Women entrepreneurs who are keeping the Karnataka flag flying high


Karnataka is home to multiple traditional industries, be it the silk manufacturing sector or the Channapatna toys. It is a State that can boast of a rich history and culture spread across Hampi and Mysore, Chitradurga and Dharwad, to name a few, and also a strong IT base, with Bengaluru becoming a hub for global IT companies. Over the last few decades it has been buzzing with entrepreneurship and hosts many startups.

The ecosystem has witnessed the rise of great businesses led by women. In fact, as far back as 1983, Karnataka had AWAKE (Association of Women Entrepreneurs of Karnataka) run by Kiran Mazumdar Shaw and a few other women.


So, here is a list of women entrepreneurs from Karnataka who have raised companies from scratch, achieved tremendous success and have kept the flag of Karnataka flying high.

Kiran Mazumdar Shaw

She is the Chairman And Managing Director of Biocon Limited, a biotechnology company based in Bengaluru.

“In 1978, when I found that I could not pursue my dream of becoming a brew master and managing a brewery, I said 'okay then, what else can I do', and then I accidentally started this business. I said okay, its biotech, biotech is definitely linked to brewing, this is an exciting area. I do not know anything about starting a business, because I’ve never run a business. But it’s a voyage of discovery. Let me discover what this business journey is all about,” she had shared in a tête-à-tête with YourStory last year.

Today, she is one of the top women entrepreneurs of the country, heading a company with a net worth of $1.1 billion. In 2015, Kiran was listed as the 85th most powerful woman in the world by the Forbes magazine.

Dr. Kamini A. Rao

She is the Founder and Medical Director of Milann, a pioneer in the field of assisted reproduction. Milann was set up in 1989 in Bengaluru.

Dr. Rao's specialisation is in reproductive endocrinology, ovarian physiology and assisted reproductive technology. She has studied medicine at St. John's Medical College and Vanivilas in Bengaluru. She has also trained in Fetal Invasive Therapy and is credited with the birth of India’s first SIFT baby.

Meena Ganesh

Serial entrepreneur Meena Ganesh is the CEO of Portea Medical, which provides affordable and quality home healthcare in India. Last year, the company raised a $37.5-million Series B round, led by existing investor Accel and International Finance Corporation (IFC), a member of the World Bank Group; Qualcomm Ventures, and Ventureast.

Meena has co-founded four other startups with her husband and serial entrepreneur Krishnan Ganesh. Meena graduated in Physics and did her MBA from IIM, Calcutta. She has worked with PwC, Microsoft, and Tesco.

Srividhya Srinivasan

She co-founded her first venture, Impulsesoft, a software company at the age of 24 in Bengaluru. The company was acquired in 2006 by SIRF, a NASDAQ-listed semiconductor company. With time on her hands and itching to build something else, she co-founded Amagi Technologies in 2008. Amagi uses cloud-based technologies to create a reliable, scalable and cost-effective alternative to traditional satellite TV broadcast infrastructure.

In January last year, they raised an undisclosed amount of Series C round from Premji Invest, the family office of Wipro’s Chairman, Azim Premji and a continuing investment from Mayfield Fund. Srividhya says,

When you do things that excite you most, you will go places. Then work will no longer be work, it will be life.

Richa Kar

She is the Founder and CEO of Zivame, online lingerie store which claims to sell a bra every minute. It was started in 2011 and is headquartered in Bengaluru. Last year in September it announced that it had raised a Series C round of Rs 250 crore from Zodius Technology Fund and Khazanah Nasional Berhad, the strategic investment fund of the Government of Malaysia.

After her engineering from BITS Pilani, Richa worked briefly in the IT industry. She has also worked with a retailer and global technology company before starting Zivame.

There are many other women in Karnataka who have taken to entrepreneurship and built small and medium businesses across different districts. If you know of any such story do write to us at her.yourstory.com.

YourStory is proud to partner with the Government of Karnataka’s ‘Invest Karnataka’ that will showcase the strides made in industrial development by the State and will also attract investments from across the world. The event is to be held between 3 and 5 February 2016 in Bengaluru (Register here).

With an aim to provide a digitally enhanced user platform to all the participants in the Invest Karnataka, Global Investors Summit, the Government of Karnataka recently launched the Invest Karnataka 2016 mobile application. You can download the app on your Android device.


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