These Indian Start-Up Queens Will Inspire You To Take The Entrepreneurial Plunge
Women are entrepreneurs right from birth; it's just that society forces them to prove their mettle time and again. We have many superwomen in India who have boldly stepped out of their comfort zones, worked round the clock and have soared heights. Ladies and gentlemen, here’s a detailed list of women entrepreneurs (in no particular order) whom you cannot afford to ignore!
Minnat Lalpuria Rao - Founder, 7Vachan
Minnat had the bug for entrepreneurship ever since she was pursuing her MBA at the Indian School of Business, Hyderabad. She made sure to live the dream through her venture 7Vachan, which is an online wedding consulting service. 7Vachan has allowed couples to plan the venue and other services for the wedding within minutes! Minnat’s superlative experience in the digital and managerial world is surely helping her to streamline the chaos of big fat Indian weddings!
Pavithra YS - Founder, Vindhya eInfomedia
Pavithra YS is the founder of Vindhya eInfomedia, which employs differently-abled people. Vindhya eInfomedia is not only a BPO, but is also an organisation promoting socio-economic empowerment. Pavithra even supports the use of sign language at the workplace. She has worked with Airtel, Titan, Wipro and other big firms.
Pernia Qureshi - Founder, Pernia’s Pop-Up Shop
Pernia was attracted to the world of fashion since childhood. Despite studying law, she worked with Harper’s Bazaar, freelanced for Conde Nast and even worked with some of the best designers of the country. She has even styled for the movie Aisha and since then, there has been no turning back for her. She owns the online fashion store Pernia's Pop-Up Shop, which is making its own music when it comes to fashion!
Priya Maheshwari - Founder, Properji.com
Priya had to face a lot of trouble to find a home in Bangalore, when she re-located from California. It was this gruesome experience which galvanized her to co-found Properji in 2013. Properji has helped many individuals to find themselves a home and as a matter of fact, it has become a popular platform for all the home seekers. See what hard work can do!
Ajaita Shah - Founder, Frontier Markets
Ajaita Shah, an American India Foundation fellow, started Frontier Markets with an idea to help low income households in developing countries. An alumna of Tufts University, Ajaita Shah is impacting low income households by the products of clean energy, health and sanitation. Going by the growth, Frontier Markets is at the forefront and Ajaita Shah is one lady who is absolutely using her experience of five years in microfinance for the same!
Vijaya Pastala - Founder, Under The Mango Tree
Vijaya Pastala believes in empowering communities and seconds the idea of environmentally feasible economic growth. She founded Under The Mango Tree to connect farmers, customers, and suppliers, and make the availability of honey ubiquitous. Under The Mango Tree works with farmers and makes sure that natural, single-origin honey reaches households. Having studied regional planning at MIT, USA, unsurprisingly, Vijaya thoroughly knows how to make superlative plans for her venture!
Pooja Dhingra - Founder, Le 15 Patisserie
She graduated from Le Cordon Bleu, Paris and in 2010, she founded Le 15 Patisserie - a heaven for all the macaroon and cupcake lovers in Mumbai! She is also the author of ‘The Big Book of Treats’, which was published by Penguin Books India. Pooja has also founded Studio Fifteen Culinary Centre, which conducts workshops for teaching various cuisines on a regular basis. In 2014, Pooja was on Forbes India’s prestigious list of '30 Under 30'.
Shradha Sharma - Founder, YourStory
Shradha Sharma has not only changed the way we perceive entrepreneurship and start-ups in India, but she has also bolstered the dreams of thousands of potential entrepreneurs. Shradha is the editor and founder of YourStory, which is one of the best media platforms in India for entrepreneurs (they have written about more than 14,000 entrepreneurs and still counting).
Shradha has previously worked with CNBC TV 18 and The Times of India. Having been brought up in Patna by a headstrong mother, her passion for work speaks for itself! Although a bit late compared to her efforts, Shradha has been awarded L'oreal Paris Femina Women Awards 2015, in the 'Online Influence' category.
Upasana Taku - Founder, Zaakpay
Upasana Taku had wanted to do something different right since she was in school. She studied industrial engineering at NIT, Jalandhar, completed a Masters at Standford, worked with Paypal and in 2008, she co-founded Zaakpay, which today has become one of the most secure payment gateways. She has certainly made a difference, hasn't she.
