There is a noticeable global trend of increasing numbers of women entrepreneurs, and India is no exception. In the past decade alone, the percentage of women-owned businesses in India has risen from 14% to 20%, marking significant growth. Today, there are approximately 15 million women-led businesses in the country, spanning various industries such as travel, SaaS, beauty, and finance.
This series aims to introduce 30 highly successful and influential female entrepreneurs in India, all of whom hold MBAs from esteemed business schools worldwide. Equipped with their business education and a deep passion for their respective industries, these women have inspiring success stories to share.
Each article in this series will showcase ten exceptional female entrepreneurs, providing insights into their remarkable journeys. Stay tuned for future installments that will continue to shed light on these inspiring Indian women entrepreneurs. Without further delay, let us embark on this journey by exploring the first set of trailblazing individuals who have left an indelible mark in the entrepreneurial landscape of India.
List Top 10 Female Entrepreneurs in India
1. Chitra Gurnani Daga, Co-Founder, and CEO of Thrillophilia.com
Chitra Gurnani Daga is a highly successful female entrepreneur and the Co-founder & CEO of Thrillophilia.com, India’s largest platform for booking travel experiences. After completing her MBA in Strategy and Leadership at the Indian School of Business in Hyderabad, Chitra embarked on her entrepreneurial journey.
- Despite facing initial skepticism from her family due to financial concerns, Chitra remained determined and persistent in pursuing her dream of starting her own travel company.
- Thrillophilia.com offers a wide range of tours, adventures, activities, rentals, and unique accommodations. The company has gained recognition for its outstanding contributions to the tourism industry, receiving accolades from the Ministry of External Affairs, Government of India. In 2020, Thrillophilia.com boasted over 3 million users, offering more than 12,500 activities across 125+ destinations.
- With a funding of $1.24 million and a valuation of $4.84 million, Thrillophilia.com has experienced remarkable growth under Chitra’s leadership. Her net worth is estimated at 165 crores. Chitra’s passion for travel, coupled with her strategic vision and leadership skills, has propelled Thrillophilia.com to become a major player in the travel booking industry in India.
Chitra’s journey is a testament to her entrepreneurial spirit and determination, and her success serves as an inspiration for aspiring entrepreneurs in India and beyond.
2. Upasana Taku (MobiKwik)
Upasana Taku is a prominent female entrepreneur and the Co-founder of MobiKwik and Zaakpay. MobiKwik is a leading payment service provider that offers a mobile phone-based payment system and digital wallet. Upasana’s educational journey began with schooling in Surat, followed by her pursuit of engineering at the National Institute of Technology, Jalandhar, specializing in Industrial Engineering.
- Driven by her passion for knowledge and growth, Upasana furthered her education by earning an MS in Management Science and Engineering from Stanford University in the United States. Her professional career took off with roles at renowned companies such as HSBC in San Diego and PayPal. In 2009, she founded Zaakpay, laying the foundation for her entrepreneurial pursuits.
- During this time, she crossed paths with Bipin, who shared her aspirations for the advancement of the startup ecosystem. Recognizing their complementary skills and shared vision, Upasana began assisting Bipin with various aspects of his business, ultimately leading to her becoming a Co-founder of MobiKwik.
- Upasana’s contributions to the entrepreneurial landscape have garnered recognition, including the Best Woman Entrepreneur Award in 2017. MobiKwik boasts an active user base of 2.4 million users and has secured significant funding of $181.2 million, with a valuation of $1 billion.
Upasana’s journey exemplifies her entrepreneurial spirit, dedication, and business acumen. Her involvement in the growth of MobiKwik has solidified its position as a leading player in the digital payment industry in India. Upasana’s achievements serve as an inspiration for aspiring entrepreneurs and women in business, highlighting the power of innovation and perseverance.
3. Aditi Gupta (Menstrupedia)
Aditi Gupta is a renowned female entrepreneur and the founder of Menstrupedia, an organization dedicated to raising awareness about menstruation. Born and raised in Jharkhand, Aditi personally witnessed the challenges faced by women during menstruation and felt compelled to make a difference.
- Motivated by a deep sense of purpose, Aditi launched Menstrupedia with the mission of educating women about menstruation and empowering them with knowledge on how to manage it effectively. Through her innovative approach, Aditi aimed to break the stigma surrounding menstruation and provide accurate information to girls and women.
