You’d think that women who start and lead companies are probably bred differently. But the truth is that they aren’t any different from any of us. They have had their fair share of challenges, defeats and inhibitions, yet they stood up and started some of the very best and renowned startup companies that are worth millions today. Read the stories of these 5 women who founded their startups and how they did it.
A woman’s role in today’s world isn’t restricted and it should never be that way. In a century where women are breaking stereotypes and glass ceilings in various fields, we have come a long way and how. Today every little girl can dream to be anyone she wants to be, she can choose from women role models in every possible field and excel in it.
However, this wasn’t the case a few decades ago. Back then, our gender defined our roles and set boundaries to what we could or could not accomplish. The options were not only limited but also intimidating. It was truly a man’s world. But not anymore.
Today we have women right on top in every industry, be it healthcare, politics, engineering, business, finance and fashion. You name it and we can spell out names of remarkable fierce women in all these fields and more.
Without digressing any further, let’s take a look at 5 such women who founded companies that started as startups but are now a big deal and well-known brands. What makes it special is that they are all run and founded by #Superwomen.
Priti Rathi Gupta – LXME
LXME which is India’s first financial planning app that caters specifically to women was started by Priti in 2019 who is also the Managing Director and Promoter at Anand Rathi Share & Stock Brokers Ltd. Priti got married at 19 but that never stopped her from fulfilling her dreams of getting an education, being a mother or starting her own company. LXME’s offerings for women include Mutual Fund investments, health insurance, trainings and other course material for learning about investing and a strong community for like-minded women who want to invest.
Priti’s story is one that is not just inspirational but also highly commendable to many women who are starting out but feel like they are being tied down due to marriage or motherhood. Because she went back to studying after being married and having her first child. In 1994, she helped her husband set up the National Stock Exchange Desk after her husband and father merged the business.
In 2014 Priti started a film production company called Ishka Films and since then produced the movie Waiting starring Naseeruddin Shah and Kalki Koechlin. Her other film Karwaan released in 2018 which is a comedy-drama has a 7.5 rating on IMDb. In short, Priti defied all norms that women are subject to and went ahead and chased her dreams.
Falguni Nayar – Nykaa
Well, the company needs no introduction. Founded in 2012, Nykaa started as an e-commerce portal curating a range of beauty and wellness products. Today the website also sells fashion products and has exclusive stores across the country.
Falguni who is a graduate from IIM-Ahmedabad was formerly a managing director at Kotak Mahindra Capital Company. She started Nykaa in her 50s which sets the precedent of how your age has nothing to do with what you want to do in your life. Nykaa is now a household name in the entire country and we only have one woman to thank, Falguni Nayar.
Shradha Sharma – YourStory
Everyone wants to know how an entrepreneur made it, but the absence of a platform to narrate such stories are scarce. YourStory bridges this gap of exceptional entrepreneurs and their stories and the woman behind it is none other than Shradha Sharma. YourStory has told more than 15000 success stories of founders in our country. In 2008, Shradha started YourStory which is a digital-media platform to share stories that inspire a spectrum of audiences and stories that also faced rejection and other hindrances.
Prior to starting YourStory Shradha worked at CNBC TV18 as an Assistant Vice President, she is also an alumnus of MICA, Ahmedabad. YourStory has received investments from Ratan Tata, Vani Kola and T.V. Mohandas Pai.
Upasana Taku – MobiKwik
With over 14 years of experience in payments and financial services Upsana Taku who is an engineering graduate from NIT Jalandhar also has a Masters Degree in Management Science from Stanford University. Upsana co-founded MobiKwik in 2009 along with Bipin who is now her husband as an online recharge platform. Soon this revolutionised and today MobiKwik is a mobile wallet in the country.
In 2014 they received their first funding worth USD 5 million that enabled the company to hire more employees and move to a bigger office space. Subsequently MobiKwik received more funding in 2015 and 2016 respectively.
Upsana has mentioned in her past interviews that when she initially started often auditors, investors and bankers were surprised that they had to deal with her (a woman) and often ask for a male representative. While this shocked her, she made no bones about it and lived through her mantra of ‘Kick up a storm or die trying’.
Richa Kar – Zivame
We couldn’t have completed this blog without mentioning Richa Kar who is the brains behind India’s largest online lingerie brand, Zivame. Today, the brand also has multiple stores spread across the country. When Richa came up with the idea of selling lingerie she received no support whatsoever from her family as they were embarrassed of the idea to sell lingerie online.
Before Richa started her company she held a stable job in Bangalore working with SAP. As a consultant at SAP she learned a lot about the retail sector and tracked sales of other leading international brands that sell lingerie. She learned that India didn’t have such a market and most Indian women were shy of buying lingerie at stores because the shopkeepers were mostly men. Besides, women couldn’t discuss styles or fits with the shopkeepers.
She launched her brand Zivame in 2011 with all her savings and money borrowed from friends, a total of ₹35 lakhs. Today her company is worth more than 600 crores!
As women we are often subject to adhering specific societal norms and it can be discouraging. But these remarkable women founders have taught us that we can rise against all odds and not let anything bog us down. It doesn’t matter how old or young you are, what your background is or what your challenges are, if you wish to succeed you will, provided you stand up for yourself and take charge.
At LXME we strongly believe that women are a lot more than what society expects out of us or has defined us in the past. We invest which has always been a man’s forte and we teach you how to do that if you’re unsure. Everything you need to know about investing is on our app, download it today to see it for yourself.
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