HerStory has been witness to the challenges and struggles women entrepreneurs face and their inspiring stories. Women entrepreneurs, corporate leaders and many other inspiring women have stood firm and pushed barriers to move ahead and seek success.
Be it retail, technology, adventure, education or social enterprise sector, women entrepreneurs as a force are increasing across sectors every year. More and more women are stepping out of their comfort zones and emerging as leaders and changemakers.
Here is a list of 40 women entrepreneurs who have taken the path less trodden, accepted all challenges and have only one way to go — forward.
1) Aditi Avasthi is the Founder and CEO of Embibe, a Mumbai-based ed-tech startup that combines technology and data sciences, and helps students prepare better for competitive complex exams (MCCE) like JEE Main, JEE Advanced, BITSAT and CET/AIPMT. Embibe’s actionable analytics engine has been designed to capture exact student weaknesses centered around critical exam performance metrics like speed, accuracy, time management, attempt planning, stamina and also addresses psychological factors like confidence. Embibe is the outcome of Aditi’s personal experience with the competitive exam system.
2) Aditi Gupta, Founder, Menstrupedia, is educating the society about menstrual health and hygiene through her website. Menstrupedia is a friendly guide to periods which aims at delivering informative content through media. Menstrupedia is a great step towards shattering the taboos surrounding menstruation. Aditi’s initiative has received an overwhelming response.
3) Ajaita Shah is the Founder and CEO of Frontier Markets founded in 2010. Frontier Markets focuses on last mile distribution of products by different manufacturers. The products are essentially clean energy products. Ajaita holds a B.A. in International Relations from Tufts University and has been a catalyst in helping scale clean energy access globally.
4) Anu Sridharan is the CEO of Nextdrop, a social enterprise, which provides accurate and reliable information about water delivery through messaging. It provides residents access to timely and reliable information about piped water supply. NextDrop was launched in 2011, first operating in Hubli-Dharwad, the twin cities in Karnataka.
5)Arpita Ganesh is the Founder of Buttercups, a lingerie company founded on November 1, 2008, that helps women find their right size through personalised fitting and retails lingerie online. Known as the ‘Indian Bra Queen’ in international circles she is the only bra fitter in India and has fitted more than 3000 women till date.
6)Ashwini Asokan is Co-founder of Mad Street Den (Mind Abled Devices) and Founder of Mad Street Lab (UX think tank). Mad street Den is making machines useful by making them a bit more human. It is providing Artificial Intelligence for apps. Ashiwini is based out of Chennai. Before moving to Chennai and starting up with her husband, Ashwini was the Mobile Portfolio Manager at Intel’s Interaction and Experience Research Lab (IXR) in Silicon Valley.
7) Chitra Gurnani Daga is the Co- founder and CEO of Thrillophilia which is a one-stop solution for travel, curated tours and experiences and off beat holidays. Chitra is a MBA from ISB, Hyderabad, and has previously worked at SAP. She started Thrillophilia with her husband Abhishek Daga.
9) Garima Satija is the Founder of PoshVine. Before starting PoshVine, she worked with Naukri.com and Ozone Media. PoshVine allows user to provide their loved ones with unique experiences. Be it culinary classes, travel, workshops or treks you can make it all happen with PoshVine.
10) Harpreet Kaur is the Co-founder of Love 4 Apple her third venture. Harpreet is also the Chief Operator of System3, a successful IT Services and Product Supplier in India. Love4Apple sells accessories for Apple products, including covers designed by top artists as well as platforms for customers to create their own personalized items. Business has always been her passion.
11) Jaya Jha is the Co-founder of InstaScribe, Pothi.com. Jaya’s success results from her love for entrepreneurship, technology and poetry. She started the self-publishing platform Pothi.com in 2008 with Abhaya Agarwal, and is now building InstaScribe, to convert content e-books in the *.rtf format (generally used in Microsoft Word documents) into ePub and Mobi formats.
12) Kanika Tekriwal is the Founder of JetSetGo, an interactive technology driven platform enabling users to search and charter aircrafts and helicopters across India. JetSetGo has almost 80% of India’s private jet fleet on board. This entrepreneur fought cancer and is a relentless pursuer of hope and positivity.