- Aditi’s remarkable achievements have garnered recognition, including her inclusion in the Forbes India U-30 list. While her exact net worth may vary, it is estimated to be approximately between $1.5 million to $5.5 million. Her dedication to tackling a societal taboo and her commitment to empowering women through education have made her an inspiration to many.
Aditi Gupta’s entrepreneurial journey demonstrates the power of addressing pressing social issues and the potential for positive impact through innovative solutions. Her work with Menstrupedia has contributed to transforming attitudes and perceptions surrounding menstruation in India and beyond, opening up conversations and paving the way for improved menstrual health and gender equality.
4. Divya Gokulnath (Byju's)
Divya Gokulnath, a prominent figure in the Indian entrepreneurial landscape, is the Co-founder of Byju’s, one of the country’s leading ed-tech startups. Divya’s educational background includes a B.Tech in Biotechnology from Bengaluru, which laid the foundation for her journey in the field of education.
- Her career initially started as a teacher, where she gained valuable insights into the challenges faced by students in traditional learning environments. In 2011, Divya co-founded Byju’s, driven by the vision of transforming education through technology and personalized learning.
- During the COVID-19 pandemic, Divya played a crucial role in managing user experience, content development, and brand marketing at Byju’s, as the demand for online education surged. Her efforts in enhancing the platform’s usability and ensuring quality educational content helped millions of students adapt to remote learning.
- Divya’s entrepreneurial acumen and dedication have earned her multiple accolades, including recognition at the MAKERS India Conference, Entrepreneur of the Year awards, and Women Who Make India honors. Her contributions to the ed-tech industry have been instrumental in shaping the future of education in India.
- Byju, under Divya’s leadership, has experienced significant growth, raising a remarkable total funding of $5.5 billion at a valuation of $23 billion. Alongside her husband, Byju Raveendran, Divya holds a combined net worth of $3.05 billion, cementing their position as influential figures in the education and technology sectors.
Divya Gokulnath’s journey exemplifies the power of innovation in education and the impact that technology can have on transforming traditional learning methods. Her relentless pursuit of educational excellence and commitment to empowering students has made her an inspiration for aspiring entrepreneurs and educators alike.
5. Khushboo Jain, Co-Founder and COO of ImpactGuru.com
Khushboo Jain, the Co-Founder, and COO of ImpactGuru.com, is a visionary entrepreneur dedicated to making a positive impact in the healthcare sector. Alongside her husband, Piyush Jain, she established ImpactGuru in 2014 as a crowdfunding platform specifically designed to support patients who are unable to afford their medical expenses.
- Under Khushboo’s leadership, ImpactGuru has emerged as India’s first female-led crowdsourcing platform, revolutionizing the way medical funds are raised. Through their platform, they have successfully helped over 25,000 patients access the necessary funds to transform their lives and receive essential medical treatments.
- Before venturing into the healthcare space, Khushboo Jain cultivated a successful career in fashion marketing and branding, amassing over ten years of experience. Her educational background includes an MBA from the esteemed Welingkar Institute of Management, with a specialization in marketing.
- Throughout her career, Khushboo has worked with renowned brands such as Jimmy Choo and Hackett, honing her expertise in marketing and strategy. This diverse experience has equipped her with a unique skill set and a deep understanding of consumer behavior, enabling her to drive the growth and success of ImpactGuru.
- Khushboo Jain’s entrepreneurial journey exemplifies her commitment to creating social impact and empowering individuals through innovative solutions. Her passion for leveraging technology and crowdfunding to address critical healthcare challenges has reshaped the lives of countless patients in need.
With her leadership and unwavering dedication, ImpactGuru has become a beacon of hope for those in need of financial assistance for medical treatments. Khushboo’s entrepreneurial spirit, combined with her marketing acumen and compassionate approach, continues to propel ImpactGuru’s mission to transform healthcare accessibility in India.
6. Farah Nathani Menzies, Co-Founder of The Mumum Co.
Farah Nathani Menzies, the Co-Founder of The Mumum Co., is an accomplished entrepreneur who has made a significant impact in the food industry. After completing her bachelor’s degree in International Studies and Business in the United States in 2001, she embarked on a successful career at Bain & Company, a renowned global management consulting firm.
