From ed-tech to gaming, Indian women entrepreneurs are adding real value to their businesses
Doubtnut has over 10 million downloads on Google Play Store, catering to students, especially in the smaller town, who want to find answers to maths and science problems. But the journey has been anything but easy, especially for a woman entrepreneur and developer.
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Tanushree Nagori, who started the app in 2016 with her husband Aditya Shankar, said she often felt scared during the early days of fundraising. She was also unsure how she would be perceived as a co-founder. But the couple realised they need to use technology to help students solve their doubts and do it at scale. “Today we are the app with the highest DAU (Daily Active Users) because of solving this biggest use case. Students can click the picture of the question and get the video solution automatically. This helps us answer over 100 million questions a month,” Nagori stated. The larger goal is now to scale up their presence by offering content in more regional languages, she added.
Nagori is not alone in finding success with such apps that solve specific problems and is among the many women entrepreneurs who Sapna Chadha, vice-president, Marketing, Google India & Southeast Asia, says are “today seizing opportunities to build, create, and innovate on digital – as entrepreneurs, creators, and developers.”
Ayushi Sinha’s is another success story. Her Alippo Learning, a live upskilling platform for Indian women, has crossed over one lakh downloads. The bigger success is the fact that she claims over 60,000 paid users in this. “We are providing a live upskilling platform for Indian women to learn, grow and set up their home businesses,” she said, adding how her app is helping women upskill on everything from cooking to stitching and makeup with courses and live practical classes.
Renuka Jallapuram, meanwhile, banked on her skills as a software developer to get started on her entrepreneurial journey. Her Slink.io might just be a new version of the once-popular Snake game, but has seen over 50 million downloads and is popular with users from across the world. “While the US and Japan are our most profitable audience bases, in terms of downloads we are seeing maximum traction from Germany, France, Japan, China, Russia, and Brazil,” the CEO of Flying Caps Technologies told indianexpress.com.
Jallapuram started her company in 2019, just before the pandemic, and as Covid-19 impacted their growth she had to freeze hiring for a while. Things are looking up now and the company is planning to expand. “We are constantly upgrading our games based on the pulse of the audience and will look at launching new games across categories,” she said, underlining how Google Play also helped her gain a better understanding of their games with deeper insight into audiences.
Jallapuram is convinced the industry needs more women gaming developers. And Christelle D’cruz, co-founder and General Manager at Pune-based SuperGaming, agrees. “Globally, 45 per cent of all gamers are women but only 18 per cent of them make games. That’s something we want to see change,” said D’cruz who has been in the business since 2009.
“Our games like Silly Royale which has over 17 million players, trend closer to that figure in terms of the player base — in fact, a large, vocal part of the community, as well as its content creators, are women too,” added D’cruz. Her company has been behind successful titles such as TapToLearn, Maths vs Zombies and MaskGun, a made-in-India battle royale game that has crossed 60 million downloads. They also have Silly Royale, a game similar to the popular Among Us, with more than 10 million downloads.
Having seen India’s gaming industry evolve over the years, D’cruz has seen how women were seen more for roles like marketing rather than core game development. “That’s rapidly changing,” she said, though she wanted the portrayals of women as helpless or even accessories to change. “Having more women in the industry adds value — not just to games but to the overall thought process and perspective of everyone involved that’s just as crucial.”
For Nagori, each step in the journey as an entrepreneur has been a learning experience. Her advice to women entrepreneurs: “While it is good to be humble, it is also important to have those moments where you are truly proud of your accomplishments.”