May 21, 2021

Gender Gains

How women run start-ups score big.

Rupali Kelshikar

Rupali Kelshikar

Amita Mittal

Amita Mittal

Savita Wander

Savita Wander

Sushmita Kaneri

Sushmita Kaneri

While some women may fight to crack the glass ceiling, some get out of the race and forge their own path – of entrepreneurship. Become bosses of their own venture and their own fate. And while a big deal is made of being woman and history is replete with the inequalities, here are some women entrepreneurs who laugh in the face of such perceived unfairness.

Says Rupali Kelshikar, co-founder of Woloo (a technology driven app that helps women find hygienic toilets) when asked about the differences between male and female entrepreneurs, “what difference? I don’t think there is any difference at all. In fact, I think in our business it is certainly advantageous to be female.”

Since Woloo has tied up with Toilet Sanitation Certification Board, Geneva to certify public toilets as per their standards, says Rupali, “it helps to be a woman when it comes to this toilet business. Who else would know better than a woman about toilet hygenie? Who would know what it means to limit your water intake before embarking on a journey? Being a woman definitely helped us launch this tech driven service.”

Not only does Woloo certify public toilets they also have built an ap that can help a lady find such certified loos near her. “we have 600 such toilets in Mumbai and are growing to include more cities.”

Another business where women have a distinct edge, feels Amita Mittal is her business of digital marketing. “Since it involves creativity and I think women are intrinsically more creative than men, we have an edge.” And the growth of her one- and-a-half year old venture Brand Creator is testimony to that. “I was a housewife despite my training in graphic design. I started in 2019 with just two customers and today I have more than 200.”

Though Rupali and Amita have the female edge on account of the nature of their business, for Savita Wandre, two-wheeler servicing was not exactly a woman’s job. Being in charge of operations for EMSeva a start-up that provides doorstep servicing with no technical knowhow of the business would seem like a sure shot trip to failure. “But surprisingly it worked to our advantage” says Savita co- founder. “Since we go to people’s homes or offices, it takes away the headache of going to a garage. And for women driver of bikes, there are some reservations they have about this. Also, when you have a woman to deal with your bike issues most people feel they are being cheated by the garages. A female face gives it some honesty. People feel that a woman is not likely to cheat.

“Of course, it took some time to get around the basics of bike mechanics and to be able to speak like a professional, but that was easily done.” While being a woman helped this start-up Covid has played havoc. “before this we used to do about 25-30 servicing jobs at IT Parks but now, we are down to about 25 per month. But that’s all part of the game. Once covid is done with we should get back to normal.”

While Savita may lack the technical know-how and use her gender to gain the much needed credibility in her business, for Sushmita Kaneri her technical background as a software engineer and the empathy she feels that comes naturally to women was responsible for setting up of her start-up Tech Pose. “I felt that most NGOs raised funds through crowdsourcing but the donors didn’t know how their money was being used. Using technology, I made it possible for them to get a clear account of how and where their money was being spent by the NGO. I think a woman has greater capability to understand a problem with deep empathy and build solutions first for the problem and then for the profit.”

If gender discrimination was an issue a generation ago, looks like women are now using gender to their advantage. Cheers!

NEWS: Start Up World This Week

Devendra Deshmukh

Devendra Deshmukh

co-founder of e-Zest Technologies

A collaboration of leaders

When a large, international company that helps other companies leverage newer technologies for better growth, invests in Pune’s leading digital innovation company, what do you expect?  Umm, almost the impossible?

Says Devendra Deshmukh, co-founder of e-Zest Technologies and TiE Pune charter member, “this investment by Accion Labs will enable service innovation in Cloud, Digital Commerce and Digital Data Engineering, and also our access to new service lines will increase significantly. We look forward to the immense possibilities that this investment will open up for our team as well as customers.”

Watch this space, impossible may soon be nothing!


Ajit Patil

co- founder, DeepTek
GigIndia co founders Sahil & Aditya Shirole TiE50

Sahil Sharma & Aditya Shirole

co- founder, GigIndia

Pune’s Start-Ups Make a Mark Globally

Thousands of technology start-ups worldwide participate in the annual TiE50 contest every year and only 50 as the name suggests, get selected. TiE50 is TiE Silicon Valley’s premier annual awards program. After Ahhamune from Pune who won the first runner-up prize at the TiE Global Women’s contest, two more from Pune city join the rank of worldwide recognition – DeepTek an AI powered solution that helps radiologists and GigIndia that empowers businesses to scale effectively with its armory of 1 million gig workers across 500 cities in India. Both were selected amongst the 50 winners globally, at the virtual awards conference held on May 8th.

Says an elated Ajit Patil co- founder, DeepTek, “TiE50 is a prestigious global award and we are extremely happy to see our efforts being recognised. Our AI powered solution helps improving productivity of radiologists by three to five times. It automates pathology prediction and localization. It also creates structured clinical reports automatically, a process that is otherwise very time consuming. It also helps the reduce the radiologist’s stress and fatigue. In fact, given the Covid pressure on radiologists, we are now processing over 2000 CT scans a day through our AI powered platform!”.

Not only is this award a recognition of our team’s efforts to fight Covid but also a recognition of the innovation that technology brings to help people in such times.  This award will help us gain visibility in the global markets. Our current customers are based in India and the APAC. We plan to reach out to the western markets too and TiE 50 will help us in this.”, he adds.

The other start-up to get into the prestigious 50 is GigIndia based out of Pune. GigIndia helps gig workers find work. Says Aditya Shirole, co-founder, “Our association with TiE has been extremely rewarding. First with TiE Nurture Pune in 2017 where we got access to the best mentors possible, then with their support again in 2018 we raised our angel round of funding and now to be awarded the TiE50. The entire credit goes to our team, our customers and giggers who have always motivated us to do better. In fact, now we have now grown to One Million plus registered giggers on our platform. This award will give us the credibility we need to expand globally. We would like to dedicate this award to all the frontline workers fighting the Covid war in India.”

TiE50 is TiE Silicon Valley’s premier annual awards program keenly contested by thousands of early to mid-stage startups worldwide. Participating technology startups benefit from significant exposure to venture capitalists, angels, and entrepreneurs; online virtual showcasing, and technology and business partnering/networking. Now in its twelfth year, the prestigious TiE50 awards recognize the top technology and technology-enabled startups with no restrictions placed on any specific technology segment.