Meet The Team

Meet The Team

We have a battle-hardened team led by one of India’s marquee investors. Together we bring deep experience in the Indian arena both from a research and operations perspective to ensure good and responsible practice is being followed.

Ricky Kirpalani

Managing Partner and Chief Investment Advisor

As Managing Partner and Chief Investment Adviser for First Water Capital, Ricky is a logic-based value investor with over 30 years of experience. His strategy is fuelled by passion and perseverance. His strategy involves a combination of rigorous due diligence, an intuitive understanding of the correlation between global, industry, and company specific factors, and a macro perspective on the ever-changing landscape of the emerging markets.

Prior to launching First Water Capital, Ricky was an independent business analyst and ran a private pool of capital generating alpha with a USD CAGR north of 30% over a timeline of over 15 years.

Additionally, Ricky has seen commerce from an owner’s viewpoint with interests in various industrial businesses in Africa and as financial advisor to a number of CEOs. This has allowed him to obtain a broader viewpoint of the internal dynamics and conflicts of operating and managing a business.

Arun Chulani

Business Development and Operations

Seasoned investment professional with over 20 years’ experience. Arun handles the business development and operations for First Water. Ensuring that both the engine and body is in tip-top condition and running smoothly.

Arun previously headed the Principal Investments team for Ikarus Petroleum Industries, a fund that focuses on the energy value-chain with over USD 500m AUM.  Arun has overseen investment opportunities in the manufacturing, shipping, and chemical sector.

Prior to Ikarus, Arun was with EY London before transferring to Dubai, where he was instrumental in building the Debt & Capital Markets division across the Middle East. He has led, designed, and executed transactions for Sovereign Wealth Funds, FTSE 100 companies and Financial Institutions including QIA, HSBC and EQT.

Arun is a Chartered Accountant (ICAEW), which he obtained while at Arthur Andersen and holds a MSc. Accounting and Finance from the LSE.

In his spare time, he loves listening to music and going to concerts and has seen some of the greats from Prince to Smashing Pumpkins to Madonna.

Kunal Bhakta

Investment Advisor

Kunal is our Head of Research and a passionate, investment professional with over 15 years’ experience in capital markets. He possesses a fount of knowledge when it comes to the Indian business arena. Throw him the name of a company or sector and he will have something insightful to say.

He previously co-managed a prop book, Foster Capital Ventures, which pursued a PIPE investment strategy focusing on Indian micro caps and had an AUM of USD 100m at the peak.

Starting as an intern at Price Waterhouse, Mumbai, Kunal qualified as a Chartered Accountant in 2006 and began his capital market career as an institutional research analyst, covering mid-caps at Motilal Oswal Securities. He later co-founded Foster Capital Ventures. Thereafter, he served as a Partner with Lastaki Advisors, a mid-market investment bank, where he was key in building out the research team and also setting up and spearheading the Pharma and Healthcare practice.

With a keen eye and a deft touch, Kunal in his spare time is a cricketer and batsman who looks for both singles and boundaries. He is also a fan of ghazals, a form of poetic expression.


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