30+ Successful Women Entrepreneurs in India Who’ve Made a Mark in the Startup Ecosystem
According to online studies conducted earlier this year for rankings on the best places for female entrepreneurship! What’s more, India’s female entrepreneurship environment exposes statistics of improvement. With respect to women finding opportunities to start ventures (60%), validation with respect to skills (52%) and do not feel the impending doom of failure for their startup (57%). On this happy note, we’ve compiled a list of top women entrepreneurs in India who have made a significant dent in the startup ecosystem.
Here’s your list of 30+ successful women entrepreneurs in India that have made a mark in the startup ecosystem:
“She can’t enter the kitchen, the temple or her house even. She isn’t allowed to bake, come in contact with men and, she has no clue why she’s being ostracized”. This is how menstruation is dealt with in most rural and certain urban areas in India… till Aditi Gupta could stand it no more.
Aditi is working towards spreading awareness about menstruation. She conducted extensive research regarding the unawareness about menstruation in India, and how it impacts a girls life. Similarly, she carried out this extensive research as a Ford Foundation research Scholar.
What Is Menstrupedia All About?
Having empathized with similar situations herself while growing up in Jharkhand. Aditi created a Hindi comic book with her now-husband Tuhin Patel, illustrating and educating girls about menstruation. From here, Aditi and Tuhin’s venture has scaled to a whole website called Menstrupedia.com. Along with a comic book section to simplify menstruation for the reader.
The comic as well as the website has guides on hygiene, health and ways to be active during periods, plus – answers to frequently asked queries. She is one of the most innovative women entrepreneurs in India.
Founder, V Resorts
Don’t be a tourist, be a traveler. That’s the motto Aditi lives by. She has been passionate about traveling since she was a school-going kid. Consequently she has traveled across 135+ cities over 6 continents. Having graduated as a management student from ISB Hyderabad and Fuqua, Duke University. Intially Aditi began her career in finance, V Resorts is her first venture outside of finance. Aditi has alos been recognized as Fortune 100 Most Powerful Women Asia 2017 and Dell Foundation’s 200 most powerful women entrepreneurs in the world in 2016. Similarly, she has also written for the likes of Times Of India, Econominc Times, and YourStory. Along with that Aditi has also contributed to the World Economic Forums Travel & Tourism Report of 2017.
What Is V Resorts All About?
Aditi has built the V Resorts business from the ground up, have carefully curated, developed and managed the business since its inception. Aditi manages the unique resort properties in India for her V Resorts business venture. Aditi wants to implement her human capital vision through V Resorts. Similarly, she wants V Resorts to act as an incubator for women who love their jobs. Therefore, Aditi is encouraging women to tap their potential and help them accelerate their growth. Through her venture, Aditi wants to set an example for women that regardless of their gender, they can still be what they want to be.
Seemingly an ace at multitasking, Ankita Gaba is a social media strategist, entrepreneur, consultant, lecturer and the co-founder of Socialsamosa.com. She was previously one of the founders of Superchooha, an online media strategist for the likes of Colors, Zapak, Mahindra, Ponds and Idea Cellular. Her accolades include being in the list of “Global Top 100 Social Media Agencies and Consultants 2012-13″ and “50 Indian Women to Follow on Twitter”, among others. She has an in depth expertise at all things social media, and helps social media agencies build teams and a network of processes for their ventures.
What Is Social Samosa All About?
Ankita is a SocialSamosa is an A to Z repository of Indian social media thoughts, ideas, trends, news, and dialogue. Furthermore, social media is growing at a rapid pace and it has become such a vital medium of knowing what’s going on in and around you. Ankita is a social media enthusiast and is always exploring new ways to use social media and engage with more and more people through such platforms. The idea behind SocialSamosa is to be the go-to destination for everything related to the Indian Social Media Industry. Furthermore, Social Samosa has also been awarded as The Blog Of The Year at The WATAwards 2013.
Also read: List of 45+ Angel Investors In India
Founder, Mad Street Den.
Ashwini, along with her husband Anand Chandrasekaran, founded a cloud-based platform – Mad Street Den. Her career didn’t start right there though; she began with leading the mobile innovation team at Intel’s Interaction and Experience Research Lab (IXR) in Silicon Valley, one of the places that sprouted her keen interest in artificial intelligence. As for Anand, he had just finished his studies in neuromorphic engineering, which is building computer chips that imitate the human brain at Stanford University. Together this pair of geniuses moved back to India and amalgamated their love for artificial intelligence to start what we know today as Mad Street Den.
