Why Natasha Jain chose to move from Silicon Valley to India to startupSaswati Mukherjee
Natasha Jain conceptualized Ruplee when she had to wait for her cheque at a restaurant for over 20 minutes. She realized that this process could be streamlined to make the payment process much faster. Additionally, the same process could also help maintain her payment history and loyalty points in one place.
Thus was born Ruplee, a payment solution for the offline space. Ruplee enables a consumer to walk into a physical outlet and pay without the need to carry cash, card or wallet.
For Natasha Jain, the entrepreneurial journey has been a dual challenge of sorts. First, she was not taken very seriously in the startup circles, given that she was only 26 years old. Secondly, people around her worried about her decision to start her independent venture in India – this after having lived in the Silicon Valley for a few years.
A roller-coaster ride
“It is always difficult to be a woman entrepreneur in your mid 20s because you can get pushback from people about the seriousness you have towards your venture. You really need to prove to family and friends that you have enough faith and dedication in the startup you are working on,” says Natasha.
“Add to that, the fact that, till date, I get questioned about why I moved back from the Silicon Valley to start a venture in India. It takes a lot to prove your passion about the idea to everyone around you,” says this passionate entrepreneur.
Hailing from a business family has helped shape Natasha’s outlook towards her work. She drew a bigger inspiration from her peer group while studying at Stanford. “It was great to see so many people around me working on concepts that would make a global impact in the future,” says Natasha who was slowly but steadily kicked by the idea of entrepreneurship. It was the very thought of creating a product that would impact people’s daily lives that appealed to her the most.Right from her high school days, Natasha was keen on starting something of her own, and knew that she would end up using technology in a big way in her venture. Given that she was working on creating an app which changes payment behavior, her task was pretty cut out. In an environment where people still like the concept of a cash-payment, it was indeed difficult to create an alternate system that would digitize payments. “I had great faith in my belief that this is going to be the next revolution in the payment structure,” says Natasha.
There is a bigger motivating factor in her life. She firmly believes that when the acceptability of the concept increases, she would be part of the reason the change happened.
Role models Natasha admires
On the professional front, American Technology Executive, Sheryl Sandberg; the current president and CEO of Yahoo, Marissa Mayer, are some of the people she admires. They being already strong influencers in the technology space is what attracts Natasha to them.
When it comes to the personal front, she certainly looks up to her businessman father.
In her free time, Natasha likes to innovate –“to think of crazy ideas that can change our daily lives,” as she puts it.