[100 Emerging Women Leaders] Meet Surabhi Washishth, the youngest woman general partner in India
At 25, Surabhi Washishth became one of the country's youngest HR (Human Resources) directors at WeWork India. She was credited to have scaled the team from one to 500 and was also part of the downsizing efforts during the pandemic.
Besides all the other feathers added to her cap, Surabhi accomplished her newest feat at her global VC (venture capital) fund,, becoming the youngest woman general partner in the country.
There is no stopping this young entrepreneur as she makes her way through different fields. Today, Surabhi is running Paradigm Shift Capital with her co-founders, Dhruv Washishth and Govind Mundhra.
Surabhi’s first career choice was, however, in the field of finance. Later in her career, while looking for opportunities beyond her corporate job, she realised the weak points in recruitment in the HR industry.
She says, “On applying to a company, often your application just tends to go into a black hole, and you never hear back; that experience made a huge mark on me.”
Thus, with realising the gaps in the recruitment segment, HR became a passion area for Surabhi, who joined her first startup,, as one of their first ten employees.
Surabhi had realised her liking for building something from scratch early on, and with the booming startup ecosystem in the country, Surabhi, who had worked and significantly excelled in the startup space, now wanted to experience it first-hand.
Soon, she was joined by her brother, Dhruv Washishth, and former colleague and friend, Govind Mundhra.
Surabhi states, “We loved helping founders out along their journey and we were all already doing that organically throughout our careers, be it as an entrepreneur, operator, or as someone on the peoples’ side of the support. We realised that we were three key pillars of building out a startup that every founder needs help on.”
Hence came Paradigm Shift Capital, an attempt to collectively help out Indian founders along their global journeys, by providing them with the right guidance and support.
Today, 28-year-old Surabhi spends most of her time doing what she does the best—helping the portfolio companies with their people practices.
Dealing with conscious and unconscious biases as a women leader, Surabhi keeps her focus intact and believes in letting her work speak for herself.
“Age is not the accurate indicator of what you can do ahead, and I use that as a motivator, myself. No matter what kind of biases you deal with, you must continue to focus on the quality of work you do. Let your work speak for itself,” she states.
She adds, “You could be a lot older, or you have had the right kind of experience but that doesn’t speak of the quality of work you can deliver, it may not necessarily be an accurate indicator of what you can do ahead, and I use that as a yardstick for myself."
Surabhi believes that at present, we are at the cusp of the most opportunity that we can have. In her words, “all that we need is the right amount of motivation, determination, grit, and most importantly, self-confidence.”
Advising young women leaders, the young entrepreneur states, “We as women tend to hold ourselves back, and I was very fortunate to recognise this early enough. We need to overcome our own internal biases. Shatter your own glass ceilings—that’s been my motto, for sure.”
(The story has been updated to correct a typo)
Edited by Affirunisa Kankudti