- Driven by her passion for business and a desire to make a difference in the lives of children, Farah pursued further education and obtained an MBA from Harvard Business School. Equipped with a solid foundation in business strategy, she continued to thrive as a trusted business advisor.
- In 2016, inspired by her struggle to find healthy and nutritious snacks for her children in India, Farah founded The Mumum Co. The company aimed to provide wholesome and delicious snacks specifically designed for children. With its emphasis on natural ingredients and mindful nutrition, The Mumum Co. quickly gained popularity and acclaim.
- Farah’s entrepreneurial journey not only led to the success of her business but also opened up important conversations about the challenges women face in balancing motherhood and entrepreneurship. She became a role model for aspiring women entrepreneurs, showcasing that it is possible to navigate both realms with determination and perseverance.
- In recognition of her achievements, The Mumum Co. was honored with the prestigious Coca-Cola Golden Spoon Most Admired Start-Up award in 2020. Farah’s dedication to providing healthier snack options for children and her contributions to the entrepreneurial ecosystem has positioned her as a respected figure in the industry.
Farah Nathani Menzies continues to inspire and empower women entrepreneurs, breaking barriers and encouraging discussions about work-life balance and the pursuit of one’s passions. Through her innovative approach and commitment to quality, she has successfully created a positive impact on children’s nutrition and set a shining example for aspiring entrepreneurs in India and beyond.
7. Shreya Lamba, Co-Founder of The Mumum Co.
Shreya Lamba, the Co-Founder of The Mumum Co., is an accomplished entrepreneur known for her expertise in consultancy and her dedication to supporting mothers in India. Before her involvement with The Mumum Co., Shreya had a successful career in the consulting industry.
- Shreya’s educational background includes a bachelor’s and master’s degree from the prestigious London School of Economics. She began her professional journey at A.T. Kearney, a global management consulting firm, where she gained valuable experience and honed her skills.
- Driven by a desire to further her knowledge and broaden her horizons, Shreya pursued an MBA at INSEAD in 2008. Following her MBA, she transitioned into a senior management role at A.T. Kearney, further establishing her reputation as a capable and dynamic business professional.
- However, Shreya’s entrepreneurial spirit and passion for making a difference led her to leave her corporate career behind and embark on a new journey. Joining forces with Farah, she co-founded The Mumum Co. The company focused on providing nutritious and wholesome snacks for children, catering to the needs of health-conscious parents in India.
- Shreya played a pivotal role in securing multiple investment rounds for The Mumum Co., facilitating the growth and success of the business. Additionally, she extended her dedication to supporting mothers by launching The Mommy Network, India’s largest curated parenting community. This platform provides a judgment-free space for new mothers to seek advice, ask questions, and connect with other like-minded individuals.
- Shreya’s entrepreneurial endeavors, coupled with her commitment to nurturing and empowering mothers, have made a significant impact. She has not only contributed to the success of The Mumum Co. but also provided a valuable support network for mothers across India.
Through her innovative initiatives and dedication to improving the lives of mothers and children, Shreya Lamba has become an influential figure in the entrepreneurial and parenting communities. Her journey exemplifies the possibilities that arise when passion, expertise, and a desire for positive change intersect.
8. Kiran Mazumdar Shaw, Founder, and CEO of Biocon Limited
Kiran Mazumdar Shaw, a pioneering figure in the field of biotechnology, is the founder and CEO of Biocon Limited. In 1978, she established Biocon, which has since become one of India’s leading biotechnology companies. With her entrepreneurial acumen and vision, Kiran Mazumdar Shaw has emerged as India’s wealthiest self-made female entrepreneur.
- In addition to her role at Biocon, Kiran Mazumdar Shaw has made significant contributions to academia. She served as the chairperson of the Indian Institute of Management, Bangalore, a prestigious educational institution in India.
- Biocon has garnered attention from investors due to its foray into the biosimilars market in the United States. Notably, the company achieved a significant milestone by becoming the first to receive FDA approval for its biosimilar products. This achievement further solidified Biocon’s position as a global player in the biotechnology industry.
