Building a Business is hard. However, every entrepreneur must start somewhere. There is no magic shortcut to building a good business. However, there is no bias in business either. It doesn’t matter when you start or where you start your journey. These Women Entrepreneurs in India prove just that.
If you are good, you will succeed. Though it can sometimes take years before you reach somewhere you are proud.
Oftentimes we look at our favourite women entrepreneurs in India for inspiration and guidance.
This is Why we’ve Gathered The Stories of 20 Women Entrepreneurs in India to Remind You That You Can Truly Start Anywhere
1) Vandana Luthra: The founder of VLCC
Queen of Wellness
Vandana Luthra is popularly known as the queen of wellness. She is a woman entrepreneur in India and the founder of VLCC, a one-stop beauty and wellness service. Vandana started VLCC in her rented house with a small bank loan in 1989 when the concept itself was alien. She focused on health and beauty services and products. She is one of the woman entrepreneurs in India that you cannot miss.
Vandana was featured in Fortune magazine’s 2018 list of Fortune India Next 500.
Vandana Luthra is also well-known for her Philanthropy. She is the patron of the Amar Jyoti Charitable Trust, she is the Vice-Chairperson of the NGO, Khushii and is a member of Morarji Desai National Institute of Yoga and of the Steering Committee and the Sub-Committee.
What is VLCC?
VLCC is the largest organisation in terms of scale and breadth of operations in the beauty and wellness service in india. Today VLCC has crossed borders and has a presence across over 350+ locations in 165 cities spanning 16 countries in South Asia, South East Asia, Middle East and East Africa. They also have an employee strength of over 4,500. According to a report in September 2019 VLCC is worth Rs 1200 crore and is growing at 20% CAGR.
“I have this view that there is no such thing as stress. If you are overworked then you should learn to enjoy that work.”
Vandana Luthra & Family’s: Net Worth is Rs 1,300 crore.
2) Kiran Mazumdar Shaw: The founder of Biocon Limited
Kiran Mazumdar-Shaw is a billionaire women entrepreneur in India. She is the chairperson and managing director of Biocon Limited, a biotechnology company based in Bangalore, India and the former chairperson of Indian Institute of Management, Bangalore.
Kiran Mazumdar-Shaw has been named EY World Entrepreneur of the Year 2020, becoming the third Indian and the second woman worldwide to win this recognition. She recounts her entrepreneurial struggles.
Kiran Mazumdar-Shaw is the Chairperson and Managing Director of Biocon, Asia’s leading bio-pharmaceuticals enterprise. Named among TIME magazine’s 100 most influential people in the world, she is recognized as a global thought leader for Biotechnology. Under her stewardship,
“Be 100% committed to your career, don’t just give it a shot”
What is Biocon?
Biocon Limited is an Indian biopharmaceutical company based in Bangalore, India. The Company manufactures generic active pharmaceutical ingredients that are sold in over 120 countries across the globe, including the developed markets of the United States and Europe.
Biocon has evolved since its inception in 1978 from an industrial enzymes company to a fully-integrated, innovation-led, emerging global biopharmaceutical enterprise committed to reducing therapy costs of chronic conditions like diabetes, cancer and autoimmune diseases.
Started in 1978 with just Rs 10,000 in hand Biocon today has become India’s largest biotechnology company. They focus on delivering affordable innovation and reducing costs of therapy diseases.
Revenue – ₹4,079 crore (US$570 million) (2016–17)
3) Ritu Kumar: The Fashion designer
She is an extremely popular fashion designer who runs her boutique called ‘Ri’ along with label ‘Ritu Kumar’ which is handled by her son. Ritu is the foremost fashion designer in India. She is also the recipient of the Padma Shri award, Achievement Award in 2012 at L’oreal Paris Femina Women’s Awards and the Indira Gandhi Priyadarshini award for her role in the development of the fashion industry.
She is usually credited for her online fashion business however, she has also been influential in the India boutique culture. Ritu is a woman entrepreneur in India that has truly revolutionised the fashion industry.
Her work has been worn by top Bollywood actresses and several international celebrities.
“When women wear denim it (the derriere) must look elegant. It’s the second thing every woman looks at in the mirror, but it’s the first thing she cares about. She does that half twirl, her back arched and her head craned around. If the jeans are right, the experience is transforming, like putting on a magic cloak.”
What is Ritu Kumar Label?
Ritu started her brand with bridal and fashion wear. With her designs focusing on natural fabric and traditional printing and weaving methods.
Ritu launched her company’s sub-brand called Label in 2002 with her son Amrish Kumar. Together they targeted foreign markets and local fashion markets with their traditional yet contemporary fashion oriented outfits.
