On a winning streak
Not many girls with an MBA degree in their kitty would want to forsake the hefty pay and the security that comes with a MNC job to be an entrepreneur, that too in the big world of IT where the competition is cut-throat. But, not Prateeksha A K. As a student, she dreamt of being a women entrepreneur. Today, 25-year-old Prateeksha, the Chief Executive Officer of AmidRay Technologies, an IT firm which specialises in creating mobile applications, is the only women CEO at Startup Village.
She says her dreams took wings at school alumni meet almost two years ago. “During the alumni meet, I met my old friends Rohit R K and Nitin Bose, both engineering graduates, who were enthusiastically pondering over the prospects of starting a firm. By the end of the day, we had solid plans to begin AmidRay Technologies,” says Prateeksha.
AmidRay Technologies began its operations in 2011 at Technopark Business Incubator (TBI) as a mediocre firm. “We were into web development services and the turnover was good. Revenue poured in and we had over 13 employees. However, we wanted to turn into mobile application development. So we switched sector and have begun anew,” said Prateeksha whose brainchild was the ‘get payasam online’ application launched last Onam.
“Our aim to get noticed. Hence was born the idea of a smart phone application that enables ordering payasam through smart phone. That endeavour was hugely successful and gave us an extra edge,” says Prateeksha who graduated in Zoology from Sacred Hearts College before joining for MBA in HR and management.
Prateeksha feels that women do make good entrepreneurs. “All we need is the courage to overcome challenges. The business involves a lot of risk, dealing with both investors and team. The tensions and challenges are the same for both the genders,” says Prateeksha. She, however, mentions that travelling is a bit risky for a single woman.
“My work involves a lot of travelling and meeting up with a lot of people, including strangers. This, of course, is risky, considering our social set up. One should be brave enough to keep away people and situations that are dangerous,” says Prateeksha, whose support system comprises her family and business partners.
However, she adds being a young women entrepreneur has its share of advantages and disadvantages. “Whenever I go for meetings, the crowd will mostly be men dressed up in suits. Initially, I used to get ‘what-is-this-girl-dressed up-in Jeans and t-shirt-doing-here’ stares. But, most of them were considerate and helpful,” says Prateeksha.
For somebody who has had the up’s and down’s of entrepreneurship, Prateeksha believes that women make good leaders. “Unfortunately, we do not have much women players in IT field. I get invitations to talk at colleges. Wherever I go, I exhort women to start enterprises,” says Prateeksh. To support her views, she has started an online community ‘Views of Women’ to urge women entrepreneurs. “We even conducted a session ‘Open Coffee for Women’ last year. Many, including women who aspire to become entrepreneurs and others whose ventures failed, turned up for the event. It was overwhelming,” says Prateeksha.
At present, Prateeksha is busy with more ventures and basking in the success of the latest application introduced by the firm.
“Our latest application Block Out Traffic was launched on April 22. Till now, there were over 5000 downloads. We are working to upgrade it and make it applicable to other countries as well,” says Prateeksha who adds that she isn’t a workaholic nerd. “I do chill out. I take breaks from work and catch a movie or coffee with friends,” she adds.
So, is there any plans to settle down? “Not at all, our firm is on the growth trajectory. I have plans for the company and marriage does not figure anywhere in my do’s in near future,” says Prateeksha.