Meet the powerful lineup of women speakers at the 11th edition of TechSparks

At YourStory’s flagship tech entrepreneurship event, TechSparks, hear from leading women entrepreneurs and investors from the startup ecosystem, industry stalwarts, government officials, and more from the comfort of your home.

Meet the powerful lineup of women speakers at the 11th edition of TechSparks

Saturday October 24, 2020,

9 min Read

The much-anticipated 11th edition of TechSparks is just a few days away, and it promises an all-immersive, digital experience to hear from who’s who of the startup ecosystem.

The stage is set for global and a diverse panel of speakers who will discuss the post-pandemic startup ecosystem and workplace, women in STEM and leadership roles, as well as diversity and inclusion at workplace.

The five-day event will also see the launch of a report on the state of women entrepreneurship in India, followed by women investors throwing light on gender parity in funding and ways to win over investors amid the pandemic. 

India’s first full-time woman finance minister, Nirmala Sitharaman, will also address India’s way forward to being aatmanirbhar

Most importantly, the summit hopes to provide an opportunity for men and women entrepreneurs to adjust their gender lens and be a part of the solutions. 

Here are the women speakers for TechSparks 2020, to be held from October 26-30, 2020.

Nirmala Sitharaman

Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman

1. Nirmala Sitharaman

Minister of Finance and Corporate Affairs, Nirmala Sitharaman, also happens to be the first full-time woman finance minister of India. Prior to this, she led the Union Defence Ministry.

Hailing from Madurai, Tamil Nadu, Nirmala is an economist by education and entered politics by joining BJP in 2008. A force to be reckoned with as a politician, she was ranked as the 34th most influential woman in the world last year by Forbes magazine.

2. Aaksha meghawat

Aaksha Meghawat is a machine learning (ML) engineer and tech lead (DRI) for Global Expansion of Hyper-Local Language Models at Apple. 

After completing her bachelor’s in computer science from BITS Pilani, Aaksha was awarded Graduate Research Fellowship at Carnegie Mellon University. She presented her graduate research at Apple ML Summit in 2018.

In 2013, Aaksha started her career as a technology analyst intern at Morgan Stanley and was associated with Sutherland Global Services as a data scientist. At TechSparks 2020, the young techie will throw light on workplace diversity amid global pandemic and the road it will pave for the future.

Aaksha Meghawat

Aaksha Meghawat, Apple

3. Amrita Gandikota 

A startup influencer, Amrita Gandikota is India representative for the German Indian Startup Exchange Program (GINSEP). She is also involved in several other cross-cultural startup ecosystems such as leading the Bangalore Indo-German Startup Network.

Amrita is keen on fostering collaborations between startups and corporates. As a skill training coach, she has conducted training workshops at companies like Mercedes Benz, TUV Rheinland, Lufthansa Technik, Infineon Technologies, and Maersk, among others.

4. Anannya Parekh

Social entrepreneur Anannya Parekh found her calling in working towards gender equality. An avid reader, the 24-year-old dropped out of college to start Inner Goodness to spread awareness on the importance of financial literacy among women in 2016. 

Two years later, she started a non-profit organisation called Big Sister Program for underprivileged girls between the ages 18 and 26. The NGO mentors them regarding socio-emotional learning, digital, and financial literacy.

5. Anu Hariharan 

Anu Hariharan is a partner at Y Combinator’s Continuity Fund, with a keen eye on funding growth-stage startups. Prior to this, she has led investments in consumer internet growth as a partner at Andreessen Horowitz.

She has led investments in Boom, Instacart, Convoy, Brex, Gusto, and was closely involved with the management teams of Airbnb, Instacart, Medium, OfferUp, and Udacity.

After completing her bachelor’s in electronics and communications engineering from the National Institute of Karnataka in 2001, Anu secured a fully-funded scholarship to pursue master’s in electrical engineering from Virginia Tech.

She is also an MBA graduate from the University of Pennsylvania. Anu started her professional journey as a software engineer at Qualcomm before taking up the role as a Principal at The Boston Consulting Group's Private Equity practice.

YS Learn: Anu Hariharan

Anu Hariharan, Partner, YC Continuity Fund

6. Archana Vohra 

Archana Vohra knows her way around building and monetising digital resources. As the director of SMB Facebook India, she leads digital market business for the social media giant. 

Keen on enabling entrepreneurship and helping businesses thrive online, she has led the efforts to launch Business Resource Hub, a guide for small and medium enterprises to weather the immediate challenges of COVID-19. Archana plans on increasing training, mentoring, and skilling SMB entrepreneurs in the country.

7. Bhairavi Jani 

A fourth-generation entrepreneur, Bhairavi Jani is the founder and chairperson of IEF Entrepreneurship Foundation and the executive director of SCA Group of Companies. She is also keen on developmental and philanthropic activities, and her leadership qualities are unmissable.

Apart from her faith in the entrepreneurship ecosystem, she drove over 18 kms across India for 51 days to understand people’s opinion on entrepreneurship regarding improving livelihood and fostering development. Bhairavi is also an eco-warrior, promoting sustainable practices.

8. Deepthi Ravula 

After a 15-year-long corporate career in the US, Deepthi Ravula returned to Telangana to serve as the Joint Director of Electronics in 2016. Noting that only a handful of women entrepreneurs were availing opportunities tailored for them, she introduced Women Entrepreneur’s Hub in 2017. 

