Life as an entrepreneur is tough, needless to say. Does it help if there’s a supportive ecosystem that allows you to survive, prosper, even grow? Again, needless to say, it does. But pick and choose and go with the best fit for your business.
Case in point was a recent event I attended, organised by Facebook in collaboration with YourStory. Encouraging women entrepreneurs, giving them much-needed mentorship and most importantly, giving them a platform to ask questions, exchange views and get visibility. What more can a gal ask for?!
The evening commute to New Indiranagar (aka KR Puram) was bad – Shwetha and I battled it for 1.5 hours to reach our destination – a hip, happening business centre called CoWrks right at the entrance of RMZ Infinity – a new age techpark housing major software giants and MNCs.
It was a gathering of 50-60 women – entrepreneurs or wannabe-entrepreneurs all – ready to listen to the speakers and pepper them with questions.
Rashmi Daga, CEO and Founder of FreshMenu spoke first.
A candid, no-nonsense speaker, Rashmi recounted her journey from an engineering college in Delhi (parents refused to send her alone to the US – we’ve all been there!) to IIM-Ahmedabad, and then to sales and marketing jobs at big concerns. She talked of how she learned her biggest lessons on the roads, from consumers and customers alike and how she’s poured all her learnings into Freshmenu. A typical serial entrepreneur – Rashmi’s earlier venture failed but she soldiered on – Rashmi’s resounding success with Freshmenu is well known by now. But her narration showed all of us that truly, behind every overnight success, lies years of toil, turmoil and test!
The high-achieving panel of Harsha Kumar | Venture Investor, Light Speed Ventures, Jyotsna Pattabiraman | Founder and CEO, Grow Fit, Aruna Schwarz | Founder and CEO, Stelae Technologies was next.
Moderated by Tanvi Dubey of YourStory, there were ‘provocative’ questions and informed answers from the get-go as the ladies talked about learning from failures, getting funded, preparing to pitch to a VC and more. They had candid, thoughtful responses to questions from the audience – yes, it is possible to incubate a product and a service in the same org (I asked!) but spin it off later, said Harsha, recalling a similar happening at Persistent Systems.
The night grew longer as we lingered fan-girl-like around the famous femmes. But, it was time to bid adieu, as we had another hour plus of journey back to our homes in the deep south. Not before a click with the bunch, though!
Thanks Facebook and YourStory! We don’t qualify for your #SheLeadsTech – we don’t have a mobile app or chatbot (strange criteria for entry!), yet we do manage to run a digital business. Perhaps next time you broaden your scope, we shall apply!