Neelam Chibber - Founder, Industree Crafts and Mother Earth
Alumna of Santa Clara University, USA and Harvard's executive program, Neelam co-founded Mother Earth and Industree Crafts in 1994. Industree Crafts empowers rural industries and artists and connects them with retail and international companies. They have built an ecosystem of rural designers and even introduced a brand named Mother Earth in 2008, with the help of Future Group. Neelam shows us that women definitely can design their life!
Ranjana Naik - Founder, Swan Suites
Ranjana Naik’s venture Swan Suites is an ultimate answer to expensive hotels. Founded in 2008, Swan Suites provides more than 140 well-furnished apartments, along with amenities for accommodation. Ranjana out of her perseverance, has created a customer base of more than 15,000 people for Swan Suites. She always wanted to do something for herself and she is doing it with passion!
Tina Chulet - Founder and CEO, Waltzz
Waltzz is a mobile dating platform, which ensures safety for women who are looking forward to finding a match. An alumna of Kellogg School Of Management, Tina manages a growing team of passionate people at Waltzz. It is because of her eye for details that Waltzz reviews and monitors the profiles of people, to make things more credible! Tina is making magic happen!
Anisha Singh - Founder, Mydala
Mydala is Anisha Singh’s second company. Founded in 2009, Mydala is a merchant marketing platform. She works with a team of more than 300 employees and Mydala is creating a presence in more than 190 cities. Being a seasoned entrepreneur and an MBA graduate, Anisha Singh believes that women should not always play it safe!
Swati Bhargava - Co-Founder, Cashkaro
Swati was always good at mathematics; after all, she studied at the London School of Economics. Pouringpounds was co-founded by Swati and she has even co-founded Cashkaro, which has become India’s largest cashback coupons site. Swati has previously worked with Goldman Sachs.
Aditi Avasthi - Founder, Embibe
Embibe is an online education platform which assists students for various competitive exams like JEE, BITSAT, etc. Aditi, because of lack of proper guidance, could not make it through JEE and that prompted her to provide help to students who faced dilemma for such exams. Out of passion, Aditi travels to various cities to make students and parents cognizant about digital means of education, and she is creating hope for young students.
Ashwini Asokan - Founder, Mad Street Den
Ashwini has worked with Intel for more than ten years. Design, music and classical dance influenced her so much that at Carnegie Mellon she explored movement grammars and rigorously researched. She co-founded Mad Street Den, which employs artificial intelligence and computer vision to create better experiences for consumers. Ashwini is skill-fully managing the venture despite being a mother to pretty young kids.
Chitra Gurnani Daga - Co-Founder and CEO, Thrillophilia
Chitra risked it all and co-founded Thrillophilia, which has made the act of going for adventure sports, trekking and travelling very easy for people. Though she graduated from Indian School of Business, the decision to start Thrillophilia was not at all easy; however Chitra’s passion made its way and Thrillophilia has met success.
Arpita Ganesh - Founder and CEO, Buttercups
Arpita Ganesh is the brain behind Buttercups, which is gaining a name as an online as well as offline lingerie shop. Arpita even manages a blog named A Bra That Fits and she has worked for more than five years with famous lingerie brands. Arpita doesn't shy away while talking about lingerie or her venture, and it is this confidence of hers which is making Buttercups more promising!
Garima Satija - Founder, Poshvine
Started in 2011 by Garima Satija, Poshvine is an online platform which offers access to tours and experiences, with more than 5000 activities including dining, travelling, and more to the customers. Garima works with many high profile clients such as Citibank, Axis Bank and others.
Debadutta Upadhyaya - Co-Founder and CEO, Timesaverz
Timesaverz helps customers save their time and provides deliveries of products to their homes. Debadutta has worked as a journalist with some of India's reputed media corporations; however, having faced the challenges of a working woman and a mother, she started Timesaverz to create a service which fulfils people's household needs!
Harpreet Kaur - Founder, Love4Apple
A serial entrepreneur, Harpreet co-founded Love 4 Apple, which works with artists to design accessories for most of the Apple products. Harpreet wanted to work for herself, make mistakes and learn with dignity. It looks like she is living her life as she expected!
Neeru Sharma - Co-Founder, Infibeam
For Neeru Sharma, degrees of engineering in computer science and MBA helped to understand technology as well as commerce. She has worked with Amazon, Alcatel India but the itch to make an impact always bothered her. She co-founded Infibeam, which is connecting thousands of merchants and brands with customers - what an impact!
