Success Stories:
Her Story Her Way

Brief introduction about yourself and tell us something about your startup SeekSherpa?
I was raised in an Army family, lived a nomadic life for most part and absolutely loved it. Changing schools, adapting & excelling in new environments are something that kept the fire burning! I then got into SRCC (luckily before the 100% cut-off), after which I landed myself a job at AT Kearney, a top global Management Consulting firm. During my two and a half year stint there, I was exposed to multiple industries and verticals which gave me a world view of how companies work at scale. I primarily worked across Communications, Media & High Tech projects in the APAC Region. Apart from that, I'm a travel enthusiast and a culture vulture, a keen photographer, a trained classical dancer, an advanced scuba diver and a self-proclaimed design thinker! SeekSherpa was borne out of a personal pain point that I experienced during my travels in college – how can one experience a destination beyond what meets the eye, how can one truly immerse themselves in an enriching & engaging experience? Each time I took a weekend trip with friends, the need only got deeper. We would occasionally have the off chance of interacting with a like-minded local who’d give us interesting insights into his/her city and suddenly bring the city to life, but these instances were too few and far between. If only there was a way to productize this local knowledge & interactions, the in-destination experience would go from a 3 to a 5! With that thought in mind, my co-founder (and batch mate) Dhruv and I started SeekSherpa, a mobile platform that connects travelers and locals over unique experiences. Our team works with interested locals (Sherpas) in a city in co-curating unique experiences at the right price and time for curious travelers looking for local immersion in the city they are travelling to. Food Walks, Heritage Walks, and Photography walks are some of our popular offerings out of a vast range that includes farm visits, to wine tastings, to archaeology walks and cemetery visits. SeekSherpa covers a broad range of unique activities on its tours. We’ve been groomed by business leaders at Nasscom 10k Startups, Venture Nursery, Google Launchpad, Bangalore and Google for Entrepreneurs Exchange, Dubai over the past 18 months.  

An alumni of SRCC (Delhi University), joined A. T. Kearney and decided to start SeekSherpa with co-founder at 23. Was entrepreneurship always on the mind or a decision that happened with time?
Two years into a typical corporate job, I was at a stage in my career where I was seeking greater challenges, and deeper learning opportunities. Little did I know that it would come in the form of entrepreneurship!  

Please share how you plan to expand SeekSherpa.
We want SeekSherpa to be the place where people come to when they want to ‘discover a city’ – be it a foreign traveler visiting India, a domestic traveler exploring India or even an in-city resident looking to indulge in different experiences in his/her city beyond the regular movie, mall and dinner. In 2016, we will be strengthening our presence in the metros, tourist heavy cities and might even look to go international very soon!  

What all challenges did you face while creating the online platform for travelers?
We’ve had multiple challenges along the way, and still continue to do so. Starting from onboarding Sherpas (knowledgeable and eclectic locals who conduct the tours), to ensuring that quality experiences are being delivered consistently across different cities and categories and most importantly getting customers to purchase these tours. The current challenge that we’re successfully attacking is achieving 7-10% growth week-on-week!  

What's your opinion about whether women can have it all?
Hell, yeah! Women know what they want and how to get it. Multi-tasking is second nature. If that’s not all you need to have it all, then what is?  

What piece of advice would you like to give to the aspiring youth who wish to pursue their dream of becoming an entrepreneur?
Don’t just dream, do!  

According to you, what are the top three essential skills needed to be a successful entrepreneur?
More than skills, I’d say 3 essential characteristics needed to be an entrepreneur are -

  • Ability to be in love with, and stay in love with your business for the next few decades
  • Fearlessness - not being afraid of failure
  • Curiosity – always keeping an eye on the ball and being curious about innovative ways to solve problems

What are your views and opinions towards the ambiguous need to promote women entrepreneurship and women empowerment in India?
I think it’s great that we’ve started having multiple sessions & dialogues on women entrepreneurship in India, but now we need to transform these dialogues into an environment that allows women to thrive in business. Also, while there’s a strong push towards women entrepreneurship, I see a wide gap on the other side of the table, in the number of women investors, angels and VCs. I am hopeful that these dynamics will change with time and with the efforts of organizations such as IWIL.