1. Snigdha Manchanda, Founder, Tea Trunk:
The French define Sommelier as an individual who specializes in matching a certain wine on the menu with the right kind of food to go with in a restaurant. While wine – sommeliers have been around since quite a long time, Snigdha Manchanda went out of the conventional way to become one of India’s youngest Tea-Sommelier at the age of 29.
“There is no better time than now, to do what you enjoy doing the most.”
Following her passion for tea, she went on to attend a professional school of teas in Sri Lanka, where she rigorously trained under a Japanese Tea Master, tasting around 100 cups of tea everyday and profiling more than 2000 varieties of the same. After conducting several tea-tasting workshops across the country, Snigdha started Tea Trunk as a medium to provide people with good-quality tea.
She also founded Story Ninja, through which she reaches out to content creators, marketers, teachers, entrepreneurs or just about any one who enjoys a story well told. She conducts workshops focusing on understanding patterns in storytelling, story building & narrative techniques and digital storytelling.You can read her complete interview with Letsintern here.
2. Nikita Naiknavare, Lost The Plot:
Lost the Plot organizes the best open-air movie nights in the city of Pune. They bring you the very best in classic, cult, popular and foreign films. So whether it’s a night out with your mates, date night with your other half, or you’re simply seeking variety, Lost the Plot has something for everyone.
“The idea came to me when I was studying in London back in 2012,” Nikita told us in an interview last year. “Open-air cinema had just started becoming popular there. I went for a couple different screenings and thoroughly enjoyed the experience. Since we are such a movie loving country, I thought this could work in India, especially in Pune where the weather is great almost all year round. I was aware that the main challenge would be legal, so I started working on that first – sorting out permissions and copyrights.”
“Next was envisioning the kind of brand I wanted to build – quirky, but not so alternative as to alienate the masses. Chilled out but not so “cool” as to divide the crowd. The movies were to be entertaining but also thought provoking. And finally, making sure the numbers added up,” she adds.
Nikita was admitted to a boarding school in Kodaikanal, at the age 13 and for her undergrad she went to the University of St. Andrews in Scotland. Her next degree took her to London, at City University for LLB Law.
You can read her complete interview with Letsintern here.
I’ve done Internships every summer since I left school and would recommend as many as possible to all students. Try all the industries you are even remotely curious about since this is when you will eliminate what you don’t want to do. You also get to meet people and professionals of all backgrounds. Not only is this great for networking, but you also learn to interact and cooperate with people that are different from you in order to get the job done – this is a HUGE skill to possess whether you want to work for someone else in the future or for yourself.
3. Kanika Jain, Co-founder, Squadrun
SquadRun is a gamified app that pays you for completing simple fun tasks which we call ‘missions’. Missions range from activities such as matching products or hashtagging images, categorising books etc. Every time a player successfully completes a mission he/she earns ‘SquadCoins’ which can be redeemed for mobile recharges and online shopping coupons.
Kanika was studying to be a lawyer at the Faculty of Law, University of Delhi. After graduating, the obvious path for her to take was to apply to law firms or consultancies, but she never felt like that was her calling.
“Even when I was at University, I was interested in the idea of starting something of my own, and building something valuable from the ground up. I was itching to do something different and around this time, I started working at 91springboard, aStartup incubator. My time here exposed me to a lot of new ideas and allowed me the chance to work with various Startups at different stages. I got to experience what it was like to run a Startup and solve new challenges every day. I had finally found what excited me; the kind of satisfaction I got working with Startups I never did in my time at college or working at law firms,” she told Letsintern.
At 91springboard, she met her co-founder Apurv, who shared with her – the idea of monetizing excess capacity of time using crowdsourcing, and that is how Squadrun came into being.
You can read her complete interview here.
It was an exciting new idea and I felt passionately about it. We got in touch with Vikas, Apurv’s friend from VIT and he too felt that it was an incredible idea and joined us as the head of Engineering.
4. Arpita Khadria, Founder, Barefoot Consultancy:
Barefoot is a brand consultancy firm started by Arpita Khadria, a former TATA employee. It is a ‘one-stop-shop’ for all your Marketing needs, providing guidance across brand building, market research and collateral Design. The primary objective is to help businesses increase their top lines. The firm is based in Bangalore, Karnataka. Barefoot specializes in qualitative research, brand identity Design and launch campaign planning.
Talking more about her journey with Letsintern, she says, “It all started with a bad boss and the Marwari blood in my veins. I had a very nice job as a Brand Manager with one of the leading brands in the country., but the lack of freedom and decision making got to me after a point, and so did the corporate politics. I was just not cut out for it and found myself in a real bad place. So, I decided to play to my strengths and start a brand consultancy firm for new and budding companies. That is how Barefoot came about”
Apart from Barefoot, Arpita also came up with the idea of a word puzzle – a unique idea that hasn’t been done before. She filed for copyrights in 135 countries and the applicantion came through!
Signtist, that has gotten upto 25,000 installs and a rating of 4.5 on the Google playstore, requires fast decoding skills that challenges your vocabulary and spellings.
After having worked on the app for a year, I realized that there is a huge gap in the market for good flat Design games and apps. We in India do not make world class games in the numbers that we should. I wish to change that with Signtist and my new company Bezzerk Inc. which will be publishing the game. Bezzerk will focus on flat Design (which is the future) and also help clients market their products worldwide,” she clarifies.
5. Shubhra Chadda, Co-founder, Chumbak:
Chumbak was founded in 2010 as an idea for creating a range of fun souvenirs for India and Indians. What started with souvenirs stocked in multi brand outlets soon transformed itself into a business spanning stores across the country in both our large format, full experience stores and pop up stores across popular malls and high streets.
Today they are one of the leading design houses for products across Apparel, Home and Accessories. We retail over 75 categories across 30 plus stores pan India across formats. Chumbak also retails through their web store, which has evolved into a highly interactive and fast growing online business with a heavy focus on building a powerful brand through engaging content and memorable buying experiences.
When Shubhra, along with her husband Vivek Prabhakar, first talked about making Chumbak a reality, they also had to make tough decisions regarding finances – which was followed by the duo selling their Bangalore apartment in return for the required monetary investment. Their efforts paid off, when Chumbak raised a seed funding of $2 Million in 2013.
“Right from the start I did not want Chumbak to be a niche business. I wanted it to be a mass brand, which meant keeping prices affordable and scaling it up across the country,” she told Economic Times.
Take a look at Chumbak’s quirky Bangalore’s office!