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…

Padmaja Ruparel

Company: Indian Angel Network
Age: 45
Education: BA Hons, Loreto House
Prior Work Experience: Xansa India

Padmaja Ruparel

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.

Falguni Nayar

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.

Pankhuri Shrivastava

Company: Grabhouse
Age: 25
Education: BE Computer Science, Rajiv Gandhi Technolohgy University
Prior Work Experience: Teach For India

pankhuri-shrivastava

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.

Ankita Vashistha

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.

Ankita Sheth

Company: Vista Rooms
Age: 32
Education: MET
Prior Work Experience: OYO Rooms, Stanton Chase, Boston Analytics

-ankita-sheth-feature

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.

Vani Kola

Vani Kola

Company: Kalaari Capital
Age: 38
Prior Work Experience: Arizona State University
Work: 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.

Shivani Siroya

Company: Inventure
Age: 30
Education: Columbia University
Prior Work Experience:  Healthnet

Shivani Siroya

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.

Swati Bhargava

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.

Richa Kar

Company: Zivame
Age: 30
Education: Narsee Monjee Institute of Management Studies
Prior Work Experience: SAP, Spencer’s Retail Ltd.

richa-kar-founder-zivame

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.

Pranshu Bhandari

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.

Shradha Sharma

Company: Yourstory
Age: 30
Prior Work Experience: MICA
Work: CNBC TV18, The Times Of India

Shradha_Sharma (1)

YourStory is a portal publishing original stories of entrepreneurs. They have received their first round of funding from marquee investors, Kalaari Capital, Qualcomm Ventures, T V Mohandas Pai and Ratan Tata.

Upasana Taku

Upasna 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.

Meena Ganesh

Company: Growth Story
Age: 40
Education: IIM Calcutta
Prior Work Experience: Microsoft India, Tesco

Meena Ganesh

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.

Rashmi Daga

Company: Freshmenu
Age: 30
Education: IIM Ahmedabad
Prior Work Experience: Afday.com

Rashmi-Daga-Fresh-Menu

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.

Shuchi Mukherjee

Company: LimeRoad
Age: 42
Education: London School Of Economics
Previous Work Experience: Gumtree, an eBay Inc Company, Skype, eBay Inc

suchi-1

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.

Nidhi Agarwal

Company: Kaaryah
Age: 30
Education: MBA from Kellogg School of Management
Prior Work Experience: Export houses in Delhi

NIdhi-Agarwal

Kaaryah is a brand of western formal wear for Indian women focused on providing the best possible fit with its 18 sizes. The brand focuses on bridging the gap between western formals and the Indian silhouette. Recently Ratan Tata has picked up a minor stake in Kaaryah.

Namrata Bostrom

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!

Manisha Raisinghani

Company: LogiNext
Age: 27
Education: Masters, MIS, Carnegie Mellon University
Prior Work Experience: IBM

Manisha-Raisinghani

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.

Debadtta Upadhaya

Debadtta Upadhaya

Company: Timesaverz
Age: 35
Prior Work Experience: IIM Calcutta
Work: The Times of India, Yahoo! India and Vdopia Inc

Timesaverz is a one-stop solution for home service requirement. It connects customers to home service providers who are certified, verified and curated. The service majorly includes home maintenance and one-time services. Recently Unilazer Ventures invested Rs 15 crores in Timesaverz.

Kanika Tekriwal

Company: JetSetGo
Age: 27
Prior Work Experience: Coventry University
Work: Aviation industry

kanik

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.

Neha Motwani

neha_motwani

Company: Fitternity
Age: 30
Education: MMS, Welingkar Institute of Management
Prior Work Experience: HSBC, Axis Risk Consulting

Fitternity is catering to holistic preventive healthcare space covering exercise (working out), eat (eating right) and explore (mental wellbeing). Fitternity Health E-solutions has raised pre-series A investment of USD 1M led by Bengaluru-based Exfinity Venture Partners.

 

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Amit Damani, 27, is Co-Founder & Head of Sales & Marketing of Vista Rooms. He has graduated in Economics and International Studies from the Northwestern University, U.S.A. Prior to his entrepreneurial venture, he has been a consultant at Dalberg Global Development Advisors and has worked with the Chinese and German government ministries, IFC and World Bank on socio-economic development projects that primarily included market entry, strategy building and cost optimization in several countries such as India, China and Afghanistan.

About Author

Amit Damani

Amit Damani, 27, is Co-Founder & Head of Sales & Marketing of Vista Rooms. He has graduated in Economics and International Studies from the Northwestern University, U.S.A. Prior to his entrepreneurial venture, he has been a consultant at Dalberg Global Development Advisors and has worked with the Chinese and German government ministries, IFC and World Bank on socio-economic development projects that primarily included market entry, strategy building and cost optimization in several countries such as India, China and Afghanistan.

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