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Kalaari’s Vani Kola on funding FOMO; Priyanka Gill’s mantra for brand building

Speaking of how women can effectively raise money and create strong companies, Kola acknowledged that women have been products of decades-long conditioning, but are taking steps to move forward by developing self-awareness.

Kalaari’s Vani Kola on funding FOMO; Priyanka Gill’s mantra for brand building

Friday March 08, 2024 , 5 min Read

On International Women’s Day, it’s not only important to recognise the progress women have made in their respective fields, but also how they can shape the future.

At SheSparks 2024, YourStory and HerStory’s flagship event, women (and men) entrepreneurs deliberated in detail about diverse topics, including why there should be more women in the workforce and how to break the glass ceiling.

Tina Vinod, Founder and CEO of Diversity Simplified, made the case for more women in the boardrooms. Adding to it, Ola Electric’s Ramkripa Ananthan said that even if you’re the only woman in the boardroom, it’s about what you bring to the table.

Technology was a big theme at the event, with entrepreneurs lamenting that there aren’t enough women in tech.

According to Accenture India’s HR Lead Lakshmi Chandrasekharan, companies need to invest in training women in AI, create AI communities, and encourage women in AI positions.

When it comes to women’s health, Geetha Manjunath, Founder, CEO and CTO of Niramai Health Analytix noted that only 2% of women in India undergo screening tests. Femtech India’s Navneet Kaur agreed that entrepreneurs can’t build a femtech company without raising awareness.

Catch all the action of SheSparks 2024 here.

ICYMI: All you need to know about the history of International Women’s Day.

And lastly, did you know Jaipur’s Hawa Mahal, which means ‘Palace of the Winds’, isn’t actually a palace?

Here’s a peek into its rich and royal history.

In today’s newsletter, we will talk about 

  • Kalaari’s Vani Kola on fighting funding FOMO
  • Priyanka Gill’s mantra for brand building
  • Mattress brand Foam Home’s journey to success 

Here’s your trivia for today: Who was the first woman to become the CEO of a Fortune 500 company?


SheSparks

Kalaari’s Vani Kola on fighting funding FOMO

Vani Kola

The Indian startup ecosystem, much like its global counterparts, continues to grapple with a funding slowdown. However, founders need to focus on building formidable and highly valuable businesses instead of chasing funding, said Vani Kola, Founder and Managing Director of Kalaari Capital.

Fundamentals:

  • Kola noted the importance of clarity of thought, especially in understanding the "nitty-gritty" of the business.
  • Speaking of how women can effectively raise money and create strong companies, Kola acknowledged that women have been products of decades-long conditioning, but are taking steps to move forward by developing self-awareness.
  • When pitching to an investor, Kola urged women founders to maintain entitlement and dignity. She added that they must own their stories and be confident without undermining themselves.


<Funding Alert>

Startup: Hunch

Amount: $23M

Round: Series A

Startup: Zetwerk 

Amount: $20M

Round: Undisclosed

Startup: Mufin Finance

Amount: $5M

Round: Debt


SheSparks 

Priyanka Gill’s mantra for brand building

She Sparks 2024 - Priyanka Gill, Venture Partner, Kalaari Capital & Group Co-founder, Good Glamm Group

She Sparks 2024 - Priyanka Gill, Venture Partner, Kalaari Capital & Group Co-founder, Good Glamm Group

Priyanka Gill, Venture Partner, Kalaari Capital, and Group Co-founder of The Good Glamm Group, urged entrepreneurs to have confidence in their brand and its growth arc and stay authentic to it.

In a fireside chat with Rekha Balakrishnan, Lead Editor of HerStory and SocialStory, Gill spoke at length about the power of using a data-centric approach to build a brand and scale it.

Growth:

  • Gill highlighted the evolution of influencer marketing over the years. She said that back in 2017 when she sat down with brands to talk about Plixxo, an influencer marketing platform, they didn’t know what influencer marketing meant.
  • Plixxo, powered by POPxo, a digital community platform for millennial women, was launched 13 years ago. Today, it has over 26,000 verified influencers and bloggers.
  • Gill also noted that gender-based disparity in organisations was a reality. Finding allies and making the organisation inclusive and empathetic was a step towards course-correcting this disparity, she said.


SMB

Mattress brand Foam Home’s journey

Foam Home CEO

Foam Home, founded in 1977 by the Bhanpurawala family, has carved a distinct identity in the Indian mattress industry. And, it has achieved this feat largely due to word-of-mouth publicity.

Now, it aims to build a similar legacy in the online space and wants to do this without resorting to any marketing gimmicks, CEO Sabina Bhanpurawala, tells SMBStory.

Key takeaways:

  • Bhanpurawala says Foam Home, which has 20 patents to its name, has had the first mover advantage. Its focus on technology has kept it ahead of the competition.
  • The Indian mattress market has both unorganised and organised players. Other companies in the segment include Sheela Foam, Springwel, Duroflex, Wakefit, and The Sleep Company.
  • Its digital foray poses new challenges for the company as it will have to maintain the same standards just like offline, especially in terms of service quality, and understanding the requirements of the customers.


News & updates

  • Rare disclosure: LinkedIn for the first time disclosed sales for its premium subscription business, saying the unit hit $1.7 billion in revenue in 2023 as the company sees an uptick in the adoption of new artificial intelligence tools. LinkedIn has been working to expand its premium subscription business, which starts at $39.99 per month.
  • Financial watch: Global banking regulators proposed measures to crack down on "unacceptable" attempts by the world's biggest banks to game rules in a bid to avoid heavier capital requirements. The Basel Committee said about 30 globally systemic banks, such as JPMorgan, HSBC, BNP Paribas, and Morgan Stanley, must hold more capital than smaller domestic peers.
  • Under scrutiny: The European Union has confirmed it’s looking into Apple’s decision to close Epic Games’ developer account — citing three separate regulations which may apply. Yesterday the Fortnite maker revealed Apple had terminated the account, apparently reversing a decision to approve the developer account last month.


Who was the first woman to become the CEO of a Fortune 500 company?

Answer: Katherine Graham. She became the CEO of The Washington Post in 1972.


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