The Indian startup ecosystem is booming, with nearly three companies joining the Unicorn Club every month in 2021, as per a report by Hurun. Linked to this success story is the arduous journey traversed by women entrepreneurs of the country who have the potential to be the biggest force in India’s growth story. With one out of every 5 startups successfully run by Indian women, India is seeing an uprising concerning women entrepreneurs. Women entrepreneurs in India, backed by their sheer hard work and talent, are changing the landscape of the startup world. The sixth economic census released by the Ministry of Statistics and Programme Implementation (MoSPI) highlights that women constitute around 14% of the total entrepreneurship in India, and this number is bound to grow with more and more women jumping aboard the entrepreneurship route to success.
Here we list down some techie yet dynamic women entrepreneurs of India (2021) who are paving the way for others to follow on the path of entrepreneurship through their success stories –
1. Falguni Nayar – The Founder of Nykaa
Nykaa, India’s biggest fashion and lifestyle portal, is a creation of Mumbai-based, India’s first self-made female billionaire entrepreneur Falguni Nayar. After serving 20 years as a venture investor and merchant with Kotak Mahindra, she suddenly announced her departure to pursue her dream. Nykaa was founded in 2012; capitalizing on the scope of beauty and skincare products online, Nykaa created history. Falguni Nayar is associated with one of the top B-schools in India, IIM Ahmedabad. She has been honoured by ‘Businesswoman of the Year’ at the Economic Times Awards for Corporate Excellence 2019, for her contribution to the Indian beauty industry, and the ‘Woman Ahead’ award at the Economic Times Startup Awards in 2017. With the Nykaa IPO creating a buzz in the share market, She has marked her presence in Indian Startups history, and a real-life example of “Age is just a number”.
2. Akanksha Hazari – The Founder Of LoveLocal
Akanksha Hazari is a successful second time entrepreneur with 10+ years of business experience across India, MENA and the US. She founded LoveLocal in January 2020. LoveLocal is a hyperlocal e-commerce marketplace that is revolutionising how India shops by empowering local retailers and digitising the $1.1 trillion unorganised retail market. The company’s mission is to power the largest retail network in the world and deliver the neighborhood shopping experience of the future. Under Akanksha’s leadership, the brand has grown 40x since inception and currently serves over 35+ cities and 1300+ pin-codes, across India.
The multi-talented founder is also an alumnus of prestigious institutes like Princeton and Cambridge Universities. She has been acknowledged globally for her entrepreneurial journey and has been felicitated by many awards; The Hult Prize 2011, where she was awarded $1 million by former US President Bill Clinton and Vital Voices Global Economic Empowerment Award 2016. Akanksha is also a polyglot as she can speak 6 languages from around the world and has been the only Indian tech entrepreneur to be featured in the book “100 Women Using their Power to Empower ” . The book celebrates 100 global women leaders who are redefining power, in which Akanksha is featured alongside Melinda Gates, Serena Williams, Greta Thunberg, and many other inspiring women.
3. Smiti Bhatt Deorah – Co-Founder of Advantage Club
HRTech startup Advantage Club, founded by Sourabh and Smiti Deorah in 2014, is an AI-enabled platform for driving employee engagement. Chief Operating Officer of the company, Smiti Deorah is an alumnus of the University of California in Los Angeles (UCLA) and has done her master’s in computer science. The co-founder has strong experience in B2B relationship building and account management. Smiti has worked in one of the world’s tech giants ‘Microsoft’ for over 2 years and gained expertise in what she does. She manages a lot of vertices in Advantage club; sales, marketing, tech, etc., making her a superwoman entrepreneur.
4. Lizzie Chapman – Co-Founder of ZestMoney
India’s largest consumer lending fintech company, ZestMoney, was founded by Lizzie Chapman, Priya Sharma, and Ashish Anantharaman in 2015. The success story of Lizzie Chapman starts from her corporate journey, as she possesses a strong experience of working with leading finance companies in the world – Goldman Sachs (London), DBS Bank (Mumbai), before setting her foot in entrepreneurship. The founder played a key role in introducing the ‘Pay Later’ concept in India. ZestMoney’s innovative technology and work to make affordable digital finance accessible led to their selection as a 2020 Technology Pioneer by the World Economic Forum. In addition, she has been felicitated by many awards, one of them being the ‘Female Fintech Leader’ award in 2017.
5. Upasana Taku – Co-Founder of Mobikwik
India’s largest independent mobile payments network, MobiKwik, was founded by Upasana Taku and Bipin Preet Singh in April 2009. It allows you to shop at stores, pay bills, recharge, send money, accept payments with 1-tap and connect over 30 million users with 75,000 retailers. An alumnus of Stanford University, Upasana has over 10+ experience in the fintech sector. Her entrepreneurial journey has been an inspiration for many. She has been awarded the “Best Woman Entrepreneur Award 2017” by the Associated Chambers of Commerce and Industry of India (ASSOCHAM). The co-founder has become the first female to run a payments company in India and strongly believes in her vision for India’s fintech market.