The company’s annual turnover is estimated at around $1 Million – $5 Million.
4) Suchi Mukherjee: Founder & CEO of Limeroad
Suchi Mukherjee is a woman entrepreneur in India who started an online clothing and lifestyle accessories marketplace named Limeroad. The company is well known for its stylish fashion for men and women. She has a master’s degree in Finance from The Economic school in London. Equipped with nearly 18 years of experience in the top management of leading consumer technology businesses, Suchi Mukherjee explored the entrepreneurship path.
Today, she has been awarded several awards. One of them being the coolest Start-up of the year by Business Today, Infocom woman of the year- Digital Business, and Unicorn Start-up Award by NDTV.
Furthermore, she is the only Indian to receive the Cambridge Commonwealth Trust Scholarship for studying Economics at Cambridge University in 1994.
“Be hungry to build something bold and take the risks they inevitably come with. There will be downs, but if you follow your heart there will be tremendous highs too! But you need to have the drive to stick it out.”
What is Limeroad?
Limeroad is an eCommerce platform for men and women’s fashion. It focuses on user-generated content and engagement to help their audience be completely engrossed with the product.
Today, Limeroad has raised $30 million in their series C funding round and things are only looking up for them.
5) Indra Nooyi: The board member of Amazon and ICC, Ex-CEO Pepsico
Indra Nooyi is the former CEO of PepsiCo. She has been featured in several world’s most powerful women lists and has even ranked as the 2nd most powerful woman on Forbes list in 2015. Today, she serves as a board member on Amazon and the ICC (International Cricket Council). Nooyi has been given the credit for the strategic redirection of PepsiCo in India. She did this by dividing the products into majorly three categories – “Fun for you”, “better for you” and “good for you”.
“Just because you are CEO, don’t think you have landed. You must continually increase your learning, the way you think, and the way you approach the organization. I’ve never forgotten that.”
As of 2020, her net worth is at least $14.7 Million dollars.
6) Aditi Gupta: The Co-founder of Menstrupedia
Aditi Gupta is an Indian author and the co-founder of the comic Menstrupedia. She and her husband co-founded the comic in 2012. In 2014 she was listed on the Forbes India 30 under 30 list for her work towards breaking the taboo.
Aditi is a social woman entrepreneur in India working towards raising awareness about menstruation. She is a Ted Talk speaker and her work has been featured in The Wall Street Journal, Reuters, CNBC and BBC.
What is Menstrupedia?
Menstrupedia is a complete guide about periods that is taught in more than 30 schools across India. They also have several free resources available to help break the taboo.
7) Falguni Nayar: The Founder of Nykaa
Falguni is the founder of Nykaa.com and is popularly known for her entrepreneur journey in India. Equipped with 25 years of experience and grandly successful career in financial services, she took the leap to launch Nykaa.com. Today, Falguni Nayar, an IIM Ahmedabad graduate has built an empire of beauty and skin-care retailing.
She was titled the “Most powerful business “by Business Today and received the “Woman Ahead” award at the Economic Times. Nykaa has recently entered the unicorn club with its fresh Rs 100 crore ($13 million) funding from existing backer Steadview Capital. She definitely is the one the women entrepreneurs in India that you should know about.
According to CNBCTV18, her net worth is Rs 1,300 crore.
“When we started, e-commerce was not a good word. I wanted my assumptions to be proven before I raised money. I had friends who didn’t believe that beauty could be bought without trying. People advised us to do electronics and not beauty. They told us to be marketplace- and not inventory-led. We chose inventory-led. Others advised that the customer experience should be short—they should be able to check out quickly. Whereas we actually put a lot of content—on the homepage, listing pages, tip tiles. We believed if we educated the customer, they would buy more. So, we broke a lot of rules. For us, there was no ‘no’. We didn’t listen to anybody.”
“Think Big, start small”
What Is Nykaa All About?
Valued at an estimate of $1.2 billion Nykaa is a beauty and wellness e-commerce, premier platform for women. They are known for authentic products and trustworthy brand names. They boast about their retail partnerships with top-notch personal care corporations like Unilever, P&G, L’Oreal, Beiersdorf, Johnson & Johnson.
Nykaa has also hosted the ‘Nykaa Femina Beauty Awards’ in partnership with women’s lifestyle magazine Femina (India) since 2015. Recently, they’ve been expanding to newer market segments with Nykaa men, fashion and more.
This recent investment values the retail platform at an estimated $1.2 billion.