13) Kavitha Iyer is the Co-Founder of Theramyt Novobiologics launced in 2013. A marathon runner, amateur painter, amateur actor and ex-gymnast and a serial entrepreneur, she co-founded Inbiopro in 2007. After exiting Inbiopro, Kavitha launched Theramyt Novobiologics with a focus on bio-similar to bio-better development that combines drug designing with platform technologies. They raised Rs. 27.5 crores in funding from Aarin Capital, Accel Partners, IDG Ventures and Karnataka state government-backed KITVEN last October, and inaugurated their new lab facility in January, 2014.
14) Lisa Srao is the Chairman and Managing Director of I Brands Beverages Ltd, a firm that she founded and started operating in August 2010, and today she is rewriting the rules of the liquor industry. Her aim was to make products of international standard quality in terms of blend, design, look and feel, and make it affordable to her consumers.
15) Neeru Sharma is the Co-founder of Infibeam. After working for Amazon and Alcatel, she had clear ideas about her intentions: she wanted to start up on her own with the support of innovative and energetic young people. Infibeam is a very successful e-commerce platform in India for automobiles, books and electronics. Headquartered in Ahmedabad, it counts 1300 employees, and has offices in other three cities. It acquired few other companies like Picsquare in 2008 and ODigMa.
16) Neetu Bhatia is the Co-founder and CEO of KyaZoonga which was launched in 2007. An investment banker turned entrepreneur, Neetu holds a MS in Management and Engineering from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. KyaZoonga is an entertainment and sports ticketing company.
17) Neha Behani is the Co-Founder of Moojic which is an in-store radio service for local stores, which allows customers to interact with the playlists at the locations that have signed up with. She quit her job and started up her successful venture which in 2013 obtained funds worth $50,000.
18) Neha Motwani is the Founder of Fitternity a platform for fitness enthusiasts looking to find and book fitness activities and supported by credible fitness content and an e-store. The idea behind Fitternity stems from Neha’s personal fitness journey and the intent to provide a complete solution to Indian fitness enthusiasts.
19) Pallavi Gupta is the Co-founder of Mast Kalandar. In 2006, Pallavi and her husband Gaurav Jain quit their IT jobs to start a restaurant. In a few years, its popularity grew exponentially and now counts 50 branches in four different cities. Her experience in retail consultancy was obviously not helpful in the IT sector only.
20) Pankhuri Shrivastava is the Co-founder & CMO of GrabHouse. When Pankhuri moved to Mumbai, she had no idea she would work in real estate. The hardship to find an accommodation in the city bypassing brokers, gave her and her Co-founders Prateek Shukla and Ankit Singhal the hint for a business. GrabHouse is now the largest free flatmate search engine in India and has recently raised $500k from Quotient to launch short term accommodation.
21) Parul Gupta is the Co-founder of SlideRule. She has worked with IBM research and holds a degree in electrical engineering from IIT Bombay. SlideRule is a product that helps people discover the best online courses in every subject.
22) Pramad Jandhyala is the Co-founder of Latentview, a data analytics and data management firm. Pramad graduated from BITS Pilani in Computer Science and did her MBA from IIM-Calcutta. Following this she worked in the financial services (and analytics) for over a decade before starting up.
23) Pranshu Bhandari is the Co-Founder of CultureAlley. Different from other language learning apps, CultureAlley focuses primarily on making students have fun while learning. It personalizes their programs allowing them to practice while on Twitter and it’s totally free! Pransh’s app has taught Mandarin and Spanish to more than 350’000 learners. She is mad about design and technology.
24) Preeta Sukhtankar is the Founder of The Label Corp which is an online retail brand where celebrity creative directors curate products. The Label Corp was established in 2012 and is raised Series A capital from Kalaari Capital.
25) Priya Maheshwari is the Co-founder of Properji to inject trust, transparency and professionalism into property transactions in India. An Ivy League graduate, Priya re-located from the Bay Area, California, to Bangalore. Having understood the real-estate industry in the US, she wants to help Indian customers to make better decisions in property buying.
26) Prukalpa Sankar is the Co-Founder of Social Cops. Founded in 2012 it is a technology data company that works to power data-driven decision making in the healthcare, education and public infrastructure domains. It leverages the power of technology, mobile and social community to enable better decision making, backed by high quality data sourced from the grassroots. Their mission is to put big data to work in the places where it matters the most.
