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Women in Business

17 women entrepreneurs that stood out in 2015

17 women entrepreneurs that stood out in 2015
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A number of businesses have begun and boomed, or begun and bombed in the year gone by - it’s definitely been an interesting year in the world of startups. What’s good to see is that so many women have been just as enterprising as their male counterparts and made a name for themselves.

As the year ends, let’s take a look at some of the best women entrepreneurs who made us sit up and take notice in 2015…

1. Padmaja Ruparel

Company: Indian Angel Network

Age: 45

Education: BA Hons, Loreto House

Prior Work Experience: Xansa India

Indian Angel Network is India’s first angel investor network. They are going global by partnering with Inventus Capital Partners to invest in two US-based startups. IAN, which has over 350 members globally, counts prominent angel investors such as Hero Cycles managing director Sunil Munjal, HCL cofounder Ajai Chowdhry and Sanjeev Bikhchandani, cofounder and chief executive of publicly-listed internet company Info Edge, in its network.

2. Falguni Nayar 

Company: Nykaa.com

Age: 45

Education: IIM Ahmedabad

Prior Work Experience: Temasek, Kotak,

Nykaa.com is the entrepreneurial dream of Falguni Nayar, the former MD Of Kotak Mahindra Capital Company. Recently TVS Capital invested about Rs.25 crore and they have also got Rs.60-crore Series C fundraising are a clutch of investors, including high net-worth individuals, non-resident Indians (NRIs) and family offices.

3. Ankita Vashistha

Company: Saha Fund

Age: 34

Education: Masters in Finance, Cranfield School of Management, UK

Prior Work Experience: Aureos Capital

Ankita Vashistha launched Saha Fund, a venture capital fund for women centric businesses that is run by women. The Saha Fund, India's first Securities and Exchange Board of India-approved venture capital fund focused on women entrepreneurs, would have a corpus of Rs 100 crore. It would invest in companies run by women entrepreneurs as founders or senior management. The fund has investments from Mohandas Pai and Kiran Mazumdar Shaw.

4. Pankhuri Shrivastava

Company: Grabhouse

Age: 25

Education: BE Computer Science, Rajiv Gandhi Technolohgy University

Prior Work Experience: Teach For India

Grabhouse is a broker-free website that helps people finding apartments, sharing rooms and PG's on rent. Grabhouse raised $2.5 million from Kalaari Capital and Sequoia Capital. The startup now has more than 1.5 lakh visitors a day.

5. Ankita Sheth

Company: Vista Rooms

Age: 32

Education: MET

Prior Work Experience: OYO Rooms, Stanton Chase, Boston Analytics

Ankita Sheth is Co-founder for Vista Rooms, one of India’s fastest growing online aggregators for budget hotels. She is also the only women entrepreneur in this highly male dominated segment. Vista Rooms have scaled 700 plus properties in 70 plus locations across India in under six months of their inception. They also command the largest inventory for tier II and tier III locations in India. An avid traveller and an active social activist, amongst other causes, Ankita has also been part of Anna Hazare’s campaigns.

6. Shivani Siroya

Company: Inventure

Age: 30 

Education: Columbia University

Prior Work Experience:  Healthnet

InVenture is a mobile technology and data science company that is flipping the traditional credit scoring model by putting power into the hands of newly empowered consumers in emerging markets.They have raised $10 million series A round to launch into additional markets in Sub-Saharan Africa and Asia.

7. Vani Kola

Company: Kalaari Capital

Age: 38

Education: Arizona State University

Prior Work Experience: Certus Software, Rightworks

Kalaari Capital, a venture capital firm, has invested in more than 25 start ups including Snapdeal, Zivame and Urbanladder. Kalaari Capital has recently launched its third $290M India fund.

8. Swati Bhargava

Company: Cashkaro.com

Age: 30

Education: London School Of Economics

Prior Work Experience: Goldman Sachs

Cashkaro.com is touted to be India’s largest & fastest growing Cashback & Coupons site. Cashkaro.com is planning its foray into new countries after raising a $3.8 million Series A from Kalaari Capital.

