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There are no Women Entrepreneurs, there are just Women who become Entrepreneurs.



There are no Women Entrepreneurs
There are just Women who become Entrepreneurs.

Here are their top 7 traits:-

1. They see a male dominated society or industry and they don’t bat an eyelash.

From a Princess to a young graduate entering STEM industries, their stories are the same. Yes, I was told there are usually no women. And then I told them I would be the first.

At the Crib Summit, H.R.H. Princess Nisreen El-Hashemite said her greatest challenge was her title. The title, which gave her cultural and religious power by being ahead of the state, was disempowering because her colleagues in her field of choice asked why she didn’t wear a tiara to work. Or do more ‘princessy’ things. Thankfully, this modern princess knew she could have her pretty clothes and her Ph.D. in Human Genetics.

The recent release of the movie, Hidden Figures is another case in point, a brilliant mind is a brilliant mind and it comes it all shapes, sizes, and genders.

2. They simply don’t give up.

They just keep on keeping on. Panelist after panelist told stories of how they outran and outlasted everyone else to be the one still standing. It was never a gender issue, it was a who could deal with the challenges longer.

Claire Chiang spoke of Banyan Tree riding the wave of one economic crisis after another and still managing just to keep afloat. Small business founders shared at breaks and at private one-on-one or small groups their own stories of tenacity and grit. Brené Brown would have been so proud to hear us.

The vulnerability is not worn on the sleeve as a bleeding heart but more like an empress dowager. She looks strong outside but inside, she too has doubts and challenges and she finds trusted advisors – here at Crib, a trusted female community of advisors who have seen their way through their own tough entrepreneurial patches.

3. They are continual learners

This was one rich deep and expansive summit. So many offerings of workshops and rich conversations – and we were asked to join Howdy an app to continue talking before and after events. Women bring other women together to an almost potluck a business meal together. When not on stage, we found Elim Chew drinking a coffee surrounded by young men and women who wanted to learn from her varied experiences. She herself so versed in the social media world, was seen attending a Facebook workshop to deepen her knowledge.

Anna Gong, the finalist for Women Entrepreneur of the Year, went to the Negotiation Workshop and Elim joked that Anna probably needed to teach her own workshop on how to re-found a startup and make it successful by negotiating with new partners and investors. A rare skill that Anna has shown to the world and that’s why Perx has Eduardo Saverin and Golden Gate Ventures behind this Singapore-born startup.

4. They lean in before Leaning In was what you called it

Virginia Tan spoke of Lean In China and how they have started researching about the wage gap. She mentioned her own experiences of being paid less that a male colleague and how he was a friend and told her. She reflected and spoke to her Human Resources department and realized she had negotiated lower than most men during her work relocation from London to China. She now uses this story to remind the women in her communities not to underestimate their worth and value.

Rosaline Chow Koo jumped in with a great story of how an established investment firm told her after one of her pitches, that when they see a man presenting whatever numbers he gives them for his startup – they divide it by 10. For women they multiple by 10. That’s how often he sees women underestimating their value.

5. They are comfortable being in the limelight and the tough light. They carry themselves with grace.

As women who know they have made headways that many other women still aspire towards, most successful women entrepreneurs take the social media limelight and use it for good.

The “How to Build your Brand and Grow your Influence using Social Media” workshop where Love Bonito’s co-founder Rachel Lim and Katherina-Olivia Lacey spoke about the integrity of being a personal brand. It rang true with how we all know that most people want to see only the “happy happy” times and not the tough times. Yet how entrepreneurs and women and humans have those tough days and we need to show that too. To be a true face to what being an entrepreneur really is.

6. They do things to create a Me-We world

At the Crib Summit, partnering with DBS foundation, we saw many amazing initiatives for social good. I was impressed by The Everyday Revolution’s CEO Sophia Tan’s vision for art allowing autistic kids an expression as well as means of fundraising for their needs. The artwork spoke of their world and was such a spark of joy to the conference venue.

Also, they had a great Crib Marketplace with green initiatives to swap clothes and use eco-friendly products.

They make a business that makes the world better – Triple Bottom Line: Planet, People, Profits.

7. Not Women Power – but Self Power.

Anita Kapoor tells us she is blessed with a voice. She uses this to shine a light on challenging social issues and to awaken her audience to their full potential.

In her workshop and while on the opening panel, she espouses the need to know ourselves first. To go deep and align ourselves with whether that is the true mission before embarking.

