In an interaction with Bfsinxt, Shruti Aggarwal, Co-founder at Stashfin, a digital lending venture shares her journey. She has over 15 years of experience in financial services and entrepreneurship and leads StashFin.
Shruti is a Chartered Accountant and has completed her Masters from Columbia University and Bachelors from SRCC. Shruti is an active member of FLO, Yi and Ellevate. Edited Excerpts:
Q. How do you view your career trajectory? How exciting has it been for you?
Never been in a better space! I’ve worked in companies as diverse as PwC and Merrill Lynch; I was the founder and CEO of a premier boutique in New York, and now I’m co-founder at Stashfin. Each company I’ve founded has also operated in vastly different spaces. What has been truly enriching and rewarding, is to have brought back what I learnt in the US to India, especially because the fintech space in India is bursting with opportunities. I’m thrilled with how far we’ve come.
Q. Has it been going as you had planned or was it more like you tapped opportunities as they came along?
It’s been a mix of both. I saw an opportunity in opening a premier boutique in New York; I saw an opportunity in the vast ocean that is the fintech space in India. I think one can only plan as much for their future, and you’ve to learn how to adapt to every challenge that life greets you with. As I often say, this is the fintechade of India and we at Stashfin have a mission that ‘Nobody in India should be credit starved’. Given the focus on startups and fintech India, it completely goes in alignment with our purpose and hence we would like to serve the millions of customers who are underserved thereby leading to financial inclusion.
Q. Not intending to stereotype, but as a woman, how has the journey been so far?
All my journeys have been as an individual, and those where I was not made to feel any different because I’m a woman. I’ve had female role models since the time I was a child, and have been taught the importance of being independent–financially and otherwise. And this is exactly what I try to pass on to everyone I meet, and particularly those who choose to work at Stashfin. So, my journey thus far has been splendid and one where I’ve only gained more knowledge.
Q. Over the years, how has your risk taking capability changed?
Taking risks would come naturally to any entrepreneur, whether you’re in India or elsewhere. What I’ve learnt from working in different countries, and setting up two distinct companies in these different countries is that I’m now better at making decisions when it comes to what will work for the benefit of my company and employees.
Q. Where do you seek inspiration/ motivation from to get going in what you want to achieve?
I have a fantastic team here at Stashfin, and one that is ever enthusiastic about ideas, about entrepreneurship, about scaling and skilling up. Speaking with them is inspiring because of the fresh and diverse perspectives each of them has to offer.
Q. Lastly, any advice/ message to young women out there trying to rise in their career trajectory be it corporate life or entrepreneurship?
Don’t be afraid of challenges and uncharted territories. Keep upskilling yourselves because the more you learn, the better you grow. Don’t let gender stereotypes bog you down; instead break them every step of the way. The easiest way to break any stereotype is to entirely own the field. You could be an entrepreneur of the most niche field, but the more you keep talking about that particular niche, the more approachable, the more easy to grasp it becomes for the world. Finally, know that someone will always have your back.