9. Pranshu Bhandari

Company: Culture Alley

Age: 26

Education: Narsee Monjee Institute of Management Studies

Work: Wipro

The startup launched its English language learning application in October 2014. In eight months the English app has seen 3 million installs on Android from India. They have recently raised $6 million from Tiger Global and Kae Capital.

10. Richa Kar

Company: Zivame

Age: 30

Education: Narsee Monjee Institute of Management Studies

Prior Work Experience: SAP, Spencer’s Retail Ltd.

Zivame is probably the first in the online lingerie space in India and has played a role in educating women across the country about intimate wear and shaping consumer behaviour. It has recently raised a Series C round of Rs 250 crore from Zodius Technology Fund and Khazanah Nasional Berhad.

11. Upasana Taku

Company: Mobikwik

Age: N/A

Education: Stanford University

Prior Work Experience: Paypal, Zaakpay, 2020 Social

MobiKwik is India's fastest growing mobile wallet trusted by 25 Million users & 50,000 merchants. With 17 M-wallet users, MobiKwik plans to raise $100 M. 

12. Meena Ganesh

Company: Growth Story

Age: 40

Education: IIM Calcutta

Prior Work Experience: Microsoft India, Tesco

Meena and Ganesh, the founder couple of venture building platform GrowthStory, built and sold four companies over two decades. Growth Story has a corpus of approximately Rs 200 crore. And it already has a portfolio of five e-commerce ventures -- BigBasket, BlueStone, Delyver, MustSeeIndia, and BookAdda. 

13. Rashmi Daga

Company: Freshmenu

Age: 30

Education: IIM Ahmedabad

Prior Work Experience: Afday.com

Fresh Menu is a company that offers ready-to-eat/heat and serve meal plans. The Bangalore-based Internet-first restaurant, FreshMenu, part of serial entrepreneur K Ganesh’s startup factory GrowthStory, is all set to raise INR 31 Cr in a first round of funding from Lightspeed Venture Partners.

14. Shuchi Mukherjee

Company: LimeRoad

Age: 42

Education: London School Of Economics

Previous Work Experience: Gumtree, an eBay Inc Company, Skype, eBay Inc

Ask any woman today who binges on online shopping and this LimeRoad will definitely pop up. Founder Shuchi Mukherjee comes from a family with no business background and has managed to give biggies like Flipkart and Snapdeal tough competition. A post grad from London School of Economics, Shuchi has worked with companies like eBay, Skype and Gumtree.

15. Manisha Raisinghani:

Company: LogiNext

Age: 27

Education: Masters, MIS, Carnegie Mellon University

Prior Work Experience: IBM

LogiNext funded by Indian Angel Network is a technology based startup, providing real- time visibility and optimization solutions to logistics companies. LogiNext Solutions had raised its seed round of funding of about $600k from Indian Angel Network in March 2015. This was followed by another funding round in September 2015, wherein it raised a whopping $10 Mn Series A funding from Paytm.

16. Kanika Tekriwal

Company: JetSetGo

Age: 27

Prior Work Experience: Coventry University

Work: Aviation industry

JetSetGo is India's first and only marketplace for private jet and helicopter charters. JetSetGo raised nearly Rs 12.73 crore from Puneet Dalmia and others in 2015 in pre-series A funding.

17. Namrata Bostrom

Company: POPxo

Age: 28

Education: MBA, London Business School

Prior Work Experience: EBITD, BCG

POPxo is a dynamic digital media platform attracting over 3 million loyal and engaged readers every month for go-to fashion, beauty and lifestyle destination for young women across the country. POPxo has raised USD 2 Million in series A funding from IDGVI, Kalaari Capital.

This list, brimming with women who’ve shown unparalleled enthusiasm and dedication towards their work makes me the happiest to say - it’s not a man’s world after all!