27) Radhika Ghai Aggarwal is the Co-Founder and CMO of ShopClues which was founded in 2011 and is a marketplace that connects buyers and sellers online. Radhika did her MBA from Washington University in St. Louis and has a post-graduate degree in Advertising and Public Relations. She is a keen follower of fashion.
28) Rashi Choudhary is the Co-Founder and COO of LocalBanya an early mover in the CPG/FMCG (grocery) retail segment. By May 2014, LocalBanya was processing over 600 deliveries every day in Mumbai, Thane and Navi Mumbai.
29) Rashi Narang is the Founder of Heads Up For Tails, India’s exclusive luxury brand for ‘pawsh’ and fun doggie couture. Heads Up For Tails was launched in 2008 after a year of research and understanding the pet business and pet market in India.
30) Richa Kar is the Co-founder and CEO of Zivame which retails women lingerie online. After her engineering from BITS Pilani she worked briefly in the IT industry. She also worked with a retailer and global technology company before starting Zivame.
31) Rishika Chandan is the Founder and CEO of The Home Salon based in Mumbai. As an investment banker Rishika found very little time for personal grooming and salon visits were often restricted to weekends. That is when she thought of having hygienic, professional and trained therapists deliver beauty treatments at home.
32) Sabina Chopra is the Co-founder of Yatra founded in 2006. It is an online travel search engine based out of Gurgaon. She has 16 years of work experience. She holds a Bachelor of Arts Degree from Delhi University.
33)Sairee Chahal is the Founder of SHEROES and the Founder of Fleximoms. Sairee founded Sheroes in January 2014 which curates work from home jobs in India, is building a community of working women, helping them find mentors and resources. The focus is on women who are seeking a career along with a work-life balance.
34) Sakshi Tulsian is the Co-founder of Posist. Sakshi’s role at Posist is to ‘catalyse efficiency’. One can guess her skills. Probably it was her love for cooking that led her to co-found Posist, a cloud-based restaurant management platform which provides solutions for table orders, deliveries, expenses, and recipes etc.
35) Saumya Vardhan launched Shubhpuja in 2013. Based in Delhi, this portal offers a religious forum that allows people from all walks of life to conduct pujas and rituals on various occasions. Saumya has worked as an operations and technology consultant with KPMG and Ernst & Young in London and has done an MBA from Imperial College in UK.
36) Sneha Raisoni is the Founder of Tappu Ki Dukaan. Charter accountancy and investment banks were not good enough for Sneha’s creativity. Few years ago, she started up her retail business to sell original pieces of design. Scooter-like pizza cutters, colorful pots to hold jewellery are only a few examples of the creativity that Tappu Ki Dukaan has in store. Having mainly sold products from different brands, she is thinking of launching her own line.
37) Suchi Mukherjee is the Founder & CEO of Limeroad. After a career that saw her building products for Skype, Ebay, and Facebook, Suchi Mukherjee started her own retail platform online. Success has been non-stop. It has 600+ vendors, half of whom are unique to Limeroad, and its traffic has increased by 10 times since April 2013. It has raised $15 million in the second round of funding earlier this year on the basis of their team efficiency, performances, and clarity of their vision.
38) Surabhi Dewra is the Founder of MeraCareerGuide. A degree in engineering and passion for education gave Surabhi the skills to start one of the most successful portals of career counselling for students. Different from other portals, MeeraCareerGuide is accessible anytime, anywhere there is internet connection. The efficiency of the team has led the portal to win the Best Career Guidance Platform Award at ASSOCHAM’s Concern 2012.
39) Upasana Taku is the Co-Founder of MobiKwik and the Founder of Zaakpay. Upasana’s passion for enabling the best possible payment systems has guided her from working at PayPal in the Silicon Valley to the challenging and fascinating world of startups in India. Here, she has solved problems of online payments at Mobikwik(which has recently launched its own mobile money transfer service) where she heads the business development and merchant operations. The same passion led her to found her own payment company, Zaakpay.
40) Valrie Wagoner is the Co-founder of ZipDial, the mobile marketing and analytics platform for global brands emerging markets to engage 100% of their consumers. Valerie has studied from Stanford University and her early career was spent in the Silicon Valley at eBay as well as two startups, Ning and SayNow, where she was among the first five employees.
Author: Tanvi Dubey and Francesca Ferrario