What I loved most about the Crib Summit were the little children and daddies in tow, the Crib women have made family and work one. There is no division. Reema Khan of Great Sands Equity has scaled her company quickly and is the youngest member of the team. The rest are older men with roller decks that help her create the relationships she needs for the company. However, she spoke about her travels and arriving and departing as quickly as she could to get back to her kids in San Francisco. Yet she did come to the Crib Summit.

MP Lily Neo was seen carrying her newest grandson from daughter Crib Co-Founder Dr. Elaine Kim. The self-power is the way to re-make the rules of the business game the way it suits women. Know yourself. Create the world that gives that to you.

And in a very Arianna Huffington way, we started the day and took breaks with Mindfulness exercises.

Want to listen to a STEM Princess … watch the video below:

The CNBC video of HRH is here:
Interested in such events for yourself or your female team members? Find out more here.

What is CRIB video:

Follow CRIB Society on Facebook at for information about CRIB events and the CRIB Ball.


Women on Top in Tech – Vidya Vellala, Founder and CEO of Faasthelp



(Women on Top in Tech is a series about Women Founders, CEOs, and Leaders in technology. It aims to amplify and bring to the fore diversity in leadership in technology.)

Vidya Vellala is the Founder and CEO of Faasthelp, a 24/7 (round the clock) customer support on any business application through Artificial intelligence powered products. It analyzes what the customer is asking using natural language processing, machine learning and processes that to give the accurate responses to the customers instantly. Vidya is an Entrepreneur with a passion for innovation and latest technologies, having 17 years of Technology Experience. She won the India’s Best Startup CTO by Dell EMC.

What makes you do what you do?
I believe technology can solve any problem. Innovations in technology can improve the quality of life and the quality of work people does.
I am grown with a mindset which says self-sympathy is the enemy of self and hard work consistently without expecting a result will open bigger pathways. What I am doing is the combination of all.
Being an entrepreneur is an eternal learning which I love and I enjoy playing with technology and challenges that is the reason why I am doing what I am doing today.

How did you rise in the industry you are in?
Updating myself with the latest technologies is a must. Having said that, that alone is not sufficient. Always thinking positively, fighting against the fears, perseverance, and working hard helps.
I am lucky to have a big support from my family. My sisters who are also into technology field, make my life more beautiful and meaningful, to share not only the personal but also technical matters with them.

Why did you take on this role/start this startup especially since this is perhaps a stretch or challenge for you (or viewed as one since you are not the usual leadership demographics)?
With the bigger goal of supporting the future generations, this is the beginning. It had to start somewhere. In the very long journey this is the first step that I took.
My current startup is Faasthelp. We build artificial intelligence products.

Do you have a mentor that you look up to in your industries or did you look for one or how did that work?How did you make a match if you did, and how did you end up being mentored by him?
There have been many mentors at all stages of my startup. A startup eco system has brought me too many friends and mentors who have been very helpful at every stage of my startup and I am thankful to all of them.
My primary mentors in my life are my parents. The spirit of entrepreneurship was ignited when I was a kid and my mother was managing her small industry. The strong value system, sense of service, and responsibility towards the society is instilled in me by my dad. The strong urge to do something by myself was driven by my parents. They are the role models and driving factors.

Now as a leader how do you spot, develop, keep, grow and support your talent?
I take personal interest in grooming and nurturing talent. I have established processes that identify the potential talent and to groom. I play to the best of their strengths and encourage them to take risks. My business needs also drive me to develop new skills and grow them. I value emotional intelligence and so is the strength of my team.

Do you consciously or subconsciously support diversity and why?
I consciously and subconsciously support diversity, this again I can say got from my parents, my dad always wanted all women to be empowered and my mother had more women in her work force.
I have mentored women entrepreneurs, especially in their technical initiatives as I come with a vast technical expertise. I have extended my entrepreneurial connections to other women entrepreneurs. Our organization has more women representation.

What is your take on what it takes to be a great leader in your industry and as a general rule of thumb?
To be a great leader, you have to be a good leader, for that you must be a good human being, driven by high values, honesty, and ethics with great empathy for the people around.
Motivating the team, being a good listener with persistent hard work is a general thumb rule. Now there might be several ways to implement these and depending on the industry the implementation might differ but the ground principles remain same.
Entrepreneurship is continuous learning and I encourage others to do the same. Aim high and work towards the set goals is a way to go. I believe mindset to do service is also a way to become a good leader.

Advice for others?
Always be positive and create a positive impact on everyone. Have your values defined and do not compromise on them at any cost. Each small step taken towards the big thing is important, value them and go ahead, you will succeed surely. Success is something which we define our self and it can be achieved from any field and anywhere, on the way keep helping others.
The present focus is to develop the startup which I have taken up and my next idea is to continue to innovate and create technology products which will improvise human life.

