Startups Require Patience, Perseverance, Rejection & Disappointment – Ankita Sancheti, SeenIt
As a woman, haven’t you ever had hundreds of pictures on your phone of outfits that you really like, but can never really find them in a store for purchase? Here to solve that very problem is SeenIt, a startup that is a Q & A platform for fashion. Ankita Sancheti is a Wharton School graduate with a strong liking towards fashion and retail companies. Having worked with several in the US and India, she always had a goal of starting her own company in this sector eventually. And in came SeenIt! Today, we chat with her about the company and its birth, starting up challenges and of course, some advice for budding entrepreneurs!
A startup requires years of patience, perseverance, rejection and disappointment but having a clear vision and reason for starting up, makes all of this seemingly insignificant and you will love what you do every day!” – Ankita
How did SeenIt come into being?
When my co-founders Vedanta and Saksham realised that every girl today sits with a ton of screenshots from Pinterest or Instagram of things that want to buy, unfortunately, there is nothing they can do apart from talking to a few friends in their personal groups! That’s how the idea of creating a fashion Q&A platform came to mind. A community that helped each other solve their fashion dilemmas!
A Q& A platform for fashion – what is the USP of SeenIt?
We have seen over a half a million users who are posting images from major Bollywood and Hollywood movies on the service. We have an insane number of celebrity looks recreated at a fraction of the cost of the original! I can go out on a limb and say we have the world’s largest collection of shoppable celebrity looks today!
One of the most important qualities that a founder need is a clear vision of the solution they are providing as well as why they are doing the startup.
Did you face any challenges while starting up?
I think apart from the usual – capital, hiring and retaining talent, achieving product market fit – is the challenge of knowing when to stand your ground and say no to what may seem as exciting opportunities but could be distractions vs. knowing when to pivot or adapt quickly enough to a different strategy when the time calls for it.
What is your business mantra?
Working hard and delivering value but still finding a good work-life balance.
Other than, of course, being a hard worker, what qualities must today’s startup founder possess for success?
I don’t think there is any formula for success, as it depends on many external factors. But I do think to make the startup journey more fulfilling and one paved with learning, one of the most important qualities that a founder need is a clear vision of the solution they are providing as well as why they are doing the startup. This combined with the drive and hustle are qualities that I believe a founder must possess.
Is the tech industry glass ceiling broken for women?
Looking around, there are so many amazing startups that are doing extremely well in India today with great women founders. You also have role models such as Sheryl Sandberg and Marissa Mayer paving the way with larger tech companies. Lastly, you have some great initiatives such as Women in Technology that are helping advance women in technology. With all this, I would like to say that while I don’t believe that the glass ceiling is broken yet, I think it has definitely cracked and weakened!
What according to you is the definition of leadership?
I believe a leader is one who has the clarity of knowing what is the right thing to do, the confidence to admit when they were wrong and know how to give her (or his) team the right tools to succeed.
Is passion enough to start a business?
I think passion is important but not enough to start a business. As many have said, execution is the most important thing.
There is a big difference between saying “It would be cool to build an app that did X” and but then the real deal is when you successfully research, design, prototype, launch and then market the same app!
And finally, give us some tips for our budding entrepreneurs!
Have a clear reason for starting up and a good vision for your company. A startup requires years of patience, perseverance, rejection and disappointment but having a clear vision and reason for starting up, makes all of this seemingly insignificant and you will love what you do every day!”