Startup ecosystem mourns death of entrepreneur Pankhuri Shrivastava
Serial entrepreneur Pankhuri Shrivastava, who founded women-focused social community platform, passed away on Friday. Investors and others close to her mourned the untimely demise of the entrepreneur on social media, calling it a huge loss to India’s startup ecosystem.
A computer science engineering graduate from Rajiv Gandhi Technological University, Pankhuri took her entrepreneurial plunge by founding brokerage-free home rental startup Grabhouse in 2012, raised funds from Sequoia Capital, Kalaari Capital, and India Quotient before making a successful exit from Quikr in 2016.
In 2019, she kickstarted the ‘Pankhuri’ journey of creating a platform that allows Indian women to network, learn, and shop through live streaming, chat, and cohort-based sessions, thereby enabling them to be active participants in beauty and lifestyle conversations instead of being passive consumers.
In mid-July this year, when the platform had 250,000 women, Pankhuri raised $3.2 million from Sequoia Capital India’s Surge programme, alongside India Quotient and Taurus Ventures. As a woman entrepreneur, Pankhuri wanted to empower women with digital literacy and help them regain the right to expression through the platform.
Several members of the startup ecosystem recalled their stories with her reflected the entrepreneur’s zeal towards building the startup to give opportunities and a platform to women.
“Hailing from Jhansi, she felt that the spirit of Jhansi Ki Rani was in her blood. She was incredibly satisfied that she opened an office in Jhansi and gave opportunities to girls to work in jobs that gave them a strong identity. She was proud of these girls and how much they could do if only given an opportunity. I saw in Pankhuri a young woman who continued to inspire and give back generously,” Kalaari Capital’s Vani Kola wrote.
Rajan Anandan, Managing Director at Sequoia India, expressed, “Deeply saddened and shocked by this sudden loss. Pankhuri was so full of life, ideas and passion and had a missionary zeal. We loved having Pankhuri in our Surge family and will miss you so dearly. Our thoughts and prayers are with her family in this very difficult time.”
While many fondly remembered the conversations they had with Pankhuri, her leadership qualities and entrepreneurial passion, others who couldn't meet her shared their admiration towards Pankhuri for building for women in non-metro areas.
Edited by Kanishk Singh