Two Tech-Savvy Indian Moms Dive into Entrepreneurship
Rivo means “stream or river” in Italian. Last year, two Indian tech-savvy moms with a background in IT found themselves navigating a new rivo.
With the desire to do something new and meaningful that brought together their talents and passions, they launched RivoKids, the first online platform for parents and kids in India in August 2011. Co-founders Parul Mittal and Ritu Uberoy are now “enriching and capturing the river of moments in child’s life.”
Parul and Ritu shared their entrepreneurial journey with us.
Why I chose this entrepreneurial endeavor:
Parul: After 12 years of corporate experience in e-commerce domain and technology, I was working as freelance IT consultant for online solutions, when I felt the desire to do something more. I was looking to do something that could give me scale and yet allow me the time flexibility I wanted. With my corporate experience in online domain, IT and keen involvement in my kids’ growth and development, an online platform for parents and kids emerged as a natural choice.
Ritu: I moved back to India from the USA in 2005, started Saviance Technologies and grew it to a 100+ team. In August 2011, after being on a break for a year, I was mulling over what to do next. Like Parul, I also wanted to do something different, something that I was truly passionate about and enjoyed. Entrepreneurship is exciting and like someone said yesterday, its truly like having and watching a baby take shape and grow. Parul and I connected and instantly we felt we could form a team and develop something exciting.
After few months of brainstorming, we zeroed in on the one thing we were both passionate about – raising bright happy kids. We realized that we both were very actively involved parents who took a lot of effort in searching for the right books, board games and activities for our kids.
As parents, we had also experienced a strong need for an online memory or scrapbook to capture the memories of our parenting journey. Since there was no such platform available, RivoKids was conceptualized with the tagline – Smart Ideas & Fun Moments – to help parents raise bright, happy, talented Kids.
RivoKids’ greatest obstacle and how we dealt with it:
Ritu & Parul: The major challenge that we face in our line of business is the limited reach with a small marketing budget. Facebook has been very helpful in this regard. We are working on building a targeted, engaged member community on our Facebook page. We have fantastic contests and amazing prizes (the Grand Prize in our latest Painting Contest was Rs 11,000!) Yet it is not easy to get the word out to parents and kids to know about these contests and to encourage them to participate.
When it comes to developing a targeted marketing campaign/contest that will appeal to Parents and KidsWe also realize that our key skills are innovation, quick turnaround time and great social media engagement. We are using these skills in building partnerships with reputed publishers like Macmillan Education.
Our greatest fear:
Ritu & Parul: Burnout before we can reach our true potential.
How I blend life and work:
Parul: I do most of my work from 8:30 am to 3:30 pmwhile my kids are at school. I am very dedicated and motivated to be able to work from the comfort of my home. I set internal deadlines for myself and try my best to deliver on them. Evenings are mostly spent with family doing kids homework, after school classes, and playing board games with intermittent work related mails and phone calls. I typically like to keep my weekends completely work-free with occasional exceptions now and then due to a deadline.
Ritu: We are lucky that most of the work can be done from home. Like Parul said, we concentrate all our development and design work during the times when kids are in school. We also schedule our client meetings at this time. Once the kids are done with homework, play and classes, we get some more time post dinner to catch up on emails and work.
I am inspired by:
Parul: Any successful career woman, corporate or entrepreneur, especially is she is able to balance work and home.
Ritu: I am inspired by people who have built successful enterprises around their true passions. As Confucius once said, “Choose a job you love and you will never have to work a day in your life.”
Professionally, I aspire to:
Parul: I want to make some difference and be known as a successful business woman. I want to make sure that my engineering education and IIT degree get its due and I want to be able to hone and use my IT skills in my profession.
Ritu: Create a vibrant, engaged community and showcase kid’s talents from all over India. There is so much talent out there, we are so glad we have given kids a chance to showcase it.
My advice for other young women and entrepreneurs in India:
Ritu & Parul: We strongly believe that women are as capable, if not more, than men whether it comes to doing a corporate job or running your own business. The key is not to give up your dreams. Very often, the circumstances and the environment around us, expects women to sacrifice their dreams to look after the young and the old in the family. Take breaks when needed. Leave your job for a few months if required. But, get back on the wagon soon enough. You deserve it, you need it, and it’s better for the family in long run.