While most children played "house", Neha Sampat pretended to be running her own fashion company. With time, the dreams started to come to fruition, and although she did not end up in the fashion industry, Sampat went down an unconventional path by taking up a career in the tech industry. She has founded three successful companies, among which is Built.io, a digital experience firm that Software AG acquired in September 2018. Currently, the ambitious entrepreneur is the CEO of Contentstack, which she also founded. It has recently raised $57.5 million for its headless management system in its Series B financing. However, there is more to Sampat than running the company so let's enlighten you on how she ventured into tech through these few facts.
1. She Got into Tech Industry out of Curiosity
Sampat was ready to be in public relations hence her decision to study French and mass communications. She started her PR firm after hearing about Silicon Valley and the dot-com world. Still, for a person whose mantra is never to be boring, there was an itch to know what the dot-com world entailed. Therefore, Sampat applied for a few jobs, and by the third day, she was on her way to an interview. She landed the job and moved to a new city, ready to begin her tech career and as she told Verve Magazine, she has never looked back.
2. She is a Certified Sommelier
The serial entrepreneur was in Paris studying French, but she traveled to different villages and learned about wine. She fell in love with wine, but the realization didn't hit her until she was back home in India. As a result, even as she continued with her PR career, she still prioritized wine, and before she knew it, it was opening doors for her. Sampat revealed that socializing over a glass of wine helps to break the ice with potential business partners. As a certified sommelier, Sampat travels the world, focusing mainly on learning the history of wine and different cultures in various regions worldwide.
3. At 12, She Made Over $1,000 Profit in Her Business
Sampat has been an entrepreneur for as long as she can remember. She recounted how at 12, she and her best friend started a fan club for their favorite band. They made fan club folders for which they charged $18 each and sold to teenagers across the U.S. Their expenses were minimal considering that Sampat parents had a print shop which the girls utilized. By the end of that venture, they had made more than $1,000 profit which they ploughed back into the business, and the cycle continued.
4. Her Inspiration
Although Ruth Bader Ginsberg died in September 2020, she did not leave without a legacy, and one of the people she impacted is Sampat. The CEO could not stop singing praises of the late lawyer and jurist who championed women's rights, the LGBTQ community and racial equality. Ginsberg was highly regarded as a feminist icon. Sampat acknowledged that regardless of the lawyer's personal and health struggles, she never disappointed those who depended on her to fight for them.
5. She Won the Women in Technology Award in 2018
PR Newswire published that Aragon Research had awarded Sampat for being the best CEO in 2018. The Women in Technology awards by Aragon Research began in 2017 to recognize exceptional female professionals in the tech industry. The criterion is based on one's ability to be a role model, drive innovation, contribute to the organization, and give back to society.
6. She Once Had to Forego Her Salary to Pay Employees
The biggest challenge in running a startup is cash management and staying afloat, according to Sampat's experience. As someone who has been the founder of several companies, she confessed it was difficult, but she never gave up no matter how hard things got. She remembered that there were instances she would forego her salary because she had employees to pay. Regardless of the challenge, Sampat's motivation was her employees, knowing she had to work harder to afford wages for the next month.
7. Her Hobbies
Besides enjoying the academic side of wine, Sampat disclosed to Aragon Research that she is also passionate about cooking. The CEO discovered the art of making sourdough bread and was fascinated by the precision required, which is an excellent distraction from the usual work routine. Sampat also loves mentoring those whose talents will remain unlocked due to a lack of opportunities. She further added that she would love to see more women in technology and others becoming entrepreneurs, hence encouraging students in India through a STEM program.
8. Why She Embraces Diversity
The serial entrepreneur believes diversity improves revenue because an organization delivers to a more significant market share. In her company, 25% are women, but mostly what she thinks makes Contentstack unique is the mixture of religions, cultures and languages. She was not always ready to embrace diversity and cited an instance where she was skeptical about employing someone who had been in nightclubs and was interested in technology. Finally, the employee brought many ideas to the table that she and her team would not have thought of; hence, her attitude changed.
9. She Focuses on Giving Back to Society
Contentstack joined Pledge 1% in 2018, and currently, her focus is assisting those affected by COVID-19 in India. She said that the company's impact program had taken different forms. They now support a local trust dedicated to feeding more than a million people within where Contentstack's engineering offices are located. Through the Trust, Contentstack is also providing PPE and other facilities to assist the health institutions overwhelmed by the numerous COVID-19 patients.
10. She Loves Competition
While some entrepreneurs fear competition, Sampat loves it so much that it drives her to become stronger and better. She added that she could get carried away when competing; hence, to her, there is a blurry line between working and playing.
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Written by Allen Lee
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