In Brief: Shunya One Ep. 28

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On this episode of Shunya One, Shiladitya and Amit are joined by Ankita Tandon, COO at CouponDunia. The conversation covers the trend with subscription models for deals and discounts, the online to offline commerce space in the country and the work culture for women in organizations. They also discuss the challenges they face as startup founders with fundraising.

Ankita gave some insights about the perception shoppers have about behind deals and discounts.

What we found was that a very interesting insight that we had was that people’s buying decisions are very divergent from their online buying decisions. So behind a computer screen, people are very comfortable searching for a discount and they want a discount. The second you throw in friends and family around the person or when the person is in an offline setting, the person does not want a discount. He wants to be made to feel special, he wants to be treated like a valued customer rather than a discount. So what we found was that people prefer to be a called valued customer rather than getting deals or discounts. So we realized that that model of giving deals doesn’t translate directly like the way people pick up deals in an online space.

Shiladitya enquired about Ankita’s experience as a woman startup founder and the challenges she has faced with finding investors, in the past. To which she responded:

To give an example when we fundraising we got a lot of polite turndowns because it is a pretty small community and you are connected. The feedback that we got through the back-channels was that it is a female founding team, baccha paida kar lengi and it is not going to happen. So, there was all that outrage. I felt outraged. I’ve been asked point-blank by women investors that, when are you getting married. We were positively outraged. These were the questions we were asked. Having said that, I have seen in the last six years a lot of women founders who have raised money give up their roles and walking away from their businesses, which I think is unfair. It’s not unfair that you are choosing a child, it’s not. I am pro-choice. It is fine, it’s totally cool, that you’ve chosen to have a family. But I think, we live in a capitalistic society right, someone has given you their money, not because of the milk of kindness of their heart but because they want you to grow that money for them or they want you to find an opportunity or build a business. So, I think it is a tad bit unfair to do that. And you are doing a disservice to all women around you because that investor or those investors will not fund women entrepreneurs. And I’ve seen that happen a lot.