If finding success as an entrepreneur isn’t tough enough already, imagine being a woman entrepreneur at that. Raising capital, hiring staff, finding customers – the challenges are endless.
Add to this, pressures on the home front, and taking the decision to switch from a job that pays a regular salary to the uncertainty of a startup is daunting.
However, there are many who have taken that tough call, and now, serve as role models for the rest of us. We list out 10 of them.
Upasana Taku – Co-founder, Mobikwik
Upasana left a successful career at HSBC and then PayPal to launch payments wallet Mobikwik with her husband-to-be Bipin Preet Singh. Awarded the “Best Women Entrepreneur Award 2017” by ASSOCHAM, she was once quoted as saying, “Kick up a storm or die trying!”
Kiran Mazumdar Shaw – Founder, Biocon
The billionaire entrepreneur has been the face of the Indian pharma industry with her Bengaluru-based biopharmaceutical company. Starting with an initial funding of Rs 10,000, Kiran’s first employee was a retired garage mechanic and she worked with low-quality research equipment. In 2010, she made it to the TIME Magazine list of 100 most influential people in the world, and Biocon was the first Indian company to manufacture enzymes.
Richa Kar – Founder, Zivame
Lingerie is one of the most crucial aspects of a woman’s wardrobe, but gets scant attention. Richa wanted to change that; and the former Victoria‘s Secret employee did with Zivame. The online lingerie retailer enabled women to browse and buy inner-wear, all from the comfort of their homes.
Falguni Nayar – Co-founder, Nykaa
“Mirror, mirror on the wall, who is the fairest of them all?” While none of us are evil, we have all asked our mirrors this very question. Falguni, with her startup Nykaa said ‘you’, an ecommerce store for beauty and wellness products. Falguni had earlier spent 19 years as an investment banker and a broker with Kotak Mahindra. The Economic Times Startup Awards 2017 chose her as the “Women Ahead” in her category.
Shubhra Chadda – Co-founder, Chumbak
Shubhra and her husband Vivek Prabhakar started Chumbak to make well-designed gifts, mementos and accessories. Before starting up, Shubhra worked at Nortel Networks and Net App. It is her cute characters and quirky one-liners that make Chumbak the brand it is today, and she also made desi products “cool” for an entire generation of youngsters.
Sabina Chopra – Co-founder, Yatra.com
Yatra.com is an Indian online travel agency and search engine. Before Yatra.com, Sabina headed operations at Ebookers, a Europe-based travel company. On an oft-faced struggle, she was quoted as saying, “There’s male bonding over drinks which I could not be part of as I had young children to look after.” Her struggles and overcoming them won her an award at the Women Leaders in India Awards 2010.
Suchi Mukherjee – Founder, Limeroad
Shop till you drop. Or, maybe not. Limeroad is an ecommerce site for lifestyle products targeting women.
Suchi had earlier worked with Lehman Brothers, Virgin Media and eBay.
She wanted to bridge the gap between consumers and products and cater to women looking for ‘hatke’ stuff.
Ashwini Asokan – Co-founder, Mad Street Den
A woman in technology? There were not many when she started out, and Ashwini Asokan broke many stereotypes with Mad Street Den, a computer vision and artificial intelligence company. A mother of two, she moved with her family to start Mad Street Den. She has been
recognised in the “40 under 40” category by Fortune India.
Swati Bhargava – Co-founder, CashKaro
A love for mathematics and talent with numbers took this small-town girl to London School of Economics, and then to Goldman Sachs, Pouring Pounds and CashKaro. Capitalising on the Indian mindset of ‘saving money’, she started Cashkaro.com, India’s largest cashback and coupons site. Swati represented India at the coveted Blackbox Connect - Female Founders Edition 2015 – at the Silicon Valley.
Manisha Raisinghani – Co-founder, LogiNext Solutions
Manisha saw the percentage of women in technology drop from 40 percent in school to 20 percent by the time she was in Carnegie Mellon. At LogiNext Solutions, she leads the technology and product side, and provides solutions to manage and optimise logistics and field service operations. Her venture has won awards such as “CIO Choice Awards for Best Supply Chain Logistics Cloud Solution” in 2016.