It is now a thriving community where entrepreneurs receive mentorship to polish their ideas, interact with peers, VCs, and corporates to take their startups forward. At TechSparks 2020, Deepthi will speak about the long-standing issue of gender disparity in funding.

9. Geetha Manjunath

Geetha Manjunath, Founder, CEO, and CTO of Niramai, is known for innovating non-invasive AI and ML-based solution to detect early-stage breast cancer. She has more than 15 US patents to her credit.

The entrepreneur means it when she claims to always be on the lookout for new learnings. With a master’s in computer science and engineering from the Indian Institute of Science (IISc) in 1991, followed by 17 years of working on the field as a technologist, she pursued PhD in AI and data mining between 2007 and 2013. It was a totally new subject she wanted explore, not knowing it would take on to shape tech innovations the way it does today.

Co-author of Moving to the Cloud, Geetha’s career, spanning over two decades, involves heading Data Analytics Research in Xerox India and leading research efforts at Hewlett Packard. 

10. Ghazal Alagh 

Ghazal Alagh is the Co-founder and Chief Innovations Officer at Honasa Consumer, which does business as Mamaearth. Its MadeSafe-certified toxin-free baby care products have set the company on a spectacular journey, clocking Rs 100 crore revenue in four years.

Hear the entrepreneur spill the beans of her success at TechSparks 2020.

11. Jalak Rawal 

Jalak Rawal knows what it means to be young and working as COO at Monk Entertainment – where she is also a founding partner. The startup has made great inroads in the digital sphere from content creation to digital talent management, social media management, brand marketing, and video production. 

It is helping companies like Gillette, Skechers, Godrej, Tinder, Groww, Skillshare, and Future Group reach a wider audience by tapping influencer marketing. Tune in to all-virtual TechSparks 2020 to listen to her speak on ways businesses can harness social media for greater reach.

12. Juliane Frömmter

Juliane Frömmter is the programme director of German accelerator’s Next Step India, where she focuses on helping German startups scale their businesses in India. With over seven years of experience in building international support programmes, she has helped over 20 startups enter and scale their businesses in India.

An MBA graduate from Hult International Business School, Juliane will participate in a discussion on driving international collaborations in the startup ecosystem.

13. Jyoti Ahuja 

Jyoti Ahuja has more than a decade’s experience in building scalable platforms. As the director of engineering at Intuit, she leads product development for financial data and keep it readily accessible for partners and clients.  

Having completed her master’s in computer science from the University of Connecticut, she was earlier associated with Yahoo as a senior engineering manager.

14. Kristin Kagetsu 

Kristin Kagetsu is the co-founder and CEO of Saathi, which makes 100 percent biodegradable and affordable sanitary napkins. The Ahmedabad-based startup’s products, which are made by banana fibre, was recognised among 100 best inventions of 2019 by Time magazine.

Born and raised in New York, Kristin has a bachelor’s in mechanical engineering from MIT. She is passionate about using her expertise in engineering for social benefit. A trailblazer, she was named among Forbes 30 under 30 Asia in the healthcare and science category in 2017. 

15. Leanne Kemp

Serial entrepreneur Leanne Kemp is the Founder and CEO of Everledger, a startup that leverages blockchain to bring transparency in the diamond industry. 

She also co-chairs the World Economic Forum’s Global Future Council and sits on the IBM Blockchain Platform Board of Advisors, among many other roles.  

With as many as 32 awards to her name, she is the first female to be appointed as the Queensland Chief Entrepreneur and is driven towards drawing investment and job opportunities in the state. 

16. Lianna Brinded

Lianna Brinded is the head of Yahoo Finance in the UK. In nearly two decades of work experience, she is credited with rebuilding Yahoo Finance’s brand in the UK and leading editorial efforts as well. A master’s in contemporary war and peace studies from the University of Sussex, Lianna is a staunch voice for a diverse and inclusive workplace.

17. Madhurima Agarwal

Madhurima Agarwal is one to challenge norms and take the road less travelled. Working as the director of engineering programmes and leader at NetApp Excellerator, she turned to entrepreneurship after graduating from IIM Ahmedabad, and made an exit in two years. 

She believes India is just scratching the surface in empowering women technologists. The tech and startup veteran will discuss enabling women in tech as she believes it is the need of the hour.

18. Maggie Inbamuthiah

Maggie Inbamuthiah, Managing Director of India

One of the nine girls in a class of 40 studying computer engineering at National Institute of Technology (NIT), Tiruchirappalli, in the 1990s, Maggie Inbamuthiah is all too aware of the gender disparity in technology. 

Today, as the Managing Director of India, a global non-profit organisation advancing careers of women in technology, she is encouraging young girls and women to explore career in STEM and correct gender balance in tech innovation. 

The organisation is striving to achieve a target of 50/50 Tech Equity by 2025 where women make up 50 percent of the tech workforce. 

19. Malika Datt Sadani 

Malika Datt Sadani’s concerns on seeking natural and toxin-free products for babies struck a chord with many mothers. As the founder and CEO of The Moms Co., Malika works with experts and makes no compromise in keeping the baby care products natural. But a lot goes into building and sustaining a fast-growing D2C brand, and the banker-turned entrepreneur will address just that at TechSparks 2020.

Edited by Megha Reddy