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Interview with Gayathri Shanmugam, Founder of ScienceHopper

 

The founder series explores the minds of business owners and their journey to make a difference in their industry. We interview these business founders to understand the life lessons that mold them into who they are today. We also learn more about their company, their products or services, how they are different from their competitors, and the problems that they are trying to solve for their customers. The information that these business owners provide to us helps inform other entrepreneurs who are looking to make an impact in the business world. We all can take these lessons and apply them to our entrepreneurial journey. We want to thank every business owner who volunteered their time to participate in these interviews and share their knowledge with the community.

Great to meet you. Thank you for doing the interview. We want to know more about your journey, early struggles, success, and some wisdom that we can pass on to others who are interested in walking your footsteps toward becoming an entrepreneur. We know that being an entrepreneur is not all glory and fame, but there are hard times too. We believe that others who are interested in being a business owner can gain insight from other business founders like yourself. Again, we want to thank you for taking time out of your busy schedule. Let’s get this interview started!

Let us start off with some basic questions to learn more about who you are as a person.

Can you tell everyone your name, please?

Gayathri Shanmugam

Where did you go to school?

DAV, Chennai

Can you give an example of an early lesson in life that helped shaped who you are today?

Simple. I don’t remember my father being harsh on me ever after my exam results were out. All the advice was before the exam. After the test, it has always been, “move –on,” improve yourself work harder rather than crying over spilled milk. I guess, ten years of that reinforcement has conditioned me to get up and run however great the fall.

We all have entrepreneurs whom we look up to in our industry. These business leaders help influence, shape, and drive our ambition to succeed. These entrepreneurs could be someone that we have worked with on a project or could be someone that we look up too from a distance. For example, Bill Gates is a big inspiration to me not only because of his work in Microsoft but his outstanding contributions to society.

Who would you consider to be a significant influence on you professionally and can you explain why?

My father. He has shaped my work ethics through his thoughts and action. He has taught me luck favors those who work hard and being smart and intelligence can only take you so far. He is a doctor, and I have seen him beautifully couple his profession with service to society. I wanted to do precisely that.

Thank you for providing background on who you are as a person. I always find it fascinating to learn who a person is and their early life lessons. Let us move forward with the interview and discuss what you are doing now and how you are making a difference in your industry.

What is the name of your company?

ScienceHopper Education Pvt. Ltd

Where is your company located?

Bangalore

What services or products does your organization provide?

We are into the business of hands-on science in schools. We ensure students of our customer schools learn science experientially and not just using the chalk and talk method.

What problem is your business trying to solve?

  1. Higher education and careers in pure science are becoming rare.
  2. Even if children do not want to pursue pure science, they should embrace scientific temper as a way of life. Are you able to park your prejudices before you see the results? Are you unbiased? Are you willing to hold your judgment till you know what exactly is happening.? Are you rational? Are you fearless when trying out new things? Doing experiments helps you inculcate these traits and much more.

How is your business unique against your competitors?

We are not a kit provider but a solution provider. We follow what is called the “Scientific Enquiry Process.” That is, anything has to be hypothesized first, and then an experiment will have to be designed around it. Once the experiment is done, the observations are noted. From the observations, the hypothesis is either correct or wrong. This is the process that is to be followed for every experiment, and that is what do.

Also, we are not into hobby clubs and co-curricular activities. All our programs are mandatory sessions for all students and wholly integrated into the curriculum. It is fun but not frivolous.

How did the idea for your business come to fruition?

It all started at home. When I saw my son’s reaction when he did experiments at home, it was a moment of truth. I realized this is how science should be taught and we should make it happen.

Where can people go on the web to learn more about your business?

www.sciencehopper.com

Final question. We want to thank you for the interview. We have one last question to ask you about imparting some wisdom to future entrepreneurs.

Entrepreneurship is a matter of the heart and not of the mind and spreadsheets. The journey will make you a better, stronger person irrespective of the results.

What three tips would you give to other entrepreneurs who are starting out on their journey?

  1. Decide whether you are looking for fame, money or value creation. Be ready to face the fact that these could be mutually exclusive for a long time depending on the business you want to build.
  2. The buck stops with you. Take ownership of operational, tactical and strategic problems. There is no easy way out
  3. Take the plunge. It is worth it!
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Written by Ricky Singh, MBA

Founder & Editor of The Startup Growth

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