What Is Mad Street Den (MAD) All About?
MAD is an Artificial Intelligence and Computer Vision company. Similarly, Mad Street Den is building an AI Architecture of the future. They use Artificial Intelligence to get any smartphone with a camera to identify faces, detect facial expressions and emotions and react to facial gestures. Ashwini and Anand started MAD with a mission to build models of generalizable intelligence which can be used by billions of people from various industries across the globe.
Co- founder, Thrillophilia
Chitra is one of the most innovative travel women entrepreneurs in India. Combining their passion for adventure and adrenaline, Chitra Gurnani Daga, an alumnus of the Indian School of Business and her husband Abhishek Daga, alumnus of the IIT BHU, Varanasi started Thrillophilia. Hailing from a family of people with high designations in the service industry, and with an MBA and engineering degree themselves, Chitra and Abhishek decided to follow their dreams and go the unconventional way with no previous business experience or any exposure in family business dealings, they took a shot in the dark and scored indeed.
What Is Thrillophilia All About?
Thrillophilia is an Indian adventure travel company that curates the best local experiences with hand-picked guides and vendors to expand your journey into something offbeat and super fun. Above all, Thrillophilia is India’s biggest online platform when it comes to booking your travel experiences. Currently, Thrillophilia has more than 3.5 million monthly users. Consequently, Thrillophilia has more than 12,500 listed activities across 125+ destinations.
CEO & Co-founder, Timesaverz Dotcom Private Limited
Debadutta Upadhyaya is an entrepreneur that had a problem and found a solution for it. A problem that many harrowed homemakers face and solution that turned into a business reality. She along with Lovnish Bhatia started Timesaverz.com. Debadutta is known to find her main inspiration from taking up challenging tasks and consequently getting things done. As an entrepreneurial student, Debadutta believes that the key to adapt to today’s dynamic business world is “Learning Everyday”. Similarly, she believes that jumping in early, being steadfast, and enjoying every moment is very important as an entrepreneur and as a person as well.
What Is Timesaverz.com All About?
It is an online portal that helps one find reliable people to assist homemakers and such with personal tasks that range from cleaning, repairs, handyman jobs to running errands and helping in paperwork. This first-of-its-kind, progressive idea stands to not only help homemakers find time for themselves but also aid the working woman trying to balance domesticity with work life.
Falguni is the founder of Nykaa.com & well-known face amongst Indian women entrepreneurs. Post a grandly successful career of over 25 years in financial services, 18 of which were spent with the Kotak Mahindra group as Managing Director, among other designations, Falguni Nayar took the entrepreneurial plunge and launched Nykaa.com. Falguni has built India’s leading beauty retailer by creating an immense network spread across 850+ brands. Clearly an inspiring woman of the working sphere that has shined in every venture.
What Is Nykaa All About?
Nykaa is a beauty and wellness e-commerce, premier platform for women. This IIM Ahmedabad graduate launched her website in the latter end of 2012 and soon enough Nykaa was already boasting of retail partnerships with the world’s top-notch personal care corporations like Unilever, P&G, L’Oreal, Beiersdorf, Johnson & Johnson and going onto raise 20 crores in funding from private investors with plans to expand to new technologies, a mobile app and physical stores in the country.
Garima Satija is a young entrepreneur and founder of PoshVine, a community marketplace for travelers and adventure seekers to offer, discover and book unique experiences. Before she started PoshVine, Garima had worked with Naukri.com, Quadrangle Consulting Services, and Ozone Media. She studied Psychology from the University of Lucknow and did her MBA in Human Resources from Amity Business School. Coming from a business family, she learned from her father that it is only hard work that gets you where you want to be.
What is PoshVine All About?
Garima’s venture, PoshVine not only appeals to the travelers and adventure seekers, but also the food lovers. What it does is, it enables you to pick a fine dining restaurant, make an instant reservation (for free) and earn credits for every time that you do — credits that can be redeemed for more awesome experiences. Consequently, it also provides services and software to loyalty programs in order to increase the share of spends. Businesses deploy PoshVines state-of-the-art shopping, travel, leisure, and dining services to create profitable revenue streams.
