Ramya started the entrepreneurial journey with her recipe sharing platform. Since then she has started three business altogether and has never looked back. Read on to hear her story.
What’s your story?
I am a global citizen, having lived and worked across three continents over the last two decades. I was born in India and did my engineering degree in the lovely garden city of Mysore.
I started my career with Tata Consultancy Services and then joined Credit Suisse’s technology division. Both fantastic opportunities gave me a solid foundation in both large scale technology and building consumer products.
I finally gave in to the entrepreneurial bug and followed my passion of building products that make a difference to our lives specifically in nutrition, health and wellness.
My entrepreneurial journey began with cookshup.com a social recipe sharing platform to promote healthy home cooking. I also run an angel investment and advisory business with a portfolio often plus companies across San Francisco, Singapore and India. My latest venture is FitFix.in, a fitness technology company with a simple goal of creating a healthier society by making fitness social, fun and easy.
What excites you most about your industry?
I am a problem solver at heart. The potential of using technology to build useful products that can solve real world problems and make a difference to our lives is what makes me jump out of bed every morning.
In addition to this I get to meet and work with some of the most talented, passionate and driven individuals.
What’s your connection to Asia?
I feel Asia is my mothership. My work and travels have taken me across the globe for various lengths of time but somehow I have always drifted back to Asia.
Home is where the heart is and my heart is in Asia.
Favourite city in Asia for business and why?
Singapore! It’s vibrant and the efficiency here is unmatched. It’s the ease of doing business, the access to good talent, a super convenient hub to travel, similar time zones to most other high growth cities in Asia and of course the food!
What’s the best piece of advice you ever received?
Just build it! I had an interesting idea about a social recipe-sharing platform a few years ago and could not find a co-founder to help build it. When a friend advised, “why do you think someone else can do a better job than you?” I decided to hack at it for weeks and had a production ready product up and running. I have never looked back since.
Who inspires you?
That’s a great question! Many have inspired me. My mother, my partner and currently my baby boy.
It’s just fascinating to watch a baby’s journey. Their tenacity, purity of heart and the simple joys that they bring. Everyday he’s learning something new, every time he fails he tries harder until he gets it right.
This has inspired me to work harder, to never give up and most importantly, to enjoy life and its simple pleasures.
What have you just learnt recently that blew you away?
Building a successful business is very similar to having a baby, there is the incubation stage which requires a lot of energy, time, patience and discipline. Then there is the product realisation phase which brings an incredible amount of learning, laughs, joy and contentment. The rewards in both cases far outweigh the investment.
On a similar note, we see a lot of entrepreneurs raising a ton of money to test out an idea or start a business. The bulk of the venture capital these days is going into marketing or subsidising in the name of growth rather than building solid solutions to solve hard problems.
This easy access to capital in the startup space is definitely not healthy. It makes talent acquisition harder for real businesses and we are ending up with a whole lot of startup’s without a strong business or technology foundation which can be really disruptive. I didn’t realise the scale of this problem until I started exploring the startup ecosystem in the region. Capital should be used to successfully scale once you have built a solid business and not the other way around.
If you had your time again, what would you do differently?
That’s a hard one. Sounds cliched but nothing much. I believe that life’s experiences are what makes you and I can’t fully accept today without embracing my yesterday. In retrospect I should have probably listened to my partner who told me, “I am cut out to be an entrepreneur” and set out on this journey a little earlier.
How do you unwind?
My new product www.FitFix.in. It’s a great way to discover fun activities tailored for you, around you. And of course nothing beats spending time with my two boys.
Favourite Asian destination for relaxation? Why?
The list is long. But we love Sri Lanka. The beaches are immaculate, there is great food, it’s very quiet and the locals have a great attitude.
Everyone in business should read this book:
‘The hard thing about hard things,’ by Ben Horowitz.
This book is a very easy read, filled with brutal honesty and provides an excellent perspective on building a great business. The author does a brilliant job of articulating the challenges of running a business too.
Shameless plug for your business:
Check out www.FitFix.in. It is our IOS mobile app that makes it easy to discover, create and share fitness activities around you with just one tap.
Our goal is to “Keep you Active” by making fitness social, easy, fun and affordable.
How can people connect with you?
This interview was part of the Callum Connect’s column found on The Asian Entrepreneur:
Callum Laing invests and buys small businesses in a range of industries around Asia. He has previously started, built and sold half a dozen businesses and is the founder & owner of Fitness-Buffet a company delivering employee wellness solutions in 12 countries. He is a Director of, amongst others, Key Person of Influence. A 40 week training program for business owners and executives.
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