Women have been performing spectacularly in the startup space.
It’s not just a boys club anymore, Indian women have begun to meticulously chart out their entrepreneur plans and make them successful. While India continues to lay genuine emphasis on discarding gender inequalities and stereotypes, women still have to ward off challenges thrown at them which probably wouldn’t be thrown at men. Whether it is a technology startup or any business startup, the struggle to combat the stereotype, of not many women working in these fields can be tiring.
Nevertheless, times are finally changing and this article focuses on women entrepreneurs who are part of the biggest shift in the online industry with their innovative startups changing lives.
Featuring Top 6 Women-led startups we can’t do without:
#1 Co-Founder of MobiKwik: Upasana Taku
Mobikwik is a mobile-based digital wallet that allows digital payments. Users can add money to the wallet and conduct online transactions. The co-founder of MobiKwik has quite an inspiring story for budding women entrepreneurs.
Upasana Taku is an ideal candidate for every high paying job in the corporate sector with her NIIT and Standford Degrees. She was employed with PayPal in the US and it wasn’t until 2008 that she decided to challenge her potential and join MobiKwik as a Co-founder by 2009.
MobiKwik was initially started as a recharge platform and later matured into a digital wallet.
#2 Co-Founder of Yatra.com: Sabina Chopra
Popular travel bookings portal Yatra.com was co-founded by Sabina Chopra, who set up this platform when travel commerce was just growing in the Indian market. By identifying the potential of travel commerce in India and people moving towards cheaper or easier travel, Yatra was already in place. As the need for online bookings grew, Yatra was a ready platform that people were able to easily access.
Sabina was the former Head of India Operations of eBookers, which is also an online travel company based in Europe. Along with this, she was also working with Japan Airlines which further adds to her experience in the travel industry.
The second annual Women Leaders in India Awards, 2010 acknowledged her work and she was declared the winner in the Travel & Tourism group.
#3 Founder of Zivame: Richa Kar
Recognizing inadequacies in daily life and working on finding a solution for the same is both noble and a great opportunity for business. Richa Kar did something similar when she launched Zivame, an online lingerie store for women. She was opposed by many people and her own parents too since the purpose of the store was a hushed topic for Indian society.
This was the exact problem that her startup was launched to fight- the embarrassment of buying lingerie. She realized women in India are not as comfortable going for lingerie shopping since the stores mainly had male salespeople to guide them.
Despite being ridiculed and not taken seriously, Richa continued to Zivame and today the store is popular with the company valuation standing at Rs. 681 crores.
#4 Founder of NyKaa: Falguni Nayyar
The founder of Nykaa.com, a beauty, and wellness e-commerce platform, has an experience of 25 years in financial services! Falguni Nayyar was the former Managing Director of Kotak Mahindra Group and after 25 years in the industry, she decided to take a leap of faith with Nykaa. A graduate from IIM Ahmedabad, Nayyar was extremely determined and focused to leave behind corporate life and begin something of her own.
Her hard work and diligence towards developing Nykaa showed results when top brands began signing up on their platform. L’Oreal, Johnson & Johnson, Unilever, etc were some big companies that tied up with the platform. Nykaa’s network currently is 850+ brands strong, making it a leading site for retail partnerships.
With more funding raised by private investors, Nykaa plans to expand to more physical stores and also be available as a mobile application.
#5 Founder of SlideShare: Rashmi Sinha
Transforming presentations for people, SlideShare allows people to upload and access their presentations online. The founder of this San-Fransisco based company is Rashmi Sinha who was helped by her husband and brother to build this platform.
They began operations in 2006 and within 6 months there was a tremendous response. A little more than 9 million people had uploaded presentations onto her site. This success led her to also rank as the 8th most powerful women entrepreneur by Fortune, 2012.
In 2012, LinkedIn acquired the company for an amount of $100 million.
#6 Founder of Embibe: Aditi Avasthi
Blossoming in the EdTech space, AI-backed online learning platform Embibe has managed to raise funding of Rs 90 crores by Reliance Industries. Founded by Aditi Avasthi, this platform was developed with Aditi’s passion for encouraging education in India with the help of AI.
Aditi is one of the very few women who has begun an AI startup that makes optimal use of the technology to provide users with personalized recommendations to better their attempts. Her platform also makes use of data analytics to create customized learning modules for students.
At the Economic Times Prime Women Leadership Awards 2019, Aditi was awarded the ‘Accenture Vaahini Innovator of The Year’.
The future for women entrepreneurs…
Statistics by the Government’s Startup division reveal that women constitute only 13.76% of the total entrepreneurs in India. While this is a saddening figure, there are more chances of women entering the startup sphere with refined opportunities in terms of market and technology. Popular Bollywood female actors have also been successful in their business ventures such as Priyanka Chopra’s production house Purple Pebbles Pictures and the recent launch of Kay by Katrina Kaif, a brand for beauty products sold online.
By the next decade, we can be hopeful of a change in statistics and more women being encouraged to venture into business and technology.