Kanika Tekriwa - Founder, Jet Set Go
Kanika Tekriwal battled cancer, worked with the aviation industry for more than seven years, and founded Jet Set Go, which offers booking for private jet charters. Jet Set Go is revolutionising the experience for private jet journeys and the credit certainly goes to Kanika’s sense of initiative!
Lisa Srao - Founder, I Brand Beverages Limited
Lisa founded I Brand Beverages Limited in 2010, a company which manufactures and distributes a variety of spirits in India. Though there were lots of challenges for Lisa in the alcohol ecosystem, she braved them all and I Brands Beverages Limited has become one of the fastest growing start-ups.
Neetu Bhatia - Co-Founder, KyaZoonga
Neetu Bhatia has been an investment banker and has worked for more than nine years in the areas of strategy, financial transactions, media and telecom. She co-founded Kya Zoonga, a platform which has made a name for sports and entertainment bookings. Kudos Neetu!
Neha Motwani - Founder, Fitternity
What’s better than converting your own experiences into a venture that helps thousands of people? Neha Motwani founded Fitternity with the same philosophy. Fitternity helps people find and book wellness and health-related activities. Seeing the records, Neha and her team might streamline the fitness market in India.
Neha Behani - Co-Founder, Moojic
Neha co-founded Moojic, which allows people to choose and play their favourite songs wherever they hangout. Though she encountered reservations from owners of cafes and restaurants, she decided to carry on with patience, her experience and lessons of MBA, came in handy. Her efforts have paid off and currently, Moojic has carved out its existence in many cities.
Leela Bordia - Founder, Neerja International Inc
Founded in 1978, by Leela Bordia, Neerja International Inc is globally appreciated for its blue pottery. Having created more than thousands of designs and various blue pottery products, Leela Bordia is zealous and her venture bolsters many craftsmen and families. It is not a shock to read a case study on Leela Bordia in the textbook on Entrepreneurship published by CBSE.
Pankhuri Shrivastava - Co-Founder, Grabhouse
Pankhuri previously worked as a Teach For India fellow. Pankhuri had an option to opt for an MBA, but she chose to work with Teach For India. She co-founded Grabhouse, which lessens the burden of people for finding roommates. She believes that one can begin a start-up at any time!
Pallavi Gupta - Co-Founder, Mast Kalandar
Pallavi Gupta ditched the monotony of a 9-to-5 job and co-founded Mast Kalandar in 2009. Mast Kalandar is a quick service restaurant which serves delicious north Indian meals. They even provide tiffins. Currently, Mast Kalandar operates in more than three cities and has almost seventy branches, and Pallavi is ready to tap into the international market.
Parul Gupta - Founder, Slide Rule
Co-founded in 2013 by Parul Gupta, Slide Rule is an online learning hub which is changing the education scene in India. An alumna of IIT, Bombay, Parul is making efforts to make online education more accessible and impactful, through Slide Rule.
Preeta Sukhtankar - Founder, The Label Corp
Preeta trusts the power of content and branding. She has worked with magazines as well as electronic media. Her experience helped her in starting The Label Corp, through which people can have celebrities become their guides for choosing brands and products. Preetha, despite not having any prior experience in the e-commerce industry, is creating a niche for The Label Corp out of sheer will and hard work.
Sneha Raisoni - Founder, Tappu Ki Dukaan
Tappu ki Dukaan sells some of the coolest and vivacious products of multiple brands. Founded by Sneha Raisoni, a chartered accountant, Tappu ki Dukaan offers irresistible diaries, photo frames, chai stands and lots more. For Sneha, freedom was important and it is this urge for independence which stops her from returning to the corporate world. Tappu ki Dukaan, as expected, is churning out some really awesome products!
Suchi Mukherjee - Founder, Lime Road
Lime Road is one e-commerce platform that most ladies love and recognize! Suchi Mukherjee started the company in 2012 and hasn't looked back since. Lime Road offers the coolest accessories, clothes and products across hundreds of categories. Suchi is an alumna of London School of Economics and her drive for building unique platforms has made Lime Road one of the best online shopping destinations!
Surabhi Dewra - Founder, Mera Career Guide
Surabhi Dewra co-founded Mera Career Guide with a motive to solve the queries of students about their careers. Surabhi even wishes to provide personal guidance and mentorship to students so that they can make long term decisions. She is alumna of Birla Institute of Technology And Science. Her experience in the technology sector has really helped her to explore new heights for her venture.