Co-founder, Love 4 Apple
Known to be a serial entrepreneur, Harpreet Kaur is the co-founder of Love 4 Apple. The highest ambitions in life are accomplished when you have the will to work for your dreams without the fear of failing. Harpreet’s story is just the same, she wanted to be her own boss and that’s when she had the idea of starting her own venture. What started out as an idea has today become a successful venture. Although, Harpreet started her website just as an experiment, however, her will to make something out of her idea led her to build her venture and grow it simultaneously. Similarly, she has now turned her venture into the sole distributor of exclusive and genuine distributor of Apple products across India. Above all, she has solved the problem that a lot of people faced due to the inaccessibility to genuine Apple products.
What Is Love 4 Apple All About?
an e-commerce website where customers can buy accessories that are exclusively made for Apple products. Harpreet began running Love 4 Apple in 2013 with an aim to pay heed to the lack of genuine Apple products in India. What started out as an experiment with a choice of only a few products from various national and international brands has turned into a fully-fledged venture making Love 4 Apple the sole distributor for genuine Apple products in India. Scaling boundaries of growth, the company has set up a manufacturing unit for iPhone and iPad covers made in-house with an entire line of covers designed by up and coming artists, thus also providing these creative designers a chance to showcase their talents.
Equipped with over 8 years of experience in the software, internet and startups sphere, Jaya Jha is the co-founder at two book-related ventures, InstaScribe and Pothi.com. Along with being a successful entrepreneur, Jaya is also an author, poet, and speaker with three poetry collections and one novel under her belt. She holds an MBA in Marketing & Strategy from IIM Lucknow and a B.Tech. in CS&E from IIT Kanpur. Clearly, an avid writer herself, both the ventures that she has co-founded help budding writers bring their works to printed reality.
What Is InstaScribe and Pothi.com All About?
Pothi.com is India’s leading print-on-demand platform where authors can go get their books printed and published, whereas InstaScribe is a platform where authors can create ebooks across various formats. Whereas InstaScribe provides a platform through which you can create beautiful eBooks. Similarly, InstaScribe is creating tools that makes it easier for you to create eBooks that work uniformly across different platforms.
Co-founder & CEO, KyaZoonga
Investment banker turned successful woman entrepreneur, Neetu Bhatia is the co-founder, Chairman, and CEO of KyaZoonga. Neetu’s work experience boasts of her being a senior media & telecom investment banker on Wall Street. Her wildly impressive work escapades don’t end here, with over nine years of experience originating and executing several strategic advisory and financing transactions, she has executed deals for Time Warner, Google, Comcast, Cablevision, Verizon, Cingular, AT&T, and others.
What Is KyaZoonga All About?
Started in early 2007, KyaZoonga is India’s first and largest sports and entertainment ticketing company. It enables you simple access to all kinds of ticketed entertainment and sports with various payment options via its retail, social, online and mobile portals. KyaZoonga is known to have ticketed major international events like the 2011 ICC Cricket World Cup, all forms of international cricket and a number of Olympic style sporting events.
Co-founder & CMO, GrabHouse
Pankhuri Shrivastava is an avid reader, dancer and the co-founder of India’s first free roommate search engine, Grabhouse.com. She has previously done a two year fellowship at Teach for India after acquiring a degree in Computer Science Engineering at Bhopal University. Seeing as personal experience tends to be the best teacher and guide, Pankhuri came up with the idea for starting a real estate venture when she moved to Mumbai in 2010 and saw that one had to spend exorbitant amounts on brokerage while having to deal with the hassle of shifting flats about five times. Grabhouse.com has now scaled its service to Pune, making house hunting a simpler affair and saving brokerage fees for this city full mainly of students looking for a place to stay!
Another dance lover on our list, Pranshu Bhandari is the co-founder of innovative, online language learning tool, CultureAlley. She has previously worked with companies like Sun Microsystems, Pitney Bowes and interned at Wipro. Along with her husband and batchmate at 500 Startups, Nishant Patni, Pranshu started CultureAlley where you can learn various languages through interactive videos after which you can practice your newly acquired language skills on your Facebook wall or Twitter feed. Pranshu and her husband came up with the idea for CultureAlley after Nishant returned from a trip to China having had the toughest time trying to learn Mandarin. Today, CultureAlley has taught over 500,000 people learn languages like Spanish or Portuguese.
