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Meena Ganesh

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Profile

Serial entrepreneur Meena Ganesh is half of one of India’s most prolific entrepreneurial partnerships. She holds a BSc in physics from Madras University and an MBA from the Indian Institute of Management in Calcutta. In 1985, shortly after earning her MBA, Meena married husband Krishnan Ganesh and took a position as a regional manager at NIIT. Five years later, her husband embarked on his first entrepreneurial venture, a computer hardware maintenance company, with Meena’s career maintaining the family’s financial security.

In 1995, Meena entered a new phase in her career, beginning with a position at Microsoft India. Over the course of her five years with Microsoft, Meena set up multiple business units, including the Microsoft Consulting, Internet and Application Development/Business Services units, garnering valuable start-up experience in the process. She left Microsoft in 2000 to co-found Customer Asset, a call center and BPO company. As COO of Customer Asset, Meena helped build the company into an organization of nearly 4,000 people servicing major corporate customers in the US and UK. When Customer Asset was acquired by ICICI Bank in 2002, she stayed with the re-named ICICI Onesource as COO for a year before staking out on new endeavors.

After leaving Onesource in 2003, Meena joined Tesco as the HSC and CEO of operations for India. At the time, Meena was the only Indian and one of only four women in the Global Retail Council of Tesco, a group of fifty people who ran the company’s worldwide operations. She left Tesco in 2008 to join TutorVista, an online tutoring firm set up by her husband. The start-up, founded in 2006, bought out Edurite Technologies in 2008, and Meena came on board to serve as CEO and MD. Pearson Education purchased the company in 2011 for Rs 1000 crore, an equivalent of around $213 million, and Meena remained with the company until 2013.

In 2013, Meena and her husband fully embraced their serial entrepreneur title, founding GrowthStory, an angel investment fund and start-up incubator. Seeking exciting, disruptive business ideas with an India-focus, the Ganeshes help start-ups put together a business plan, create a core team, invest the initial capital, test and develop the capital, and then present it to venture capitalists for funding. So far, GrowthStory has funded at least twenty-three start-ups. Meena serves as co-promoter of nearly a dozen of these companies, including e-grocer Bigbasket.com, jewelry e-retailer Blustone.com, local delivery company Delyver.com and MustseeIndia.com, the country’s fourth largest travel website. She also serves on the Board of Directors of Bigbasket.com, Bluestone.com, and Avagmah.com. Other start-ups GrowthStory has funded include Little Eye Labs, Oximity.com, Overcart.com, Silverpush.com, Pokkt.com, and OnlinePrasad.com.

In 2013, alongside founding GrowthStory, the Ganeshes acquired home healthcare services provider Portea Medical. Meena serves as CEO and Managing Director, and has helped to grow the company to a workforce of over 1,000 in 18 cities making over 25,000 home visits each month.

Meena is widely recognized for her prolific, successful entrepreneurship. In 2011, she was named a “Distinguished Alumnus” by IIM Calcutta, and was one of the five finalists for the Forbes Leadership Award in 2012. She currently lives in Bangalore with her husband and their two children, a daughter at IIM Ahmedabad and a son in the tenth grade.

Companies and Investments

Portea Medical (CEO, Managing Director), GrowthStory (Serial Entrepreneur), BigBasket.com (Co-Promoter, Board of Directors), Bluestone.com (Co-Promoter, Board of Directors), MustseeIndia.com (Co-Promoter), Delyver.com (Co-Promoter), OnlinePrasad.com (Co-Promoter), Avagmah.com (Board of Directors), Little Eye Labs (Investor), Oximity.com (Investor), Sliverpush.com (Investor), Overcart.com (Investor), Pokkt.com (Investor), Edurite Technologies (CEO), TutorVista (CEO), Tesco (CEO, HSC), ICICI Onesource (COO), Customer Asset (Co-founder, COO), Microsoft (Director Internet and Application Development Unit), NIIT (Regional Manager)

Lessons Learned

Go with an open mind and be happy to receive new ideas. Every job, no matter whether in a large company or a small one, or in a start-up, comes with its own unique challenges. If you can cope with these, you’re termed successful. (Meena Ganesh on being open to new ideas and adaptable to unexpected challenges, in an interview with Vaahini)

I come from a fairly conservative background where academic excellence for women did not necessarily translate into thriving careers. A career usually meant teaching, if at all. I realized rather early that the conflict between work and life was an imaginary chip on my shoulder and from then on, I did what I wanted to do. I am lucky that my husband and my in-laws supported me but I see a lot of women who don’t follow their dreams because they are afraid to articulate them. If you want to do something badly enough, you have to speak up and convince people of your passion and take them along. Women think they should not ask for help and instead put themselves in a box. When I mentor young women at my company, I find that most of the roadblocks are in their mind. (Meena Ganesh on overcoming your mental roadblocks and not being afraid to take ownership of your dreams, in an interview with Vaahini)

It is also important to take ownership of your work and to go beyond the brief. To ask, ‘What more can I do, how can I make a difference?’ I did not sit back waiting for someone to tell me what to do next. Focus on doing a great job rather than having a great resume. Stop worrying about what will happen to your career, go along with the challenges and you will find yourself some place good! (Meena Ganesh of being proactive in work and career life, in an interview with Vaahini)

And you have to toggle between the minutiae of the parts that make up the whole and also the big picture itself. If you focus on people and what they contribute and who they are and take them along every step of the way, they will trust your leadership. Be honest and truthful to yourself. If you need to take care of a sick child, do that. If there is a big presentation coming up, ask for help. If you are committed to your family and your work, show it with action and people will know you are not goofing off. Don’t fall into a guilt trap because you don’t have to be a super woman. When my kids were small, I did not care what my house looked like! Today my biggest satisfaction at work and at home comes from the fact that I made a difference. (Meena Ganesh on finding balance, seeking help and not expecting yourself to be able to do everything, in an interview with Vaahini)


Inspiring Quotes

Meena Ganesh's Quotes

Make sure that things around you conspire to make you successful.

Meena Ganesh

Learn all the time, from what you do, what others do, never stop learning however good you think you are.

Meena Ganesh

Make sure that people around you also benefit from what you do, trampling others along the way to the top isnt sustainable or enjoyable.

Meena Ganesh

Whatever you do put your heart and soul into it.

Meena Ganesh

To be an entrepreneur, one needs to have a passion for an idea.

Meena Ganesh

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