8) Vani Kola: Founder, Kalaari Capital
Vani Kola is a venture capitalist and founder and managing director of Kalaari Capital. She spent 22 years in Silicon Valley and founded two companies – Rightwrok and Certus software. Once she returned to India, she started her career as a Venture capitalist and partnered with NEA (New Enterprise Associates). Kalaari Capital started operations in September of 2012 with a 150-million dollar fund. She was listed as one of the most powerful women in Indian Business by Fortune India. She has won the NDTV Women of Worth award for entrepreneurship and TiE Delhi-NCR 5th Edition of women Entrepreneurship Summit Award.
What is Kalaari Capital?
Kalaari Capital is a venture company investing in technology-related companies in India. Kalaari is a $160 million venture capital fund. It is backed by a strong advisory team in Bangalore. It invests in early-stage, technology-oriented companies in India.
Kalaari is known to have backed companies like Urban Ladder, Curefit and Myntra, among others.
9) Radhika Ghai Aggarwal: Co-Founder & CMO, Shopclues.com
Radhika Ghai started Shopclues after a decade’s worth of experience in industries like retail, eCommerce, fashion and lifestyle, advertising and public relations. This tech-driven entrepreneur has done an MBA from Washington University. She is definitely a noteworthy woman entrepreneur in India. Radhika also holds a postgraduate degree in Advertising and Public Relations. Radhika has worked with Nordstrom on strategy planning and with Goldman Sachs in its Wealth Management group in New York and Menlo Park, US. She started shopclues in Silicon Valley in 2011 with her co-founders Sanjay Sethi and Sandeep Aggarwal.
What is Shopclues?
Currently, Shopclues is India’s first and largest fully managed marketplace with more than 7 million visitors every month. It is currently in nine thousand cities, towns and villages in India. Shopclues is known to provide utility items for the kitchen, home, fashion and electronics. Though the company has seen controversies regarding fake products, it is still well-loved and a great market place for several eCommerce brands.
10) Ankita Gaba: Ex Co-Founder SocialSamosa.com
Social Samosa has become a well-known name in the world of digital marketing. Co-founded by Ankita Gaba who is also a social media strategist, consultant, entrepreneur and a lecturer. She was also one of the founders of Superchooha, an online media strategist for big brands like Ponds, Idea Cellular, Mahindra and more.
She has been featured in the “Global Top 100 Social Media Agencies and Consultants 2012-13″ and “50 Indian Women to Follow on Twitter” and many more.
Her in-depth expertise in social media has been proven over and over again through her work. Ankita is one of the women entrepreneurs in India that has truly understood digital marketing and has pushed it even further ahead.
What Is Social Samosa All About?
Social Samosa started as a go-to platform for everything related to the Indian Social Media Industry. It is an online platform which provides information about updates, case studies, insights, news and much more. Furthermore, Social Samosa’s annual award functions have become an awaited event for digital marketers all around the country.
11) Chitra Gurnani Daga: Co-founder, Thrillophilia
Chitra co-founded Thrillophilia with her husband Abhishek Daga. She is an alumni of the Indian School of Business. She decided to take the plunge without any prior experience in the business. Her family wasn’t one in business and neither was her husband’s. Together, they decided to follow their dreams in an unconventional way.
What is Thrillophilia all about?
Thrillophilia is an Indian adventure travel company that curates local experiences for unique and offbeat travel stories. Today, with 3.5 million monthly users, it has become one of the largest online platforms for travel experiences.
12) Garima Satija: Founder, PoshVine
Garima Satija is a young woman entrepreneur in India and the founder of PoshVine. She studied Psychology from the University of Lucknow and has done MBA in Human Resources from Amity Business School. She comes from a business family and had the support of her father. Before this, she worked with Naukri.com, Quadrangle Consulting services and Ozone Media.
Garima Satija is a young entrepreneur and founder of PoshVine, a community marketplace for travellers 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. She is one of the women entrepreneurs in India that comes from a business family. However, that doesn’t take anything away from her hard work and her innate ability to build a business.
What is PoshVine all about?
PoshVine is a community marketplace for travellers and adventure seekers. It allows you to book unique experiences and book them for free. Furthermore, you get points for every unique experience which can be redeemed for more fun experiences.
They deal with shopping, travel, leisure and dining services.
13) Richa kar: Co-founder & Ex-CEO, Zivame
Richa Kar is the co-founder and the CEO of Zivame, an online lingerie store. She first conceptualized the idea while studying the lingerie retail market. She found that women felt uncomfortable shopping for lingerie in physical outlet stores. This led to the birth of Zivame.
Richa has rich experience in branding, retailing and operations which truly helped her build her brand better.
Richa is one of the women entrepreneurs in India who has truly revolutionised the Lingerie market in India.
