Anu Bhardwaj, founder of Women INVESTING in Women DIGITAL will be a keynote speaker at Connect2Capital this year.
Bhardwaj specialties include international business development for private equity professionals, women in private equity, women in philanthropy, high-growth women entrepreneurs, Angel Networks/Angel Capital focusing on women and crowd funding initiatives focusing on women.
We recently interviewed Anu to get the inside scoop before she appears on stage. We have broken her interview up into two parts. Anu has had quite the career so far and has so much to share. Let’s see how Anu’s story began!
Why did you start Women Investing in Women Digital?
I am a super nerd and a data junkie. After winning a full scholarship to the Stockholm School of Economics to earn my MBA, I applied for a Fulbright Scholarship to the Indian Institute of Technology in Mumbai to research high-growth women's entrepreneurship. Ten years ago, there really wasn't much high-growth women's entrepreneurship and there were one or two women VCs in a country of 1.4 billion. At the time, there were a number of women in private equity, including several launching and leading funds and many many high-net-worth women who are either married to wealth or intrapreneurs within large family business conglomerates. I became obsessed with why there were so few high-growth women entrepreneurs, and I was even more interested in access to capital, which was a clear barrier—not only in India but also in ALL major global markets and clusters of innovation where women entrepreneurs face the same challenges. Upon finishing my Fulbright, I started working on disruptive models for private equity and venture capital fund managers to access capital in foreign markets; including Scandinavia, the Middle East, Latin America and Southeast Asia. What started as an intellectual exercise resulted in a complete paradigm shift within my own worldview on women and their relationship to wealth, investing and what this could mean for the world if thought leadership as a whole could be transformed. It's been 10-year journey, developing Women Investing in Women Digital organically until about 18 months ago, when we took in outside capital from strategic investors. There is a growing need for what we've developed and we are seeing a difference with the young women and girls we influence, top women entrepreneurs and investors we inspire, and committed men and boys who are fueling our rapid growth and expansion around the globe. Nothing gives my committed team and me greater pleasure than living a life filled with promise, passion and purpose centered on making this world a more inclusive and equitable world for both women and girls.
What has been the most exciting part about working with Women Investing in Women Digital?
There are several, in all honesty. The opportunity to learn so much every day from all of our various stakeholders. Learning from our young teen podcast hosts: how they view the world, what's important to them, why everything we do every day matters so much. Learning from our investors: what we can be doing to reach our target market faster, meeting new people to join our core team, interacting with potential customers and finding better, faster, cheaper, and more impactful ways to collaborate around common goals. Developing the various integrated channels as we disrupt traditional media targeting women and girls at an unprecedented level given our extended reach with social media. If I had to choose ONLY one exciting part, it would be developing specialized services for the World Women Report, which will feature exclusive content for women seeking co-investors and community specifically tailored for them. We will have more details coming soon, which will include invitation-only access to both select events and news focused on unprecedented access to capital, causes, and investing of special interest to women.