“Passion, persistence and compassion made me build a business ecosystem that transpired into a multi million-dollar startup.”
Swati Sharma (Co-Founder & COO, Thriwe)
A woman from a humble background with a dream to create a compassionate ecosystem that works towards solving complex business & social problems.
Swati Sharma, the Co-Founder and COO of Thriwe Consulting comes from a conservative Indian business family. Growing up in a conservative household, Swati was resilient and always had a strong desire to prove herself. Swati always took interest in reading, drawing, fashion designing, writing poems or stories in her teenage years. Her love for reading motivated her to pursue literature in college but her decision to enter the corporate world was strongly influenced by her peers. Sharma believes her life took a completely different turn when she set foot in the corporate world. It was like waking up from a dream and gaining professional consciousness.
Entrepreneurship seemed like a distant thought that almost never crossed her mind until she met her current co-founder, Dhruv Verma in 2012. He was her client and trying to solve the problem of sports accessibility. At that point in her life, Swati didn’t believe she was up to the challenge of helping him, but adventure and excitement prompted her to join him. Little did she know this venture would transpire into a million-dollar startup!
HER FASCINATION WITH THE ENTREPRENEURIAL WORLD AND SUCCESS STORY
Any idea that takes a leap into solving people’s problem at large and developing a strategy for social welfare is what fascinates Swati. She strongly believes that one should have a positive influence over a large ecosystem based on their value system and ethos. With less than 3 years of corporate experience, Swati stepped into the shoes of an entrepreneur and started Thriwe. Her biggest challenge was to learn everything from scratch without having any formal apprenticeship & learning time in her kitty. Her spirit of fighting against all odds made her convert every challenge into a winning story.
Today, Swati successfully runs one of India’s largest tech-driven B2B Consumer Benefits Marketplace that caters to both National and International Markets; offers loyalty solutions that enables business institutions such as financial institutions, banks, card networks, corporates, consumer goods etc acquire, engage, retain as well as delight their customers. Thriwe has a network of over 100,000+ partner associations and service delivery presence in 130 countries worldwide, Thriwe empowers clients to invigorate engagement with their most valuable customers.
In Swati’s words, “People expect entrepreneurs and leaders to know everything from day 1, but the truth is that they learn everything along the way by making mistakes and picking themselves up every single time.”
Having mentors to guide her and pick her up when needed, helped her tremendously. Sharma says that it’s an amazing experience to start an entrepreneurial journey with Co-Founders who can really support and motivate each other during the toughest initial years of the company.
Swati’s leadership and life philosophy comes from a famous quote by her guru Paramhansa Yogananda – “As you forget self in service to others, you will find that, without seeking it, your own cup of happiness will be full.”,
For a few initial years, her focus was not only to make her company survive but also thrive on the laid building blocks in comparison to the ever-evolving business space. To make her company climb the ladder of success, she undeniably focused on one single parameter and that was customer delight along with superior employee satisfaction. For her “Customer is a King, and their delight is of utmost significance” simultaneously maintaining the stand that clearly instills that “Employee is an invaluable asset that needs timely recognition and maintenance”. Over the years Swati realized that this is the core of her business philosophy and every business decision.
For the longest time, she didn’t take the title of a ‘leader’ seriously because she didn’t believe in having titles for the purpose of self-aggrandizement but rather believed in doing work that resonates best with the interknits of society.
Swati reflects on her professional journey and sees herself to have worked wholly in the service of her customers, her team, her investors, her colleagues, and her god. For her, the success, the accolades, the growth, the support of all stakeholders has just followed.
THE CLIENTELE AND COMPANY’S USP
The company follows a biblical line- Discover new engagement offerings that did not exist yesterday, every day!
Thriwe was launched with an aim to re-invent the rules of customer loyalty. Founded in the year 2011 with headquarters in India and offices across UAE, Singapore, London & Florida.
Swati explained, “Earlier, a lot of effort, time and money was put in by brands for curating loyalty programs, but the results were not exciting to the end consumer. As every company started launching these programs, the differentiators and genuine pull of the same started to go down.” Therefore, Thriwe’s USP has always been to create unique and high-value consumer allegiance programs. The key has been the exclusive approach towards Data analytics which includes the study of HNI usage patterns, understanding of consumer demographics coupled with curating cost-effective consumer engagement programs.
Some of their trusted partners across various categories are Mastercard, VISA, HSBC, Standard Chartered, HDFC, Axis Bank, Mashreq Bank, Union Pay, UOB, DBS, Emirates NBD, LG Consumer Durables so on and so forth. Thriwe’s business model includes aggregating a large network of partners and high-value tangible offers on one side coupled with customizing and personalizing them using their business intelligence for the clients on the other side, and finally delivering them through a white-labelled and off the shell technology platform.
ADHERENCE TO CORE VALUES
Swati’s key values for success are:
Constant Innovation and Business Agility
The world is changing at a very fast pace- what is true and valued today is irrelevant tomorrow. Swati means it in every term – Products, needs, processes, customs, traditions. They scaled from golf into multiple categories because various clients from across all allegiance categories wanted to work with Thriwe. They have established strong trust, integrity, constant innovation, and a high level of customer service among their clientele
Respect, Humility & Empathy
They believe in dealing with every stakeholder with respect, humility & empathy. Treating others, the way Thriwe would want to be treated every day. What the leadership exemplifies in Swati’s day to day behavior, communication, body language and decisions has a far-reaching impact on the organizational culture and value system. Hence, there is consistent communication with the department heads regarding the importance of the above ethos to the company and to her and her Co-Founder personally. Swati makes it a point to follow the above in all the interactions in a disciplined manner.
HER VISION AND MANTRA FOR COMPANY’S GROWTH
Swati envisions Thriwe to be “The Most Trusted and Innovative Consumer Strategy Specialist in the World”
Their short-term goals are:
- To expand the services in the Middle East, Southeast Asia, and selected African regions
- End to end automation & digitization of customer strategy and behavior
WORDS OF ADVICE FOR ALL ASPIRING WOMEN
Leadership is hard, entrepreneurship is harder- doing it all as a woman is the hardest. But women are so incredible and fully capable of pushing the physical, mental, and emotional boundaries. We are living in an amazing time where women can dream big and chase their dreams.
Don’t get complacent at any point –always stay hungry and agile. Even when you have struck upon a pot of gold, branch out a separate team that continues the search for the next big thing.
She suggests all budding women entrepreneurs to:
- Be authentic- If you are compassionate, emotional, overthinker – be it all boldly.
- Bring change to the whole ecosystem by bringing your innate warmth into the corporate world.
- Invest in your growth and social network – It is very important to keep you going and growing.