While e-commerce is still young in India, it has seen a number of startups evolving into big companies in a short period of time. Although no single person or a company has emerged as a single leader, a number of individuals together have become the face of this sector in this country.
B.R. Ambedkar once said, “I measure the progress of a community by the degree of progress which women have achieved.” The same could apply for this ecosystem as well, which at the moment has a decent share of women contributing as the front runners, investors, innovators, analysts, journalists and more.
Women entrepreneurs are stepping up to show their skill and vision and prove that they have the ability to take their budding ventures to scaling heights. Let’s have a look at some of the women who are making a difference in this growing e-commerce ecosystem.
Swati Bhargava is the Chief Executive Officer and the Co-founder of CashKaro. A graduate from London School of Economics (LSE), Swati started her first online entrepreneur venture cashback site Pouring Pounds in the UK in mid-2011 with her husband Rohan. Recognising the huge potential in India, in April 2013 they started CashKaro.
The biggest challenge they faced while building Cashkaro was to educate the Indian market about the concept of Cashback and affiliate marketing. Her biggest strength and motivation has been her husband Rohan Bhargava. As Swati puts it, “Being an entrepreneur is not easy, but if you have the right partner it’s an incredible experience where you enjoy the journey as much as the destination!”
She advices aspiring women entrepreneurs to be confident and determined on building a good business. She says ‘Be focussed in acquiring your dream, so as to win over or over ride any misconception or stereotypes people might hold about you. And take the limit off and go forth!’
Neeru Sharma is the Co-Founder and the Director of Corporate Development at Infibeam, an Indian online shopping portal. A graduate from Carnegie Mellon University, she has worked with Amazon. Amazon was her first e-commerce sector experience, which opened the doors for her to explore new business ideas and thus Infibeam was discovered. With a clear vision and the required skill set to succeed to make an impact she founded Infibeam.
While building Infibeam, the biggest challenge she braved was finding the correct talent for her venture. Since, when the organisation was founded, startups were not common among the people. Her family is her pillar of support and strength that encourages her to endure bold bets. She loves poetry, dance and spending time with her family. Her advice for the aspiring entrepreneurs is, “Chase your dreams till they become true!”
Richa Kar is a CEO and Co-Founder of Zivame.com , an online lingerie shopping portal in India. An NMIMS graduate, she has a prior work experience with the Spencers. Zivame was founded in August 2011.
Her initial hurdles in setting up Zivame were incorporating the company, renting out a space for the company, getting a payment gateway etc.
As Richa says people still are not really OK to talk about lingerie openly and for women lingerie shopping is a five minute hurried chore. To sort out this problem, for the Indian woman, she started her venture Zivame.
Being a woman herself she understands her customer’s requirement much better. Being a woman entrepreneur is a blessing in disguise for her. She believes if you are strong, focused and passionate about what you want to do, everything falls in place.
Suchi Mukherjee is the Founder and CEO of online shopping portal Limeroad.com, which was founded in 2012. A graduate from LSE, she has worked with Gumtree, an eBay Inc Company and Skype.
Apart from her business, Suchi’s interests include theatre, painting and horse riding. Her experience in the international online companies has been her strength and it helped her start the venture.
Limeroad gives an option where users can create their own scrapbook of looks and ideas. The challenge for her was to find the right talent for her venture and other complexities that come along while starting a company. Her advice for women aspiring for an entrepreneurial future is to have a fighter gene, for the journey is both extraordinarily satisfying yet fraught with enormous challenges.
Upasana Taku is the CEO and Co-Founder of Zaakpay.com, a mobile app payment SDKs and web payment solutions to ecommerce companies in India. A Stanford University graduate, she has an extensive work experience in many technical firms, such as Wipro Spectramind, Sun Microsystems, Stanford Linear Accelerator etc.
Her first startup venture was Mobikwik in February 2010 with her husband Bipin Preet Singh. Then later that year she launched Zaakpay with him.
Achieve the unthinkable. Hustle up a storm or die trying. is her motto on Twitter.
Bhawna Agarwal is the CEO of Luxury Retail Services and is an Advisory Board member at VentureFund. She is an award winning digital leader with 16+ experience in media houses, internet companies and start-ups in India.
Bhawna started her internet journey in 2000. being a founding team member of Times Internet, her first challenge was to create an online travel platform, which she successfully achieved and today its known as Indiatimes Travel.
She has also been a member of the founding team of Yatra.com, where she was heading P&L responsibility and provided operational leadership for Sales, Alliances, Product, Marketing etc.
She is very active across the startup ecosystem in India. Her specialities are Start-up business, E-com & Online Travel Strategy, Internet Marketing, Online Customer behavior, etc.
Pearl Uppal is a Internet Startup and Growth specialist, an Entrepreneur and an Investor. After years of experience in companies like GE, Rediff and Yahoo, she foounded and led India based e-commerce marketplace Fashionandyou.com.
After that stint, she moved on and founded 5ideas Startup Superfuel in 2012 with her husband Gaurav Kachru. The Startup Superfuel Fund is a seed & early stage fund focused on digital assets based in India.
It has been 13 years since Pearl is being a strong guide in helping building startups and high growth businesses in the Internet Industry across media and commerce.
Anisha Singh is a Founder and CEO of mydala.com, a discount coupon website, which recently forayed into online retail.
She is a graduate from American University and began her career on Capitol Hill working with the Clinton administration helping women entrepreneurs raise funding for innovative women-led businesses. She then worked at Centra Software in Boston before returning to India and setting up, Kinis (Software) Solutions, a provider of customized e-learning solutions for Fortune 500 companies. And finally launched MyDala in 2009.
She was conferred the ‘Women Leadership Award’ at the World Women Leadership Congress in 2014 and the ‘Leading Woman in Retail’ Award in 2012.
Vani Kola is the Managing Director at the Kalaari Capital and the CEO at the IndoUS Venture Partners. Kalaari Capital, founded in 2011, is a USD 160 million venture capital fund which has funded more than 50 companies in India.
A post-graduate from Arizona State University and a successful entrepreneur in Silicon Valley, she works with first time entrepreneurs to help build strong global companies. She has successfully led investments in e-commerce, mobile services, education and healthcare. Some of Vani’s notable successes include Snapdeal, Myntra, VIA, Apps Daily, Urban Ladder, Zivame, Power2SME and Bluestone.
Along with being a successful business woman she is an adventure hiker, dog lover and enthusiastic meditation practitioner. Her specialities lie in Indian venture capital, start-ups, mergers and acquisitions, technology, adventure travel, women VCs, women entrepreneurs and women issues.
Sabina Chopra is the EVP Operations at Yatra.com. She is a graduate from Delhi University and headed India based Operations of ebookers, a Europe based online travel company.
Taking her learning and experience from her time at ebookers, in 2006, she co-founded Yatra.com and shaped it into one of India’s most popular travel portals.