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Meet Ani Ajith

Meet Ani Ajith, Co-Founder & Chief Financial Officer at Corecentra.

What is your role at Corecentra?

Corecentra is a startup, which means we all wear multiple hats. Being CFO, while an engaging challenge, is actually the least interesting part of my job. As Corecentra’s Private Markets Lead, I get to interact directly with our private equity clients to make ESG work for them. In the dynamic, ever-changing ESG landscape, we leverage feedback and ideas from our customers to continuously improve our product and services, and we’re always looking for ways to share our insights and recommendations with broader audiences.

Why did you start Corecentra?

I’ve spent my entire career working on opportunities at the intersection of policy and business. There’s always an interesting tension at the intersection of social activism, regulatory attention, and commercial interest, and I’ve always wanted to help society, governments, and businesses avoid or escape coordination traps by creating & highlighting win-win solutions. Corecentra is a natural evolution of that work.

I began my professional career as a private equity investor, and I had the great fortune of doing so under the wing of two highly successful private equity investors – Kip Kirkpatrick and Marty Nesbitt, the co-founders of The Vistria Group. Kip and Marty always attributed much of their success to insights they picked up as founders & operators. Building and growing a business seems like a great way to learn how to become a better investor – in people, ideas, and opportunities.

What is your favorite part about working at Corecentra?

Working at Corecentra, I get to interact with two great sets of people: my co-founders and our customers. Personal and professional ties run deep at Corecentra: our founder is the best man at my wedding (I’ve known him since high school), and our CEO has been a mentor since my sophomore year of college. Jeff (CEO) and Brian (CRO) have worked together on-and-off for the better part of a decade, so it’s a true delight to observe their friendship and incredible professional partnership.

What do you like most about your industry? 

We’re working to improve the future of capitalism. Ignoring Environmental, Social, and Governance risks and opportunities is an unsustainable path for both the economy and the future of the species, and the private sector’s inattention to these issues have justifiably contributed to dissatisfaction with status quo capitalism. Refusing to engage with ESG is also remarkably short-sighted; effectively managing ESG is all about internalizing your externalities in a way that drives greater utility in the long-term. Even though the private equity industry is not well-understood, PE firms wield an outsize influence in our society; we’re building solutions to enable good actors in the private markets to come out ahead.

What do you enjoy doing when you are not working?

I enjoy reading – mostly science fiction – and sampling Chicago’s best hole-in-the-wall restaurants and homegrown breweries. I’m currently spending most of my free time planning my upcoming wedding.