Shradha Sharma: The creator of YourStory
Noted as the third best LinkedIn influencer and author of the book ‘Cut the crap and jargon’, Shradha Sharma is also a recipient of many awards. The Founder and Chief Editor of YourStory was in town for the Digital Education Summit. Yo! Vizag brings an exclusive interview.
Born and brought up in a small town in Bihar, the society presented the most common stigma to her parents, especially her mother, with regards to having four daughters. This inculcated in Shardha the hardcore resolution of never to be a “burden” or liability on anyone. And this is a mantra she follows till date.
Stepping into a career
Graduating from some of the best colleges in the country, Shradha Sharma, broke social prejudices and went on to work at Times of India and CNBC Mumbai. Here she came across many untold stories which are epitomes of inspiration in themselves. When the channel turned down the idea of doing a series of such success stories. Shradha went ahead and started YourStory in 2008 online. She bootstrapped for the first eight years, finally raising external venture capital in 2015. Today, YourStory has a database of over 70,000 stories, a 100 member strong team, is available in 11 local languages and reaches millions of readers.
The bumpy road
Having overcome many difficulties to reach where she stands today, she shares that each of them made her stronger. A society that looks down upon women, made her strive to be the best. Lack of funds pushed her to make her business model a profitable one. She also faced personal loss, when her greatest supporter, her mother, passed away in 2010. “The person I was doing this for wasn’t there by me”, and this led to massive depression. A busy work schedule and the healing from innumerable inspirational stories helped her go on.
Many naysayers had told Shradha Sharma that her business idea lacked traction and financial viability. But Shradha has proved them wrong. “We receive tremendous feedback. Many have met their investors, co-founders and even customers through the portal.” Having created a tangible impact organically, today, a content platform has been created, where people can write their own story in their own language. This model has helped generate 40,000 stories, and work is in progress to take the number to a million in the next 18 months.
In love with the city
Having visited the city for the first time, she shares that she’s simply in love with Vizag. “I’m actually in shock that I missed visiting this beautiful city before”, she smilingly adds.“It has plenty of potentials and is no less than any other city in India.” After the MoU signed with APITA and the AP State Government, she shares that now YourStory.com will work on bringing awareness to the college students about the happenings of the world. “We will tell them various stories to encourage them in coming up with their own startups.”