With International Women’s Day taking place this Thursday, March 8, we began our interview by talking to Karishma Singhal, entrepreneur, software developer and founder of Datagrid Solutions Pvt. Ltd. She highlighted the significance of gender equality and gender balance in today’s western society. She also voiced out her opinions on the importance of women entrepreneurship in this male-dominant tech industry
Can you talk about your business in a gist and the story behind how you came up with the concept and when you decided to pursue it?
Datagrid is a leading digital marketing Agency in Mumbai. We provide customized marketing solutions based on client’s budget and business. The team’s strong technical background augments and marketing fundamentals help them to deliver end-to-end solutions to the clients with optimum transparency. We also provide business solutions for clients which makes their daily work easier and help them to grow their business and let them focus on other key areas. I was always inspired by the idea of standing on my own feet. I believed that my IT skills are always going to be an added advantage in my career.
What you did prior to your startup? Can you give us a bit of a background?
I was a software developer (Part of me still is☺). I worked on a movie website for 4 years. I managed data aggregation for the website. I have written software which would aggregate information of the movie from the web and make it available on a single page. After this stint, I worked in the political domain which involved managing & optimizing data for political campaigns and past elections.
When was the time when you decided you wanted to take on IT industry, and why?
It was never a conscious decision from my end to start working in IT industry. It just happened and I am thankful that it did. However, when I got my first job as a developer and began understanding the impact software has on our daily lives I knew I was here to stay. I always believe that if you do something twice in your daily work it can be automated. So, the idea of creating something new every day to simplify daily monotonous work was very inviting. It was a problem that I was consistently working on. The work satisfaction it gave me was immense.
What do you think of current opportunities and the landscape for women in IT industry? Particularly in India?
With more and more women acquiring admissions in IIT & other coveted technical institutes. It is quite certain that there is a lot of scope for women in IT industry and I strongly believe that the women to men ratio will change soon.
Tell us about your struggle from start-till now?
“Struggle” is a very strong word, what we have faced are teething problems like any other startup and we managed to overcome that with due course of time. The learning curve has been immense for me and it has helped me grow as a person. Coming from an engineering background, I eventually started learning and managing all other verticals like Accounts, HR & Admin which are involved in running a business.
What you enjoy most about your work?
Daily challenges and problems in my workplace keep me on my toes and my adrenaline rushing. I believe in learning something new every day and grow as an individual which eventually leads to corporate growth as well. I am always satisfied knowing the fact that there is something new to look forward to every day.
Tell us about your experience of working as a female entrepreneur in a predominantly male-dominated industry?
I was once asked the same question by one of our Dutch client and my answer was quite simple “That there Is a lot left for me to offer”. Having said that there are few people who are still surprised to see a woman in the boardroom and do a double take when I am introduced as the Director of a reputable digital agency. But actions do speak louder than words so let my work speak is all I have to say to the naysayers.
How do you manage work-life balance?
Balancing your professional and personal life is like running a marathon on its own. However, the objective of working hard is to live a better life and enjoy every part of it while you are in this process. Keeping that in mind I take a note that I spend my holidays doing things that I love to do in my leisure time and this includes shopping, meeting friends, watching tv shows & movies, reading, swimming and so on.
How did the community (family and colleagues) help you in achieving your goals?
I have a long list and my goals are yet to be achieved☺. My family & colleagues have played a big role in helping me take this first step towards achieving my goals. My colleagues helped me in putting my ideas into reality, my family provides a cocoon for me to fall into at the end of the day no matter how the day was, that gives me confidence. My mom had told me when I started along this path that “In your office, people might be entitled to listen to you but once you are at home you are entitled to listen to me. Leave your boss jacket outside the door when you enter home”, that keeps me grounded.
Your advice to other career-oriented women?
Life offers a variety of colors and as women, we are lucky to have a chance to experience all of them. Career is a very important dimension of our lives as it helps us keep up our individuality. But we should make sure we enjoy all other things life has to offer. The ultimate purpose in our life should be to be happy always and one must enjoy what they do in order to be happy all the time. As Audrey Hepburn rightly said, “Happy Girls are the Prettiest”.
Your favorite quote?
“She needed a hero so that’s what she became”