Pramad Jandhyala - Co-Founder, Latent View
An alumna of BITS Pilani and IIM-C, Pramad has an outstanding experience of more than ten years. She co-founded Latent View, a firm which works on data analytics and data management, because of her interest in the sector. She seconds the idea of breaking out of comfort zones!
Pranshu Bhandari - Co-Founder, Culture Alley
Pranshu is the co-founder of one of the best educational apps: Culture Alley. Alumna of NMIMS, Pranshu has previously worked with Sun Microsystems and Wipro. Her preference to be the best has helped Culture Alley win several awards and engage more than two million users!
Rashi Choudhary - Co-Founder, Local Banya
An alumna of SP Jain Institute of Management Studies, Rashi has worked with Ernst and Young and Raymonds Retail. Rashi is more of a perfectionist and the retail sector had an influence on her. She co-founded Local Banya and has managed to create quite a buzzing digital retail marketplace!
Rishika Chandan - Founder, The Home Salon
It is difficult for working women to find time to go to salons. Rishika, an alumna of Indian School of Business, also faced that challenge and one day she had an idea to provide beauty and wellness treatments at home. The Home Salon thus came into existence. Rishika ensures that the customers get similar kind of luxury and treatment, which they enjoy at spas at their homes through her venture. She is definitely making women look more beautiful!
Sabina Chopra - Co-Founder, Yatra
Sabina has an experience of more than 15 years and she thoroughly understands the “technicalities” of customer care and retention, operations, delivery, and more. She is the co-founder and EVP Operations of Yatra. Under Sabina’s leadership, Yatra has always met its targets.
Radhika Ghai Aggarwal - Co-Founder, Shop Clues
Radhika has brought Shop Clues to where it is today, because of her experience spanning more than 14 years across retail, branding, fashion, PR and advertising. She co-founded Shop Clues and her versatility has bolstered Shop Clues in a huge way.
Prukalpa Shankar - Co-Founder, Social Cops
Prukalpa was mentioned in Forbes India's ’30 under 30’ list. She is the co-founder of Social Cops, a firm which empowers decision making through the support of data and helps in solving social problems. As her LinkedIn profile says, 'Prakulpa dreams to support the Indian Army someday and combat disasters by making better use of data.'
Sairee Chahal - Founder, SHEROES
Sairee has previously worked as a journalist, after which she started Newslink services in 1999 which connected mariners. She studied at JNU and IMT Ghaziabad. She founded SHEROES, which is inspired from Fleximoms; it assists women with mentoring and projects, and guides them for managing work-life balance. SHEROES has helped more than one million women, connected more than 4000 companies with job seekers and the success stories cannot be counted! Sairee is a SHERO indeed!
Saumya Vardhan - Founder, Shubhpuja
Saumya Vardhan has previously worked with KPMG and Ernst & Young. She is an MBA graduate from Imperial College London, who decided to start Shubhpuja while she wanted to return to India. Shubhpuja provides hassle-free services for organising rituals. Saumya is making the best use of the opportunities that are open for exploration in the spiritual sector.
Meena Bindra - Founder, Biba
Meena Bindra was a homemaker who always had big dreams and a passion for designing. Seeing her capabilities, her husband arranged a loan for her and there's been no looking back since. What was started as a hobby by Meena has today become Biba, which is exponentially growing as a fashion brand. According to Meena, every woman has the capability to fulfill her dreams!
Nina Lekhi - Founder, Baggit
Nina Lekhi had failed in her textile designing exam. However, that pushed her to become the founder of Baggit, one of the coolest brands for bags and wallets. Baggit, the venture which was started from home, today witnesses a niche made for itself across the country. Conviction can take you places!
Nirmala Kandalgaonkar - Founder, Vivam Agrotech
Vivam Agrotech works on solid waste management under the guidance of Nirmala Kandalgaonkar. Initially, it was difficult for Nirmala to receive seed funding. However, the operations of Vivam Agrotech using the methods of vermin-composting and waste disposition using bio gas soon received appreciation from all quarters and it has established credibility as an organization.
Kavitha Iyer, Founder: Theramyt Novobiologics
Kavitha an alumna of IIM, Bangalore, is the Director of Theramyt Novobiologics which produces biosimilars, biobetters, NBEs to provide economic therapies to patients. Kavitha has even co-founded Inbiopro, a biotechnology startup.
Which one of them inspired you the most? Please share your experience in the comment section.