International Day of Women and Girls in Science is celebrated on February 11 to honour and recognise the contributions that women have made to science, to encourage young girls and women to consider careers in STEM fields, and to educate men about their responsibility to support and mentor women and girls who are interested in technical and scientific fields in their academic and professional lives.
Indian women have often shown that science and business can coexist, either by doing great things in the field of research or breaking into the world of entrepreneurship. It takes far more than we believe it can to turn a concept for beginning your own business into reality. These five ladies have merely overcome all expectations set by society to achieve their current status. They have decided to pursue entrepreneurship as a means of resolving the country’s current problems, and they are succeeding brilliantly.
Here is a list of the top women entrepreneurs in India who, despite all obstacles and setbacks, managed to start their own companies from scratch thanks to their unwavering resolve and work ethic.
Upasana Taku (MobiKwik)
MobiKwik and Zaakpay both have Upasana Taku as a co-founder. A digital wallet and mobile phone-based payment system are both offered by MobiKwik, a supplier of payment services.
Upasana completed her secondary education in Surat before enrolling in the Industrial Engineering programme at the National Institute of Technology, Jalandhar. She subsequently completed her MS in Management Science and Engineering at Stanford University in the US. She began her career in San Diego with HSBC before moving on to PayPal. 2009 saw her return and launch Zaakpay. At the same time, she met Bipin, who she later learned was keen to contribute to the enhancement of the startup ecosystem.
Within six months, Upasana was assisting him in various areas of the company; subsequently, she became a co-founder of Mobikwik. As a mobile wallet, Mobikwik launched its business to make digital payments simple for its consumers. Since then, their use cases have grown to encompass bill payments, online shopping, food delivery, payments at gas stations, big-box retailers, pharmacies, Kirana shops, etc. Through the Unified Payments Interface (“UPI”), MobiKwik Wallet, and MobiKwik Wallet to Bank payments, their platform also supports peer-to-peer payments. In addition to more than 3.45 million e-commerce, physical retail, and biller partners, they have accumulated over 108 million Registered Users throughout the years.
In 2017, she was given the Best Woman Entrepreneur Award.
Sonam Srivastava (Wright Research)
Sonam Srivastava is the Founder of Wright Research, an Artificial Intelligence-powered Robo Advisor.
Wright Research is a Mumbai-based SEBI Registered Investment Advisory firm and an AI-powered Robo advisor creating multi-factor tactical model portfolios. It was founded in 2019 by Sonam Srivastava (IIT Kanpur alumnus). Wright Research uses Deep-Tech, AI & ML modules to invest and a smart beta-based investment strategy backed by quantitative research. It’s a complete computer-based strategy that reduces the possibility of silly human errors and manages the risk effectively and efficiently. Their quant research-based portfolios like Wright Momentum have given up to 59.23% CAGR in the last couple of years.
Through artificial intelligence and data science-based research in investing, they help investors find the best investments. They work across market factors, time horizons & asset classes to maximise returns while minimising the risks. Startups often need help with using technology, and they have also struggled with this. Some of the difficulties of note have been: at the early stage, they had limited financial and human resources, making investing in and implementing new technologies challenging. As startups grow and handle increasing amounts of sensitive data, they face challenges related to data security and compliance with relevant regulations. Scalability is a constant challenge that requires them to invest continuously in and adapt their systems.
They see an immense opportunity in using AI for Financial Applications. AI and ML can be used to analyse financial data, make predictions about market trends and investment opportunities, and create a much better user experience than traditional means. Similarly, there is an excellent opportunity in Retail where AI and ML can optimise pricing and inventory management, personalise customer recommendations, and improve supply chain efficiency. In other fields like Health care, Manufacturing, Transportation and Energy, AI & ML can continue to add immense benefits.
Divya Gokulnath (Byju’s)
Byju’s, one of India’s largest ed-tech firms, was co-founded by Divya Gokulnath.
