[100 Emerging Women Leaders] Learning the art of storytelling with Instoried founder Sharmin Ali
Sharmin Ali dons multiple hats—actor, author, content creator, entrepreneur, and speaker. But the role she likes the most is that of a storyteller.
After a successful career with the management consulting firm Mu Sigma, Sharmin wanted to dabble in the world of content creation and storytelling. In 2017, she founded Instoried, an artificial intelligence (AI) based platform that helps people write better content.
Sharmin says, “When you create content, the bigger problem is to understand if the content will resonate with the audience. So, we came up with a technological solution that would help content writers gauge the emotional engagement quotient of their content. This would help people write stories that would stick with the audience, resulting in better sales.”
According to the entrepreneur, the biggest challenge she faced was in forming the core team. She considers herself lucky that she managed to build a team of great minds from different areas.
“The leadership team primarily sets the path for the younger guys to follow the vision and the mission. I have been lucky enough to find a co-founder in Sutanshu Raj, who is also the CTO (chief technology officer); I have known him for 15 years now. As I come with a sales background, I knew that if I had to build a company, I would love him to be in the team,” Sharmin says.
However, despite her strong credentials, she wasn’t immune from facing biases in the industry as a woman entrepreneur.
“First of all, it’s not easy being a woman. In the initial days, angel investors would not talk to me and ask questions only to Sutanshu. This is a global problem, where men attribute women to more creative-driven aspects of their lives and don’t think that they can lead a tech team as well,” says Sharmin.
She draws her inspiration from her mother, who was a lawyer and a theatre artist.
“I was born and brought up in a family where women are always asked for their opinions while making decisions. My parents always advised me to take care of myself, build a career, and make my own decisions,” she adds.
As someone who believes in standing up for themselves, Sharmin also highlights the importance of building connections and seeking help.
“There are investors today who like to invest only in women entrepreneurs. They can get all the help and opportunities they want. But you would not know about them unless you network. It is a great world filled with great opportunities. You just need to network with the right people on the right platform,” Sharmin concludes.
Edited by Kanishk Singh