- Kiran Mazumdar Shaw’s accomplishments have earned her recognition on various global platforms. In 2019, Forbes ranked her as the 65th most powerful woman in the world, highlighting her influence and impact. Furthermore, she has been acknowledged as one of India’s top business leaders, being listed as the 54th richest person in the country.
Through her leadership and relentless pursuit of innovation, Kiran Mazumdar Shaw has not only transformed Biocon into a powerhouse in the biotechnology sector but has also inspired aspiring entrepreneurs, especially women, to break barriers and create their own success stories.
With her remarkable achievements and ongoing contributions to the field of biotechnology, Kiran Mazumdar Shaw continues to be a trailblazer, shaping the landscape of the Indian business ecosystem and leaving an indelible mark on the global biotechnology industry.
9. Sneha Choudhry, Co-Founder of Zolo
Sneha Choudhry, an accomplished entrepreneur, made her mark in the startup world with the launch of ZoloStays, now known as Zolo, in 2015. Before this venture, she had already founded two other companies, displaying her entrepreneurial spirit and experience. However, it was with Zolo that Sneha decided to channel her full attention and passion into revolutionizing the co-living and home rental booking industry.
- Zolo provides a unique solution to the challenge of finding affordable long-term apartment rentals by offering co-living spaces. The platform not only offers comfortable and convenient living arrangements but also aims to build vibrant local communities. It achieves this by facilitating participation in local events, fostering connections, and creating a sense of belonging among guests and residents.
- In 2019, Zolo experienced a significant milestone when it secured a Series B funding round, raising an impressive US$30 million. This achievement propelled the company’s net worth to over US$100 million, further validating its value and potential in the market.
- Today, Zolo operates in more than ten cities across India, catering to the accommodation needs of over 50,000 customers. Its innovative approach to co-living has garnered significant attention and popularity among individuals seeking affordable and community-driven living arrangements.
Sneha Choudhry’s entrepreneurial journey with Zolo exemplifies her dedication to addressing real-world problems and creating solutions that resonate with people’s needs. Through her leadership and vision, she has not only established a successful startup but has also contributed to transforming the rental landscape in India, providing accessible and community-focused housing options for individuals across the country.
10. Roshni Nadar Malhotra, Chairperson of HCLTech
Roshni Nadar Malhotra, a prominent business leader, made history when she assumed the role of Chairperson of HCLTech in 2020. HCLTech is one of India’s largest IT and consulting services firms, with a substantial value of US$12 billion. As the first woman entrepreneur to lead a listed IT company in India, Roshni’s appointment marked a significant milestone.
- Roshni’s journey in the corporate world began after completing her MBA at the prestigious Kellogg School of Management at Northwestern University in 2008. Armed with her business education, she returned to India and joined her father’s company, HCL Corporation. Roshni’s capabilities and leadership qualities quickly shone through, and within a year, she was appointed as the Executive Director and CEO of HCL Corporation.
- Alongside her responsibilities at HCLTech, Roshni is actively involved in the Shiv Nadar Foundation, an esteemed education NGO. As a trustee, she plays a vital role in establishing programs and institutions focused on rural education, contributing to the advancement of educational opportunities in underserved communities.
- Roshni’s remarkable achievements have garnered international recognition. In 2022, she secured the 53rd position on Forbes’ World’s Most Powerful Women list, further underscoring her influence and impact in the corporate sphere.
As the Chairperson of HCLTech and a prominent figure in the business world, Roshni Nadar Malhotra exemplifies leadership and serves as an inspiration to aspiring entrepreneurs, particularly women. Her entrepreneurial journey, coupled with her commitment to education and social causes, has solidified her reputation as a respected and influential business leader.
In conclusion, India boasts a remarkable group of female entrepreneurs who have achieved remarkable success and made significant contributions to various industries. These women have broken barriers, demonstrated resilience, and inspired a new generation of entrepreneurs. Their innovative ideas, determination, and leadership have helped shape the business landscape in India.
These women have not only achieved remarkable business success but have also made a significant social impact. They have shattered stereotypes, empowered women, and inspired countless individuals to pursue their entrepreneurial dreams. Their stories serve as a testament to the power of determination, innovation, and leadership. The success of these female entrepreneurs not only showcases their achievements but also highlights the potential and capabilities of women in the Indian business ecosystem. They serve as role models and inspire future generations to strive for excellence and create positive change in society.
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