Happy Women's day to my fellow female rodinhooders. I just wrote an article on YourStory.in and thought would be interesting to people here. Would welcome your comments.
Entrepreneurship is not harder for Women; it is just a little different!
Entrepreneurship is risky – and women are the ones who risk even their own life to give birth to a new one! So it’s innate for women to be entrepreneurs. Hence, this note is not to preach women on entrepreneurship but to inspire those women who are at the edge of “To be” or “Not to be” in a start-up.
I think the entrepreneurial journey for women is not harder than it is for men, but just a little different! Let me quote a few instances from my journey and the lessons I learnt.
As women in Technology, Ifeel there’s very little expected from us. I was attending a start-up event with my co-founder, Mohit Gundecha. A common industry contact introduced Mohit to a fellow start-up Founder and just stopped there. Well, I then extended my hand and said – “Hi, I am Suruchi, Mohit’s Co-founder at YourNextLeap.” Don’t be surprised! Such things happen; be ready to stand up for yourself.
2. Compare yourself with the best, not just fellow women.
I feel women tend to compare themselves with other women. Get out of your shell and compare yourself with other stellar performers – men or women – and strive to be at par with them. I have spoken at start-up events and people have come up and said, “Wow, we met a smart woman entrepreneur!” I would rather take that ‘woman’ part away and be known just as a smart entrepreneur.
3. Yes, VCs do Fund Women Entrepreneurs.
In one of our fund-raising conversations with Amit Patni and Rajan Mehra of Nirvana Venture Advisors, I remember Rajan saying, “Having kids or not is totally your personal issue. As long as you stay committed and passionate towards YourNextLeap, nothing else matters to us.” I am proud to have them as investors on my board. Believe me, if you have an idea that addresses a huge market, the conviction to execute and the commitment to provide continuity – your gender does not matter. Look at companies like mydala and babyoye – they have raised institutional capital and have lady founders.
4. It’s important to identify your weaknesses and play to your strengths
By July 2011, YourNextLeap was growing faster than I had planned for. I came from a product and operations background and I was too busy building the product. I needed someone to run the business and thus we got a CEO & Co-founder who has been instrumental in continuing the momentum at YourNextLeap. So, identify your weaknesses and ask for help at the right time.
5. Entrepreneurship doesn’t always mean founding a start-up. You could even join one!
Currently, 1/3rd of YourNextLeap’s team comprises of women and many of our teams – finance, user experience, behavioral science and product, are also led by them. Not that I consciously look for women; but these passionate girls whom we hired are just darn good at what they do! Product and Design are some of the areas where I see women making an impact in tech start-ups. Think of Marissa Mayer at Google and Caterina Fake of Flickr!
So all you women out there – You are smart enough to make your own choices. Go ahead and make one – because you live just once!
Featured on YourStory.in today.
Founder & COO, YourNextLeap.com
Alok's disclosure - 'I hold a small number of shares in Suruchi's Company'.
Hey Suruchi...Very well said and articulated..... I think women are natural born entrepreneurs... Isn't having a baby and starting a bizness similar, where u incubate an idea, foster it, build upon it, try and make sure that everything is ok...and then when the time is right .... your baby is out there.....
Anyways that was an analogy that came to mind....and yes I cud relate to all the five points..and Kudos to you for ur success.
Hi Suruchi, great advice. I think women have strengths and weaknesses like anyone else... some entrepreneurial things come more easy to a woman and some less easy. That said, being a woman entrepreneur is not easy. I think Penelope Trunk's blog says a lot about this and I agree with her on some stuff.
I would rather take that ‘woman’ part away and be known just as a smart entrepreneur.
Suruchi your article is great,but whats your USP or differentiating thing in your product?(i.e,Your next leap).Its just looking like a combination of freshers job consultancy+overseas education consultancy.Hmm
Their 'recommendation engine' puts them apart from others.
From their 'About' page http://yournextleap.com/about_us#!about:
YourNextLeap is a recommendation engine which acts as a virtual career counselor to help students make smarter career decisions. It involves a suite of applications, which use psychometric evaluations and math models on past admission patterns, to give out personalized suggestions.
Well written Suruchi. "Compare yourself with the best, not other women", a very good point. Mydala and 99labels are both founded by women and funded by Infoedge. It will be interesting to hear the investors perspective on woman entrepreneurs.
I'm glad to see that for once majority of comments to any post here are from women :) Suruchi, No. 1 has happened with me quite a no. of times now & that doesn't bother me any more. I might not introduce myself at the start but when the conversation proceeds, I play my part; speak up for the areas I handle in the venture and then eventually the person asks about why I'm there and well that drives the whole point that I am a co-founder TOO.
Even at an All Women's conference, I found women shying away waiting for someone to approach them & believe me they were not at all doing bad; had a good turn over yet I couldn't understand why... And yes they weren't even asking for help, I mean the more you are growing in business, the more help you need. Isn't it?
The determination and grounded attitude works like magic. This is truly inspiring not just for women entrepreneurs but entrepreneurs at large. Thank you.