An IIT graduate, Sonam Srivastava was always fascinated with mathematics and technology. She, however, went a step further during her master's and decided to pivot her career by diving deep into the analytics of finance. Srivastava now holds a decade-long experience as a strategist and has worked with several organisations handling large-scale portfolios and trading algorithms across India and the United States.
She started her own investment advisory Wright Research to find data-driven solutions through machine and quantitative learning and has earned a reputation of being one of the renowned investment strategical researchers globally. Apart from raising 1 million dollars in Seed Funding from a renowned venture, Srivastava's organisation has also raised an undisclosed amount of pre-seed funds from BSE Institute Limited Ryerson Technology startup Incubation Foundation (BRTSIF), Govt. of India, Nidhi SSS.
In an interview with SheThePeople, Sonam Srivastava discusses her career in STEM and finance, her organisation's work, how prioritising investment strategies for women is important, and why it's integral to close the gender gap in investments.
Sonam Srivastava Interview
What made you choose a career in STEM and finance?
I have always had a deep interest in maths, technology and engineering, and I also had a fascination with the financial markets. As a result, I pivoted my career to work in the field of algorithmic trading and quant finance. My engineering degree helped me build a background in data science and I actively used open-source resources to build my skill set and pursued a master's degree in financial engineering to combine my interests and gain a deeper understanding of quantitative finance. During my career, I have had the opportunity to work on algorithmic trading, systematic strategies, and long-short strategies, among other things, which has allowed me to apply my STEM knowledge to finance. My passion for the intersection of STEM and finance led me to found Wright Research, where I can use data-driven methods to create portfolios that help clients grow their wealth.
From when you started to now, what factors have had the biggest impact on your growth as a leader?
Since founding Wright Research, I have had the opportunity to grow as a leader and learn from my experiences. One of the most significant factors that have impacted my growth is building a strong team of talented individuals who share my vision and passion for finance. Working with a team has allowed me to delegate tasks and responsibilities, which has freed up time for me to focus on strategic planning and long-term growth. Additionally, taking calculated risks and making difficult decisions has allowed me to learn from my mistakes and grow as a leader. Finally, seeking out mentorship and continuing to learn and develop my skills have also been crucial in my growth as a leader.
Do you think today also there is a bigger gender problem in the fintech sector or there is a need for a boost in the involvement of females in the fintech sector as historically this is a male dominating field?
Yes, there is still a significant gender problem in the fintech sector, as historically, it has been a male-dominated field. While progress has been made in recent years to increase diversity and inclusion in the industry, there is still a long way to go. Boosting the involvement of females in fintech is crucial, as diverse perspectives can lead to more innovation and better decision-making.
Female representation in leadership roles is particularly important as it can inspire future generations of women to pursue careers in fintech. Companies must actively work towards creating a more inclusive workplace culture and provide opportunities for women to succeed in fintech.
How do you plan to digitally revolutionise the Indian market with your company’s growth plans at Wright Research?
At Wright Research, we are committed to revolutionizing the Indian market by using data-driven methods to create innovative investment solutions. As we continue to grow, our focus is on expanding our digital presence and making our services more accessible to a wider audience. We plan to leverage technology to provide clients with a seamless user experience and personalized investment recommendations. Additionally, we aim to democratize access to investment opportunities by offering low-cost solutions that cater to the needs of millennials and Gen Z investors.
By combining our passion for finance with cutting-edge technology, we believe that we can create a more inclusive and efficient investment ecosystem in India.
Have you come across a gender gap when it comes to women and investments? How do you think we can encourage more women to take charge of their finances and make platforms available for them to do so?
Yes, there is a gender gap when it comes to women and ">investments. Studies have shown that women are less likely to invest in the stock market and tend to be more risk-averse. To encourage more women to take charge of their finances, we need to provide them with access to education and resources that demystify the investment process. This includes offering financial literacy programs and creating platforms that cater to the specific needs of women investors. By breaking down barriers and providing support, we can empower women to take control of their finances and build wealth for the future.
Promoting female representation in the finance industry can inspire more women to pursue careers in finance and feel confident in managing their investments.
Aimed market volatilities nowadays, what investment strategy will be recommended for women?
In today's volatile market, a well-diversified investment strategy is recommended for women investors. This involves investing in a mix of asset classes, such as stocks, bonds, and alternative investments, to spread out risk and minimize exposure to market fluctuations. Additionally, it's important to consider one's investment goals, time horizon, and risk tolerance when creating an investment strategy. For women who may be more risk-averse, conservative investment options like fixed-income securities and index funds may be more suitable. However, it's essential to work with a trusted advisor who can provide personalized recommendations based on individual needs and market conditions. By taking a balanced approach and being proactive in managing investments, women can weather market volatility and achieve their long-term financial goals.
What more do you suggest countries and education systems can adopt when it comes to inspiring women in STEM?
To inspire more women in STEM, countries and education systems should focus on creating more inclusive learning environments that encourage girls to pursue their interests in science and math from a young age. This can include providing access to mentorship programs, role models, and hands-on learning opportunities that showcase the practical applications of STEM fields. Additionally, promoting diversity and representation in STEM fields can help break down stereotypes and inspire more girls to pursue careers in these fields. Providing financial support and scholarships for women pursuing STEM degrees can also help alleviate barriers to entry. By investing in women's education and supporting their career aspirations, we can create a more equitable and diverse STEM workforce that benefits everyone.
As a leader in business, how do you suggest the Indian market can empower more women in leadership positions?
To empower more women in leadership positions in the Indian market, there needs to be a concerted effort to break down gender barriers and promote diversity and inclusion. This can start with creating more opportunities for women to gain experience and visibility in their fields, such as through mentorship programs and leadership training. Companies can also implement policies that support work-life balance and provide equal pay and advancement opportunities for women. Additionally, promoting female representation on boards and in senior leadership positions can set a positive example and create a culture of inclusion. By investing in women's leadership potential and creating more equitable workplaces, we can create a stronger, more diverse and inclusive business community in India.
What is that one piece of advice you would want to give women with respect to financial independence and investments?
My advice to women with respect to financial independence and investments would be to prioritize financial education and take charge of their own financial future. This can involve learning about budgeting, saving, investing, and retirement planning, and seeking out resources and advice from experts in these areas. Women should also not be afraid to take risks and invest in themselves, whether through pursuing education or starting their own businesses. By being proactive and informed about their financial situation, women can achieve greater financial independence and build wealth over time.
Remember, financial independence is not just about money, it is about gaining the freedom to make choices that support your goals and dreams.
What advice would you give women on their path to entrepreneurship in the field as yours?
To women on their path to entrepreneurship in the field of finance and technology, my advice would be to have confidence in your abilities and not be afraid to take risks. Starting a business requires hard work, dedication, and resilience, but it can also be incredibly rewarding. Women entrepreneurs should seek out mentorship and networking opportunities, and not be afraid to ask for help or guidance when needed. It is also important to stay up-to-date with the latest trends and technologies in your industry and to be willing to adapt and innovate as needed. Finally, surround yourself with a strong team of supporters who share your vision and values, and who can help you achieve your goals.
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