Thursday, April 17, 2014

How I met Yourstory's founder Shradha Sharma?

Sometime in July 2009 I got an invite for being a part of Proto in Pune - an event where startups could launch and showcase their prototypes. It was to be hosted in Persistent office and I was told "someone from CNBC" will be there for moderating the panel discussion. I was naturally scared, having never dealt with media people, but it turned out to be lots of fun. Thats where I met Shradha Sharma, founder of Yourstory for the first time.

We instantly connected and her passion as well as determination for supporting small entrepreneurs was visible. Though she herself was a beginner, she was using all her media experience and connection to bring spotlight to the early stage startups. But like many other startups who do good work, she was not making money in her venture! That obviously did not deter her from covering more startups.
Next time we met in Mumbai, and I remember she had a small notepad and was making a list of all that I had to tell her. Conduct offline events, focus on sector wise stories, build city-wide versions of yourstory, invite big shots to author articles for yourstory - these were a few things I suggested - some I could see get implemented and some others which were not over the next few years.
Cut to Jan 2010 when I started Nurture Talent. I had few strange experiences - many people who were too enthu to meet me and would call me to seek investments from angel investors suddenly stopped picking my calls! But Shradha was not one of them. She gave me free ad space on her website, mailers and helped me in doing focused PR. I authored some articles and she published them instantly, which helped me reach out to the right audience. Unlike many other media people I know, she had no attitude, and I think that quality makes her adorable to lot of startups including me. Some of her qualities are imbibed by the YS team, and I had lots of fun interactions with Akash, who was handling YS website from Jabalpur those days.
There was a brief time as we lost touch when she suffered a personal tragey, shifted to Bangalore.

What I learned from Shradha?
A key lesson I learnt from Shradha Sharma is not to worry about your means or your background, or your constraints. It does not matter if you are not from IIT, or from a small town in Bihar, or do not have a venture capital backing, or experienced team - just do what you wish to do and one day you will definitely achieve your dreams!

Meanwhile, it makes me proud to see the expansion into variety of things - Techsparks, SocialStory, Edusparks, Mobisparks and many more. I guess that the number of stories covered in last 5 years has crossed 10000! There is hardly a doubt what the Techcrunch of India is :-) And I hope Yourstory is making lots of money to sustain their team, growth and achieve their vision.

If you wish to connect with Shradha or Yourstory team, I will be glad to make an email introduction.

I have met over 30000 people personally, and everyday I will tell a story about someone who has been a part of my life.

If you have a suggestion or feedback, feel free to connect with me on my social networks or mail me.

Till then, just be awesome!