If you’d like to get in touch with Vidya Vellala, please feel free to reach out to her on LinkedIn:

To learn more about Faasthelp, please click here.

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Lessons Learnt from The Lean Startup



The Lean Startup book authored by Eric Ries has been sitting on my shelf for quite sometime now, so since I am currently contributing to the making of a startup I figured I’ll take a look into it.

The book is divided into 3 parts, after reading the first two I had my mind blown with the pragmatic and scientific approach to building startups that is described in the book.

In this post, I would like to share some important insights that I gained regarding building highly innovative businesses.

Validating Value Proposition And Growth Strategy Is The Priority

Usually, a highly innovative startup company is working in its most early stage at building a product or a service that will create a new market.

Consumers or businesses have not been yet exposed to something similar to what is going to be built by the startup. Therefore the absolute priority for startups in early stage is to validated their value proposition i.e. to get real data about eventual customers interest regarding their product/service.

The other priority is to validate that the growth strategy that is going to be executed is, in fact, effective.

The growth strategy of a startup is its plan to acquire more and more customers in the long term and in a sustainable fashion.

Three kinds of growth strategies are described in the book:

  • paid growth in which you rely on the fact that the customers are going to be charged for the product or service, the cash earned from early users is reinvested in acquiring new users via advertising for example
  • viral growth in which you rely on the fact that customers are going to bring customers as a side effect of using the product/service
  • sticky growth in which you rely on the fact that the customers are going to use the service in some regular fashion, paying for the service each time (via subscription for example).

These growth strategies are sustainable in the sense that they do not require continuous large capital investments or publicity stunts.

It is important to know as soon as possible which strategy or combination of strategies is the most effective at driving growth.

Applying The Scientific Method

The scientific method is a set of techniques that helps us figure out correct stuff. After making some observations regarding a phenomenon, you formulate a hypothesis about that phenomenon.

The hypothesis is an assumption that needs to be proven correct or incorrect. You then design experimentations that are going to challenge the assumption.

The results of the experimentations makes the correctness or incorrectness of the hypothesisclear allowing us to make judgments about its validity.

In the lean startup methodology, your job as an entrepreneur is to formulate two hypothesis:

  • hypothesis of value (assumptions about your value proposition)
  • hypothesis of growth (assumptions about the effectiveness of the growth strategy)

These hypothesis are then validated/invalidated through experimentation. Following the precepts of lean manufacturing, the lean startup methodology prescribes to make experimentations while minimizing/eliminating waste.

In other words, you have to burn minimum cash, effort and time when running experiments.

An experimentation in the lean startup sense is usually an actual product/service and helps startups in early stage learn invaluable things about their eventual future market.

Sometimes startups learn that nobody wants their product/service, imagine spending 8 months worth of engineering, design and promotion work (not to mention cash) in a product/service only to discover that it does not provide value to anyone.

Minimum Viable Products And Feedback

As we pointed out earlier, an experimentation can be an actual product or service and is called the minimum viable product(MVP).

The MVP is built to contain just enough features to validate the value and growth hypotheses, effectively requiring minimum time, effort and cash.

By getting the MVP launched and in front of real users, entrepreneurs can get concrete feedback from them either directly by asking them (in focus groups for example) or via usage analytics.

Analytics scales better then directly talking to customers but the latter is nonetheless used to cross validate results from the former.

It is crucial to focus on metrics that creates fine grained visibility about the performance of the business when building(or using) a usage analytics system. These metrics are called actionable metrics because they can link causes and effects clearly allowing entrepreneurs to understand the consequences of ideally each action executed. Cohort analysis is an example of a analytics strategy that focuses on actionable metrics.

The bad kind of metrics are called vanity metrics, these tend to hide how the business is performing, gross numbers like total users count are an example of vanity metrics.

The author cites several examples of different startups that managed to validate or debunk their early assumption by building stripped down and non scalable MVPs and even sometimes by not building software at all.

You would be surprised to hear for example how the Dropbox folks in their early stage managed to created a ~4 minute video demonstrating their product while it was still in development. The video allowed them to get more people signed up in their beta waiting list and raise capital more easily.

Closing Thoughts

In the first two parts of the book, the author talks also about how employees inside big companies working on highly innovative products and services can benefit greatly from the lean startup approach, although very interesting this is not very useful for me right now.

The third part, talks about the challenges that arises when the startup gets big and starts to stabilize and how to address them. Basically it revolves around not loosing the innovative spirit of the early days, again, this is not very useful for me so maybe for good future reading.


About the Author

This article was produced by Tech Dominator. see more.

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