Anisha Singh started mydala in 2009, one of India’s largest coupon provider website. She is a master’s in political communication and an MBA in information systems from The American University. She also has worked with the Clinton administration, helping women entrepreneurs raise funding. This is what inspired her to return to India in 2009 and start up her own venture.
A true-blue red-blooded woman from Delhi. She had put her way through numerous academic careers in Delhi and then later in Washington D.C. While she was studying art, political communication, management and information systems marketing, she also was working for the Clinton administration in D.C. After graduating from the College of Arts in Delhi, she went back to the US in 1998 to complete her Masters in Political Communication and later did like everyone, an MBA from American University in Washington.
It was during this time that she met a woman who changed her views about startups, Julie Holdren the founder of the Olympus Group. And she was in awe of her. Julie was an influence who ran a startup of 400 people, could do 30 push-ups, had two twins and still had so much energy left in her. Anisha wanted to be just like her when she grew up.
Anisha was suddenly exposed to the possibilities of technology and while having worked with so many entrepreneurs she felt ready to start something of her own. She moved back to Delhi in 2005 and started her first company—Kinis Software Solutions, which managed digital content marketing for various companies in the US. For the next few years, Singh would spend every alternate month in the US.
For her, it was fabulous as she loved working hard. She knew something she built was going to grow and become sustainable with every day passing. That’s when she got the confidence to start her first own company Kinis. mydala, as a coupon website, was launched in 2009 but unlike her first company, Anisha Singh ran into more challenges than she expected.
She was pregnant while looking for investors. Even though what the investors cared for was about the returns they frowned upon that it was a pregnant lady and took it lightly. After she pitched to almost every venture capital and investment firm in the country, the team finally decided to give up.
She was glad that she had already run a business because to her it was making profits and having a model in hand. Funding had become secondary then. So when they weren’t able to find funds they dropped the idea of e-commerce. Just two days after mydala stopped pitching to investors, Anisha met Sanjeev Bikhchandani and Hitesh Oberoi from Info Edge at a TiE event.
They had already tried to pitch them before but they hadn’t approved an investment. And then at the chance encounter, they called the team to come back once again for a second pitch. they went with proper preparation and within 15 days, grabbed their first investment which went around $4.4 million.
Today, they are already one of the largest ‘deals’ website in the country clocking in profits for the past two years. The website presently is running in 209 cities and selling close to 225,000 vouchers per day with a hike of 28 million registered users and a gigantic network of 1.5 lakh.
Forty-five percent of the sales come from non-Tier 1 city and 87 percent of mobile users. When they saw these numbers they feel amazing because it proves that they are growing, tapping into new segments and making profits at the same time.
So what is the secret to her success?
She says that she has the best team ever, a lot of hard work and the fact that they ran a business like a business… had their sights first on profits and then on external funding. Anisha still has her original founding team intact and this shows how well they gelled together.
She thought that made all the difference, to have people who understand, support and encourage one another. The company they lead has seen each other through the good and the bad times. And all of the members of the team has worked tirelessly through the years. They all just gave the best to the company and it shows.
Her dedication and hard work towards mydala finally paid off. The day she had given birth within some hours she started working in the hospital itself. After ten days she was back in office.
Today she takes life (and work) a bit easier, she doesn’t answer calls between 6 and 9 evening and morning, makes it a deal to visit old friends in the USA with her husband once a year and practices Yoga. Forgot to mention that she had been a Yoga Instructor too
She has stopped attending a lot of speaking engagements and conferences like before. But if it is something that is related to women or women-focused she never misses it for the world.
Even today there are so few women entrepreneurs, despite the fact that companies led by women have a proven track record of becoming more successful. She feels that it is her duty to encourage other women to get into the startup space. If she doesn’t speak up and help others, then who will? She is always happy to mentor any woman who wants to start her own company. It is a responsibility for her.
She is always happy to mentor any woman who wants to start her own company. It is a responsibility for her. The best part of being a CEO is to be ‘Jack of all Trades, but Master of None’ as knowing everything but nothing appropriately.
Anisha loves to spend her time eating some sushi, some wine. While her holiday passes with some adventures like water sports. Also, she likes decorating cakes for which she is personally certified. Her weak point is her humor, she laughs even on the lamest of the jokes.