Every incredible story needs an exceptional storyteller, an entrepreneur who discerned the need to tell the untold stories of other entrepreneurs like her to this world, a girl from the city of Patna, who was raised in a broken and dysfunctional placing, having a minimum support system, is today marshaling the stories coming across from an utterly diverse background. Shradha Sharma, Founder of YOURSTORY, India’s biggest and definitive platform(website) which brings out success stories of game-changers and entrepreneurs, news, funding analyses, and the first sight to the entrepreneurial ecosystem in India, along with profiles of legendary entrepreneurs and businesses over the world.
“People are just as extraordinary as they believe themselves to be.”
– Shradha Sharma
The idea behind YourStory
Shradha, in her early beginnings she was an Assistant Vice President at CNBC television business news channel for about two years, and also a Brand Advisor at The Times of India. Being at the top rung of CNBC and even to this day, she holds the unique distinction of being the youngest AVP in the company. Her job involved speaking with a lot of entrepreneurs and she noticed a common thread connecting all of them — they all had stories to tell but nobody was willing to take their stories to the world. Heartily she knew that these stories deserved to be told.
It was after one such trip that Shradha decided to check and see if there was a place, digital or print, that documented these touching stories of entrepreneurs. To her surprise, there was none. And being the entrepreneur at heart that she always was, Shradha found her unmet need, combined it with her passion and so, YourStory was born.
One step at a time
And so, years ago, she wanted to take a plunge on her idea, so she took one step at a time and quit her plush, high paying job, to start up on her own, as a storyteller. A storyteller who would share the deep dark days of entrepreneurs, to their first glimmer of hope and their journey thereon to success. It was about the entrepreneur’s story and hence, it was aptly named, YourStory.
Now YourStory.com is a household name in the entrepreneur community and has earned the goodwill and the reputation as the go-to portal for everything a startup would ever need. Through its events and engagements, it has provided great value for its attendees and those who’ve been associated with it, year after year.
Early Life — A prominent player
Shradha born on 6th July 1980, grew up in Bihar, when the state was possibly at its lowest point — socially, politically and economically. She shared that even going to school for a girl child back then in Bihar was a big deal. Though her hunger for achievement grew and she chose to perform to her best ability. Her strong push got her admission in one of India’s most prestigious colleges — St Stephen’s in Delhi. Here too, Shradha would be the kind of girl who’d keep herself busy through volunteering to do as many things as she could.
Shradha did her MBA from MICA and after a brief stint with Times of India, she joined CNBC, where she would spend a good few years, being introduced to the world of entrepreneurs. She says, “At CNBC, I was a workaholic, but only because I enjoyed what I was doing. A lot of my job involved traveling to various parts of India and speaking with entrepreneurs from all walks of life. I was surprised to know that not many people actually listen to the entrepreneur’s story of what it took them to startup and the struggles they overcame.”
The not so effortless beginnings
When it came to the challenges that Shradha faced in her early days, it looked like Shradha knew what she was signing herself up to. She says, “Everyone who starts up will face challenges, especially if you’re building something disruptive. I think the biggest challenge that I faced was how the same people treated me differently after I left CNBC. The name matters a lot. Also, a lot of the big names in the industry didn’t really acknowledge what I was trying to do. But that just motivated me even more as I knew I had a point to prove; it drove me to be successful with this effort.”
Shradha didn’t feel that her being a woman posed challenges — “In fact, it helped me,” she says, “In the world where men are the ones trying to make it big, a woman trying to do the same helped me stand out from the crowd.”
However, Shradha’s most testing times came with the passing away of her mother. At the time she really couldn’t look at the site and keep the stories rolling. It was really emotionally draining for her. There have been a lot of personal challenges along the way and as an entrepreneur, she got to live with that. She was tested and a lot of people give up during this period. As the most successful entrepreneurs are the ones who don’t give up. She also believed in what she was doing and never ever gave up on her dreams.
Insights about YourStory and Shradha Sharma:
- Shradha founded YourStory in 2008. Over these years, her website has encapsulated the stories of over 40,000 entrepreneurs.
- YourStory, provides visibility coverage in social media and news to the potential partners, investors, and provides offline marketing support and business opportunities.
- It is closely associated with government bodies and venture capitalists. Some of their global partners are Intel, Amazon, Google, IBM, VMware, Microsoft, Nokia, Dell, Cisco, Qualcomm, Vodafone, VeriSign, Intuit, Sequoia Capital, Kalaari Capital, Accel Partners, Nexus Venture Partners, Mahindra, CNBC TV18 Young Turks, UK Trade & Investment (UKTI) and British Council, among others.
- YourStory has raised a funding round of $6 million, led by Ratan Tata, Kalaari Capital, 3one4 Capital, and Qualcomm Ventures.
- Shradha was awarded the L’Oreal Paris Femina Award and was included in the list of worlds’ top 500 LinkedIn influences.
- Shradha is also inducted in the list of Fortune 40 under 40 while nabbed the Economic Times promising entrepreneurs of India Award.
Company website – YourStory
Linkedin Profile – https://www.linkedin.com/in/sharmashradha/
Twitter Handles – Shradha Sharma
YouTube Channel – YourStoryTV
Shradha’s advice for everyone
“If you’ve got an idea that you believe in, then just go ahead and do it. It is the most simple and the most powerful mantra for every entrepreneur starting today. Life will be full of challenges and how they affect your lies in how you look at them. You need to be positive, it’s all in your head.”
Shradha today leads a generation of strong-willed, Indian women entrepreneurs. Starting from scratch, YourStory is still a completely bootstrapped company, whose revenues have been doubling year on year. A great achievement indeed. However, Shradha’s enthusiasm and unnerving focus towards telling the story of the scores of entrepreneurs around the world is the most remarkable part about her journey so far. Having seen the ups and downs of running a business, Shradha remains ever optimistic of the Indian entrepreneur ecosystem. And having an MBA degree and a job in a well-reputed company, she never felt that her life was settled and never stopped dreaming. Instead, she just followed her dreams and stood as one of the best exceptional storytellers in this digital space. Her enthusiasm is infectious and strength defines YourStory— young, vigorous and unquenchable.
Thank you so much for reading this and as always I appreciate you helping me spread this inspiration to everyone.