“Life of an entrepreneur’s wife…sigh”, says the caption on a photo on Raj Aggarwal’s Facebook. She is the wife of Ola founder Bhavish Aggarwal. She and her husband are sitting in a pretty field, presumably on vacation, but Bhavish is busy on the phone, running his $5 billion dollar company.
The life of an entrepreneur is certainly not easy. It requires an enormous amount of hard work, dedication and sacrifice – and the same applies for their partners.
While the stories of many such successful entrepreneurs float around, stories about their better halves that are untold and hidden from the public eye. These women are the forces behind some of the most celebrated and successful entrepreneurs of Indian startups, and have supported their partners through all the initial struggles and challenges. They have gracefully remained in the background while their famous husbands make the big headlines. On International Women’s Day, we recognize and raise a toast to these special women in the Indian startup world.
1. Priya Bansal, Flipkart co-founder Sachin Bansal’s wife
While some people may hilariously confuse Binny Bansal to be Sachin Bansal’s wife, Sachin Bansal actually has a real wife called Priya. Priya is a dentist and runs Priya Dental Clinic in Koramangla in Bangalore. In an interview Sachin Bansal revealed that he barely gets any time to spend with the family, and when he does, Priya and Sachin like to catch up on movies and go on “Matinee Dates”.
2. Trisha Vasudeva, Flipkart co-founder Binny Bansal’s wife
Flipkart co-founder and now CEO Binny Bansal’s wife is Trisha Vasudeva, an MBA from Indian Institute of Foreign Trade, whom he married in Feb 2010. Trisha is quite a fashionista herself, and at a Myntra event, she even made a rare public appearance.
3. Kanchan Joshi, Zomato founder Deepinder Goyal’s Wife
Zomato co-founder Deepinder Goyal, then 18, met his wife Kanchan Joshi at IIT Delhi and fell heads over heels in love with her. “I chased her for six months,” says Goyal in an interview with Forbes. The couple got married in 2007 and had a daughter, Siara in 2013. In a Mint article, Deepinder Goyal says it took some time to convince his parents that quitting a “cushy” job in consulting firm Bain and Co. was the right thing to do, but his wife supported him, even though she’s not the biggest fan of the start-up lifestyle. A PhD from the Indian Institute of Technology, Delhi, Kanchan is now a mathematics professor at Delhi University, and stays away from the limelight her famous husband cannot escape.
4. Mridula, Paytm founder’s Vijay Shekhar Sharma’s wife
The very friendly and flamboyant founder and CEO of Paytm, Vijay Shekhar Sharma is married to Mridula since 2005 and the couple have a three year old son, Vivaan. The couple had an arranged marriage when Sharma was 26. “We enjoy rafting, trekking, camping,” he says.
5. Aditi Tewari, Inmobi co-founder Naveen Tewari’s wife
Aditi Tewari who describes herself as a “mom, daughter and wife” on Twitter is the better half to Naveen Tewari, the celebrated IITK and Harvard alumnus InMobi co-founder. Aditi, who had taken up a job as a scientist at Accenture Tech Labs, supported Naveen when he turned down job offers to explore start possibilities in Silicon Valley. Aditi is an avid blogger, and supports her husband’s startup vehemently on Twitter. In an interview once Naveen Tewari had jokingly said that his priorities in life were Inmobi, his wife and cricket – in that order. Aditi seems only supportive of that commitment.
6. Asin, Micromax co-founder Rahul Sharma’s wife
Asin must be the only wife who’s more famous than her entrepreneur husband. Joining the league of Bollywood actors who are happily married with stars of the business world, the south Indian movie star recently tied the knot with Rahul Sharma. Actor Akshay Kumar reportedly played a pivotal role in matching the pair up, and Asin has hinted at exiting the film industry post marriage.
7. Karishma Kokhar, Rahul Yadav’s fiance
Another Rahul on this list is Rahul Yadav, co-founder and Ex-CEO of Housing.com and founder at Intelligent Interfaces. Yadav’s love life, as well as entrepreneurial journey, has been the subject of much speculation in the Indian startup world. His search for a girlfriend was much publicised, and it wasn’t long before he announced the presence of one. In a latest update, Rahul Yadav has revealed that his wedding is set for March 10th. Karishma is a Delhi College of Engineering graduate and and investment banker, and the duo has been quite open about sharing glimpses from their blissful love life.
8. Yashna Diesh Bahl, Snapdeal co-founder Kunal Bahl’s wife
Kunal Bahl’s wife Yashna Diesh has degrees from Amity University and Infinity Business School. Like her husband, she’s an entrepreneur who had started a candy floss business. The couple married in 2012 and were blessed with a baby girl in December last year. “Like a good co-founder my wife is taking care of my baby girl”, says Bahl.
9. Ambiga Dhiraj MuSigma co-founder Dhiraj Rajaram’s wife
Ambiga Dhiraj may be better known as MuSigma founder Dhiraj Rajaram’s wife, but in a recent management reshuffle, she was made the CEO of MuSigma, becoming the first woman CEO of an Indian unicorn. Before taking over the reins from her husband, she was the head of fulfillment and operations at the company. Ambiga and Rajaram met when they were classmates at Guindy engineering college, Anna University. The couple currently lives in Bangalore with their son.
10. Shilpa Thakur, Lookup co-founder Deepak Ravindran’s wife
The Lookup founder does things in style – whether it’s a swanky office in Bangalore or a wedding that spanned across 3 continents. The 29 year old founder recently tied the knot with US born-and-brought up model and singer Shilpa Thakur. Ravindran proposed to his wife, Shilpa Thakur in Venice, got engaged in California, and had a grand wedding in Kerala. Shilpa is currently a practicing global technology attorney licensed in California and works with startup founders across the globe.
11. Rajalakshmi Aggarwal, Ola co-founder Bhavish Aggarwal’s wife
Bhavish Aggarwal’s wife Rajalakshi Aggarwal has worked as an Analyst at Ernst and Young and as Marketing Manager. The couple has been together for 10 years now. Raj recalls anecdotes from their dating days where Bhavish admitted to being broke and unable to even pay for their dates. “I’m a Baniya so I was okay with her paying for our coffee. It was an investment!”, laughs Bhavish. Rajalakshmi has been supporting not only her husband but also his company since its very early days – Bhavish says that he’d borrow her car to fulfil requests when Ola was still a young startup.