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Vidya Munde-Müller is CEO & Founder of Givetastic - Giving. Made Fantastic! Givetastic is a smart giving and engagement platform that empowers employees to contribute to social and environmental projects of their choice using the corporate donation budget or CSR budget. With the platform and app, companies can give all employees a defined amount of their corporate donation budget for self-determined donations. This allows all employees, not just few individuals, to decide which social projects get donations. Through the platform, Givetastic aims to address global challenges such as climate change and empower companies to take action quickly.
Vidya was born in slums in Pune, India which has impacted her life very much. From there, Vidya has fought her way up. After finishing her bachelor, she moved to Germany for her master’s degree in electrical engineering. After university she has worked in several roles as consultant, project manager and her dream job product manager.
At the moment she is investigating new ideas like a platform for taking action on mental health and sustainability for students via community challenges, to raise awareness on sustainability and mental health and to make it more fun to every challenge they win as a team.
Vidya, what motivated you to start your own business?
For a long time, I was a product manager at Deutsche Telekom. And this was a time that I was exposed to Silicon Valley for a three-month job rotation. During my time there I got the vibe of the valley, being surrounded by open-minded people who want to change the world inspired me and entrepreneurship didn't leave me after. I always wanted to develop new ideas and I've been working on ideas for years, so it was the right time to develop my own ideas and make a positive impact. At Telekom, I got the opportunity to develop an idea when attending a start-up program UQBATE, which was my first exposure to entrepreneurship, even in a corporate atmosphere. After that, I wanted to take it seriously and took the chance to leave the company with a severance package at a good possibility and start my own business.
What entrepreneurial challenges have you encountered that you wish you had help with?
In the beginning, it was difficult for me to leave a very comfortable work environment and be alone, it kind of took me a long time to get attested used to the new life. On top of that I find fundraising is a difficult part, maybe for every entrepreneur. The technical part, the product development was more fun, because I'm still a product person, I'm very close to technology. But it was always the business part, which I found difficult and especially getting investments.
How did your cultural background influence your career?
I saw a lot of flaws, because of the background that I had. But I always tried to use my background as an advantage. For example, I am good at talking, I enjoy standing on a stage and talk about my ideas and my product. I grew up in a big community in India and communicated and exchanged a lot with others. And I have good connections to technology, I know very techie people who can help me. Also, the performance expectations in India influenced me because performing is a part of me. So, there were some good parts about having the cultural support. However, there are challenges with my background as well, as an Indian you were told and raised not to ask too many questions, we are not that rebellious and therefore maybe less disruptive. And there is always some kind of confidence gap which you maybe not see from outside, but it exists. Being aware of that at least helps to overcome that hurdle.
What kind of personal hint would you give to this woman?
It is a risky venture to decide on entrepreneurship. But you will only make it successful if you go all in. And be aware of your resilience, take care of yourself, that is definitely underrated, and I am so glad, that with Grace I got aware of how important it is and knew tools for mindful practices. Because once the investors come in, the clock starts, and you are completely under pressure.
The last hint would be: Have fun! As women, we sometimes tend to put so much pressure and burden on ourselves, but don’t take things too seriously - have fun and enjoy your journey!
Thank you very much Vidya!