Mentoring women-led startups, helping them scale up, optimise

Mentoring women-led startups, helping them scale up, optimise

Mentoring women-led startups, helping them scale up, optimise
Talking Street, a foodie friend that helps travellers discover authentic hyper-local eateries rooted in the history and culture of a city. PregBuddy, an app that builds an empathetic team around pregnant and recent mothers, helping them with personal care, comfort and peer knowledge on all things maternal.

Wonder how the two are linked? Both are innovations, conceived, planned and executed by tech-savvy women entrepreneurs eager to scale up their startups. They were fitting candidates for Google's Launchpad initiative, offering them mentorship in design, marketing, leadership and more at a workshop here on Wednesday.

Based in Bengaluru, Talking Street was launched in July 2014 by Maheima Kapur with support from her husband Abhishek Mukherjee. Today, it has expanded to over 15 cities including Amritsar,  Indore, Bhopal, Kolkata and towns in Goa. The thrust, as Maheima explained, is on highly curated content created with the help of foodies in each city.

Last year, this startup organised two food festivals linked to autumn and monsoon, aggregating unique eateries, food stalls and street food vendors from across the city. “One of them has been selling these unique bajjis in Gandhi Bazaar for 25 years. Another in V V Puram specialises in the Kannadiga sweet delicacy, Obbattu. We get into the history, the culture behind the local food.”

Keen to scale up, Kapur would like to experiment with self-guided food walks for different cities, available for download on their website and app. Talking Street currently has an organically nurtured community of three lakh followers on Facebook and 6,000 followers on Instagram.

For IIT graduate Sivareena and team, PregBuddy was about organising content and peer support for expecting mothers. “It is a mobile app that offers dedicated 24/7 support, especially during the period between visits to the gynaecologist. Support could range from food intake to hormonal changes and other issues. This market is niche and fertile,” Sivareena elaborated.

Scaling up challenges was what brought PregBuddy to Google. It wanted mentorship on getting more visibility for apps in the Play Store, insights on measuring uninstalls and help on optimising the app and making the user experience better.

The recent workshop, Launchpad Build, was part of Google's Launchpad Accelerator programme, a mentorship-driven global startup project. As the Programme Lead, Paul Ravindranath explained, the idea was to help promising startups achieve rapid progress in a short time through focused 1:1 mentorship from Google and industry experts. Fifteen women-led startups were mentored on product strategy, user experience and interface, Android/Firebase, Web and Cloud.

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