What is Zivame?
As mentioned, Zivame is an online lingerie store. It has two thousand plus styles to choose from. Zivame started as a marketplace to be a selection for lingerie wear, however, they started building their own lingerie wear to earn bigger margins.
Today, Zivame is valued at $100 million and is leading the market place. It also reported a revenue of Rs. 140 crore in FY19. Today Zivame is led by Amisha Jain.
14) Sabina Chopra: Co-founder, Yatra.com
Sabina is the co-found Yatra.com, an online travel booking website with Dhruv Shringi, Manish Amin in 2006. She is equipped with 25+ years of work experience with major corporates such as Hewitt Associates, Japan Airlines and Canadian Airlines. This allowed her to have the necessary skills to run a business.
What is Yatra.com?
Yatra.com is a household name for travelling and bookings. It is an online service platform that allows their customers to book air travel, road travel and hotels. They have reported their three months ended December 31, 2019 revenue of INR 1,966.8 million (USD 27.6 million)
Creative initiatives by the brand like the“holiday-cum-shopping card” in association with the State Bank of India has created more press and customer interest in the brand.
They have been facilitated with several awards like as the most preferred travel portal at CNBC Awaaz ‘Travel Awards 2010, Brand Equity and according to the Nielsen Company’s survey ranks Yatra.com as the No.1 online travel service provider.
They were even awarded by the Ministry of Tourism as ‘Best Domestic Tour Operator’.
Till today, they have raised a funding of $136.7M in total through various investors.
15) Sairee Chahal: Founder, SHEROES.in
Sairee is one of the women entrepreneurs in India that is a serial entrepreneur. She was a co-founder of Fleximoms and Newslink. Furthermore, she is the founder of Sheroes.in. She is also a TED speaker and was voted the most powerful women in Indian Business in 2012.
She has been awarded the Devi award, Femina Achievers award, Cartier Award, editor’s choice for L’Oreal Femina Women’s Award, Business Today and Most Powerful Women in Indian Business. In 2018, she was ranked 53 on Onalytica’s “Future of Work Top 100 Influencers” list.
“I never sought permission. If it felt right, I just went ahead and did it.”
What is Sheroes.in?
Sheroes is a woman’s only platform for offering support, resources, opportunities and interactions. Furthermore, SHEROES hosts the #SHEROESSummit, a flagship event and #theshift Series to help change the gender narrative and the organise community meets across the country.
Their core philosophy is to help women navigate career stages and find work that fits their life.
16) Shradha Sharma: Founder & CEO, YourStory Media Pvt.Ltd
Shraddha Sharma is the founder of YourStory.com, a leading media platform for entrepreneurs for promotion and reporting about their startups. Shraddha was born and brought up in Patna, Bihar.
Born and brought up in Patna, Bihar, Shradha Sharma is the founder of YourStory.com. Shradha has been an Assistant Vice President at CNBC TV18 and a brand adviser at The Times of India. She also holds a masters degree in History from St. Stephen’s College, Delhi and MBA from MICA.
What is Your Story?
Your story is the top media platform for entrepreneurs, startups and businesses to report about updates and promote their businesses. The platform reaches over 10 million engaged readers every month. It has also been invested in by Ratan Tata.
It has been India’s most defining entrepreneurial platform. Alos shows an insight into a company through storytelling. They also host several events like YS Meetups, TechSparks, MobileSparks and SheSparks which have had an impact on over 1.7 million people.
17) Shubhra Chadda: Co-founder, Chumbak
Shubhra co-founded Chumbak with Vivek Prabhakar, an online store for funky accessories and jewellery with an Indian touch. She is one of the women entrepreneurs in India who has truly made things so much more beautiful with a design lead brand.
The idea started when they both noticed that most companies have several quirky souvenirs to offer, however Indian with all its culture and quirkiness doesn’t. Shubhra managed to balance her two-year-old daughter and the growth stages of this new company. Today, the brand has over 120 retail stores all across the country and has given better souvenir choices to not just tourists but to Indians as well.
What is Chumbak?
Chumbak is a fashion-led lifestyle brand. Today, they’ve expanded into several products from fashion to face masks. They’ve grown to be known from their fun, quirky mix of trends. Their focus on Indian heritage also shows the roots and helps them stand out.
Chumbak’s revenue in the financial year 2018-19 was Rs 40 crore. Fashion contributed to around 60 percent to the company’s overall revenues
18) Dr Florida Tilton: Founder of Biozone Research Technologies
She has been awarded the All India Women Entrepreneur Award 2018 by Delhi Management Association. Post Graduate honours degree in Plant Biology and complete
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