very important to match a start-up to the relevant source of funding and get them funding from an entity where there is an alignment on vision and long-term goals. At Stallions Capital we follow the philosophy; ‘Family Office First’ and pride ourself to being a one of its kind and thus we believe that Stallions Capital is an Independent Investment Banking Firm specializing in fundraising for start-ups via a network of leading family offices across the globe that have a keen focus on the Middle East. Keeping this in mind we are glad to announce our participation at The Ritossa Family Summit. A one of its kind in the region and in the family office space.

Congratulations on your recent launch in the region, what has drawn you to the MENA region?

Like I have stated previously, the UAE has been a magnet for people across the globe and I am no exception. I have been attracted to the grandeur & panache of Dubai for a long time and it was a natural progression to set-up base here. Along with the best-in-class infrastructure, multi-cultural vibe and safety for all, the key driver was the keen vision of the leaders which ensures that Dubai always stays a step ahead of the others and I am so glad to play a small role in my own way in making Dubai start-ups get access to the relevant funding.

How does Stallions Capital support start-ups?

Stallions Capital offers a range of services to start-ups and is not limited only to the funding piece. We cater to start-ups that are just breaking out of their shells, going all the way up to start-ups that have a time tested product, service or solution. We guide them, mentor them and if I was to put it in simple words we get them ‘Investment Ready’. The investment ready procedure aims to give feedback to the start-up on their products, service /solution, their business model, their revenue model, advise on their ‘GTM’; Go To Market strategy and much more. In simple words, we guide, advise, mentor & then ensure that the start-up gets funding so they grow from where there are to where they aspire to be.

For our readers, can you explain, what is the fundamental difference between a family office and a VC firm?

I love this topic and can write volumes on it but for the sake of this interaction I shall keep this simple. A VC is an extremely formalized entity who is looking for maximum returns and therefore weighs every proposal as a deal, I do not mean to generalize VC Firms but this is the typical thumb rule though some do work on other models too. A family office is a subset/unit with a large business conglomerate which in some cases could be 100’s of years old. The family office in simple words is how a large and established business entity diversifies their assets. The family offices take a call on how to diversify, how much to diversify and where to diversify. Along with returns being one of the factors, what really makes family offices the most adorable of the lot is their deep desire to make a positive difference to the society at large and thus they are pioneers in what could be termed as ‘Impact Investing’. They seek to know beyond returns how their investments would make the world a better place. For example, can a start-up get clean and portable water to a remote location in Africa? This is a start-up harnessing the power of solar and thereby reducing carbon emissions, etc. Thus to sum up, the biggest difference between a VC firm and a family office is that while a VC Firm might see a business as only an excel file, the approach taken by a family office is more humane on all counts.

What areas specifically does Stallions Capital invest in?

We cover the entire gamut as we follow a sector agnostic approach and focus more on the product, service & solution. A key parameter for us is the founders profile and how passionately they manage a business. Some of the key sectors we keenly follow are; fintech, B2B, solartech, medtech, edtech and SaaS.

What is the most emerging sector right now for start-ups?

I can say with a very high level of confidence that in the MENA region it would be ‘FinTech’. A huge part of the success story of the FinTech sector is courtesy of the favourable regulations & policies in the region that allow FinTechs to thrive across financial categories be it banking, neo banks, insurance, broker model, cost comparison and more.

Tell us about the initiative you launched in the region in September; ‘Start-Up Souq 2021’ and how it has changed the start-up landscape in the UAE.

One of the main challenges that start-ups face is finding a single platform that can allow them to get visibility with multiple stakeholders across the start-up ecosystem. This led to the inception of our marquee initiative called – Start-Up Souq. We take away the pain points of our founders and ensure that they are able to focus on their venture, whilst we strive to match them to a suitable Investor.

What are your main goals for the next three years?

We have only 1 simple goal or rather let me call it our mission. We want to be the biggest and best Independent Investment Banking firm in the UAE that connects start-ups to Family Offices and gets them funding. We are also engaged in building a network of VC’s that fall within the purview of our investment philosophy.

How can our readers find out more about Stallions Capital?

Readers can simply visit our website: and they can get to know about us in detail. They can also contact the team via the website and begin a round of discussion.

Editor-In-Chief of Bizpreneur Middle East