Co-Founder & CMO, ShopClues.com
Equipped with over a decade and a half of marketing experience in various industries like retail, ecommerce, fashion & lifestyle, advertising & public relations, Radhika Ghai Aggarwal co-founded Shopclues.com. It was birthed in Silicon Valley in 2011 and is currently India’s first and largest fully managed marketplace with more than 7 million visitors every month, serving nine thousand cities, towns and villages in India. Before this, she ran a fashion blog based out of the Silicon Valley, USA. Radhika has previously worked with Nordstrom at its corporate headquarters in strategy planning and with Goldman Sachs in its Wealth Management group in New York and Menlo Park, USA. She has an MBA from Washington University and also holds a post graduate degree in Advertising and Public Relations. She is one of the most innovative tech women entrepreneurs in India.
Co-founder & CEO, Zivame
Richa Kar is the co-founder and CEO of online lingerie store, Zivame.com. It has acquired its fame for being the first web platform having over two thousand styles to choose from. The company was incepted in 2011 in Bangalore and has seen a great amount of success since then. Prior to this, Richa had gathered a significant amount of experience in branding, retail marketing and operations. Having studied the Indian lingerie retail market, she noticed that women weren’t exactly comfortable shopping for lingerie in physical outlet stores. Thus she conceptualized Zivame, a place where women can understand and get to explore their lingerie needs, browse through styles, sizes and get the goods delivered at their doorstep without all the embarrassment. Furthermore, for the comfort of the Indian woman, Zivame even takes care to deliver its products discreetly, being packed without any show of branding and product description.
Sabina is one of the most innovative tech women entrepreneurs in India. Sabina Chopra is the co-founder of famous travel portal Yatra.com. Online travel commerce was just at its beginning stages during this time and the startup soon grew to become the leading portal in this space. Before starting Yatra, she was the head of the India operations of eBookers, Europe’s leading online travel company. Additionally, she has also worked with airline companies such as Japan Airlines as well as in the business process outsourcing sector. With over a decade and a half of work experience, Sabina is in charge of operations and sales, aside from heading the startup’s domestic hotel business. Sabina has also been honored during the second annual Women Leaders in India Awards, 2010 and was declared the winner in the Travel & Tourism group.
Serial entrepreneur, co-founder of Fleximoms, founder of Sheroes.in, mentor, occasional writer and mother to a seven-year-old daughter. Sairee Chahal takes multitasking to the next level. Sairee is a TED speaker, a finalist for the Cartier Women’s Award Initiative for 2012 and voted Most Powerful Women in Indian Business, 2012. She has been featured on shows like What Women Want, Young Turks and Pioneering Spirit. Her venture – Fleximoms looks to provide mothers and women with a pathway to re enter the workplace with job opportunities, information and mentoring. Sheroes.in is another venture aiding women of the workplace offering opportunities, resources and conversations. Sairee has work experience as senior editor at NewsLink Services and a consultant at the Confederation of Indian Industry and Heidrick & Struggles. Sheis th most well-known face amongst Indian women entrepreneurs.
Sakshi Tulsian co-founded Posist with her husband Ashish. Posist is a Saas based eatery management platform for our country’s growing restaurant industry. It enables restaurants to manage their customer relationship management, table orders, inventory, delivery, take-away, expense, branches etc. Sakshi has previously worked as a software developer at Sapient for a little over two years, a project manager at TechnoApex Software Pvt. Ltd. and a founder and business head at WebSanchaar Solutions before starting Posist.
She had initially thought her learning curve at Sapient was steep but later found that being an entrepreneur, the curve is steeper and growth as a person is much faster. Sakshi believes that being in business is all about the highs and lows, guaranteed adrenaline rushes, being on your toes. Among these things, she gives a great amount of importance to the work and life balance, and heed to the fact that entrepreneurship is not a sprint, but a marathon that deserves significant discipline, something her and her husband practice together when dealing with their company.
Founder & CEO, YourStory Media Pvt.Ltd
Born and brought up in Patna, Bihar, Shradha Sharma is the founder of YourStory.com. India’s top media platform for entrepreneurs for promoting and reporting about startups and everything in around the entrepreneurial ecosystem. She has previously worked with the likes of The Times of India and CNBC TV18. During her time gathering work experience, she noticed that the young entrepreneurs had no platform to voice their side. Then one night on the job she started YourStory as a blog applying all the business practices she ever learnt from working with newspapers and TV channels. YourStory was the go-to platform for all entrepreneurs and investors in India to read about themselves or and their colleagues. She is the most well-known face amongst Indian women entrepreneurs.