From Bengaluru, Divya pursued a B.Tech in biotechnology. She began working as a teacher before helping to co-found Byju’s in 2011. More than 150 million students worldwide receive highly adaptable, interesting, and efficient learning solutions from Byju’s, a leading company in ed-tech. The Chan Zuckerberg Initiative, Sequoia Capital, Bond Capital, Silver Lake, BlackRock, Sofina, Verlinvest, Tencent, Prosus (formerly Naspers Ventures), General Atlantic, Tiger Global, Qatar Investment Authority, Owl Ventures, Lightspeed Venture Partners, Times Internet, Aarin Capital, and IFC are just a few of the prestigious investors who support it. They have acquired more than 15 businesses since 2017, including ones from the United States, the United Kingdom, Austria, India, and Singapore.
With tools that lie at the intersection of mobile, interactive content and individualised learning approaches, Byju’s offers a top-notch learning experience. Learning is made entertaining by BYJU’s geography-independent solutions and 12,000+ teachers through visual and contextual programmes that adjust to each student’s particular learning style, ability level, and speed. Additionally, in order to increase engagement and support even more students in becoming active and lifelong learners, they have creative relationships with some of the most well-known businesses in the world, such as Disney and Google.
Divya oversaw brand marketing, content, and user experience during the COVID-19 shutdown in India. She won several honours, including Women Who Make India, the Entrepreneur of the Year, and the MAKERS India Conference.
Kiran Mazumdar Shaw (Biocon Limited)
The founder and current executive chairperson of Biocon Limited is Kiran Mazumdar Shaw. Bangalore-based Biocon Limited is a biopharmaceutical business.
After completing her zoology undergraduate degree at Bangalore University in 1973, Kiran went on to obtain her master degree in brewing from the University of Ballarat in Melbourne. In 1978, she founded Biocon India in the garage of her Bangalore rental home.
The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) granted its clearance to Biocon in 2001 to produce a cholesterol-lowering chemical, making it the first Indian firm to do so. Later, the business saw rapid growth.
India’s largest and fully integrated biopharmaceutical business, Biocon Limited, publicly listed in 2004. It is an international biopharmaceutical company that provides services to clients in over 120 nations. They have made sophisticated medicines for chronic illnesses, where medical needs are mostly unmet and treatment costs are high, accessible thanks to their aim of improving global healthcare through innovative and reasonably priced biopharmaceuticals.
In the meanwhile, Kiran began to receive several honours, including Padma Bhushan, Businesswoman of the Year, and Technology Pioneer.
Khushboo Jain (Impact Guru)
Co-founder and chief operating officer of Impact Guru, a platform for fundraising for organisations, personal causes, and medical costs, is Khushboo Jain. From 2004 to 2007, she earned both an MBA and a bachelor’s degree in business and management.
She has degrees in a variety of other fields as well. Through its crowdfunding platform and international partners, ImpactGuru has raised more than $200 million since its founding in 2015, which has aided in providing medical care for Indians suffering from serious illnesses.
Through the website, over 10 lakh contributors from 165 countries have given an average of $1.50 each minute.
Impact Guru is a Harvard-incubated fintech startup that provides an online platform for corporate and individual donors to support social causes in India. Since its launch, Impact Guru has raised Rs 329 crores for a variety of causes, making it the largest crowdfunding site in India. They were incubated at the Harvard Innovation Lab Venture Initiation Program in the United States and the Impact Hub’s PACT Social Enterprise Incubator (Singapore). Mumbai, New Delhi, Singapore, Hong Kong, Jakarta, Kuala Lumpur, and San Francisco are among the locations where Impact Guru maintains offices.
ImpactGuru has generated more than Rs 15 crore from more than 800 COVID-19-related fundraisers to assist everyday gamblers, elderly people impacted by the crisis, healthcare professionals whose salaries have been slashed as a result of COVID-19, as well as animals that are suffering because of this issue.