A talent network to help product and engineering teams headhunt the right fit, that is what StackRaft is about. Tech companies use the platform to hire entrepreneurial talent. The aim, the company says, is to help employers get introductions to tech talent as per skills, and personality compatibility. We speak with the venture’s founder Vartika Manasvi, who is nominated for SheThePeople.TV Digital Women Awards 2019, on how she came upon her big idea, her biggest struggles and why women entrepreneurs shouldn’t be looked at from a gendered lens.

How did your big idea strike you?

I took a one-way flight to Toronto, Canada last year to validate my product – BFF; I met a lot of new immigrants who were job hunting and I felt their problem was bigger than mine, they asked me to help with resume writing so they can get interview calls. That is when the idea of StackRaft happened to show human potential and remove bias in hiring when screening resumes.

Tech and digital has influenced my life completely and is a key enabler that I believe in, and am using it in its full potential to solve problems.

How has tech and digital been an enabler in your entrepreneurship journey?

Since the age of 15, I have worked with many startups, built many of my own products, I have literally grown with the internet and digital age. Tech and digital has influenced my life completely and is a key enabler that I believe in, and am using it in its full potential to solve problems.

At any point in your journey were you stuck with self doubt? How did you deal with it?

Entrepreneurship is very hard, the path of self-discovery is very hard. It sounds very fancy, but it is extremely hard! In the process of becoming and unbecoming, self doubt happens, and there’s nothing wrong with it. It is important to have enough grit and persistence to learn from our own failures and keep striving hard. Self belief and inner motivation to do something helps overcome self-doubt.

What have been your greatest challenges and struggles in your entrepreneurship journey?

(1) Patriarchy has been a bit of struggle where everyone looks down on you and make you feel helpless, it takes a lot of courage to keep going on. (2) Funding has been a struggle, despite knowing so many investors and having a first hand track record of performance, I couldn’t raise funds for my novel approach.

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As a woman entrepreneur would you say you have faced discrimination in your journey? Could you share with us.

No! I never let myself believe that I was discriminated against. I think of being like an entrepreneur and don’t want to get into the nuances of it.

Letting go what is not yours is my greatest learning – Startups usually are a labour of love for entrepreneurs, and they become emotionally attached to them,

What do you think women entrepreneurs need more of, from venture capitalists, government policymakers, start-up support programmes and others? And Why?

I think women entrepreneurs shouldn’t be looked at from the gendered lens. Equality in mindset is needed. It is not about doing women conferences, doing X for women only etc! We are missing the point of equality.

What would you say have been your greatest learnings on the entrepreneurship journey?

Letting go what is not yours is my greatest learning – Startups usually are a labour of love for entrepreneurs, and they become emotionally attached to them, referring to the business as “my baby” and using similar parenting language without even noticing. Their attachment is evident in the relatively low salaries they pay themselves or working nights off. My greatest learning has been that very realization and it helped me keep moving forward towards my goals. Basically not getting carried away by lack of funding and the mistakes that happen due to that etc.

What advice would you share with other women looking to become entrepreneurs?

Strategic plans are great, but startups struggle with the real work. It’s not the ideas that make the startup, but the ability to execute those ideas is the real game. Focus on execution, do not get carried away by the women’s missions!

Rapid Fire

Your legacy in one phrase.

You will get all you want in life, if you help enough other people get what they want.

An entrepreneur you admire.

Steve Jobs.

Your greatest strength.

Courage to say no and yes!

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