Along with Vivek Prabhakar, Shubhra Chadda founded Chumbak, an online store selling Indianised customized, funky apparel. The co-founding pair of Chumbak, husband and wife, love to travel. They noticed that almost all other countries have adorable souvenirs to offer. But India with all its quirks and funkiness yet has nothing beyond the quintessential Taj Mahal key chains. Thus came the idea to bring India and all its eccentricities to fridge magnets and the like. Chumbak, in fact is the Hindi word for fridge magnet! Shubhra found a way to balance being the mother of her then two year old daughter and the inception year of Chumbak most elegantly and clearly successfully. Today the funky brand has over 120 retail stores all across the country. She is one of the most innovative tech women entrepreneurs in India.
Founder & CEO, Limeroad.com
Suchi Mukherjee is the founder and CEO of Limeroad.com, a social commerce site for the urban woman. This website brings together the fun of picking clothes from a magazine-like layout with convenience of an online retail portal. A decade ago, Suchi received the Commonwealth Cambridge Scholarship to study Economics at Cambridge University. After which she studied Economics and Finance at the London School of Economics. Her massively impressive work experience begins with five years of investment banking at Lehman Brothers, two years as Director and business development manager in the consumer division of Virgin Media. A year working at eBay where she learned the ropes of a consumer business. Before starting Limeroad, Suchi was a part of the initial development of both Skype and Gumtree.
Founder and COO, Jombay.com
We have but another dancer on our list of successful women entrepreneurs in India. It seems that the high flying women of the business circle enjoy shaking their tail feathers! Trained classical singer and Bharatnatyam dancer, Suruchi Wagh is the founder and COO at Jombay.com. After finishing Engineering studies in India, she did her Masters in Engineering Management at the University of Southern California, LA. Suruchi’s worked as research analyst in the Office of the President of the Silicon Valley, headquartered Risk Management Solutions. Their she developed Micro-insurance products for emerging markets. Known to deal in the field of quantifying human behaviour, Suruchi’s founded venture – Jombay. It’s a Talent Measurement and Talent Analytics platform that is powered by People Science (Psychometrics). They enable customers to make data driven decisions for for recruitment, performance management and employee development.
Co-Founder, MobiKwik. Founder, Zaakpay
Upasana Taku is the co-founder of Zaakpay and MobiKwik. While working on Mobikwik, Upasana and her co-founder noticed glitches in the setting up of payment gateways. Thus they started Zaakpay, a payments company aimed at solving issues with eCommerce in India. Mobikwik on the other hand is a mobile wallet that enables you to pay for recharge, bill payments and shopping. Upasana holds a B.Tech. degree in Industrial Engineering from National Institute of Technology and an MS in Management Science & Engineering from Stanford University. Her work experience includes 12 years in the workforce, 10 & 4 years in Financial service and as entrepreneur respectively. She is one of the most innovative tech women entrepreneurs in India.
Capitalizing on the missed call phenomena in India, Valerie quit her Silicon Valley job to start ZipDial in India. It’s an interactive mobile based platform for marketing and advertising. It’s a service that lets huge companies give out their numbers allowing people to call and disconnect without getting charged. Post this, the company can communicate with and send messages, coupons and deals to the customer directly to their phone. ZipDial works with over 500 brands including Gillette, Nivea and Disney and has tie-ups with Facebook and Twitter. They have also raised funding from various sources like 500 Startups and Blume Ventures. Valerie has a postgraduate degree in Economic Sociology from Stanford University with experience in companies like Goldman Sachs and eBay.
CEO, Xenia Hospitality Solutions LLP
Zeenia comes from a family of entrepreneurs. Her father started out close to 40 years ago and today has a substantial presence within the logistics industry. She pursued BA in Hospitality, Finance and Revenue Management with Merit at the Glion Institute of Higher Education in Switzerland. Zeenia has also attained a Diploma in Event Management from Fitzwilliam Institute in London. Sphere heading strategic alliances in an event management firm, Zeenia cut her teeth with Hospitality brands like ITC & Hyatt Regency abroad.
She has been a key member of the pre-opening team with Hospitality brands like Sofitel and Missioni. Not only a leader in event management and hospitality services, Zeenia is also an avid traveler and a photographer. She is a part of the Rotary Club of Bombay, which is the most prestigious club in India. She will be Co-Chairing the environment committee next term. Hosted a lot of CSR activities like Dance for Humanity, Racing Hooves etc to raise money for the Lions Club.
Hats off to all of these women entrepreneurs!