Diversity & Inclusion in a Startup Ecosystem - A Women Entrepreneur's Perspective

Diversity & Inclusion in a Startup Ecosystem - A Women Entrepreneur's Perspective

By: Sonam Srivastava, Founder, Wright Research | Thursday, 8 June 2023

Sonam Srivastava is holding a B.Tech degree in Chemical Engineering from IIT Kanpur and Master’s degree in Financial Engineering from WorldQuant University, Sonam boasts of a 13 years long career in the finance space. Prior to incepting Wright Research in 2019, she has handled key roles across various companies such as Reliance, Edelweiss Financial Services, HSBS Global Banking & Markets and qplum. Additionally, she is currently also the Faculty Member at Artificial Intelligence Finance Institute.

Women Entrepreneur recently got a chance to interact with Sonam, wherein she shared her insights about women entrepreneurship, trading strategies and various other aspects. Below are the excerpts from the exclusive interview.

Tell us about the importance of diversity and inclusion in entrepreneurship.

Diversity is one of the key essentials for not just in entrepreneurship, but for every company in the finance space. Currently, women comprise a very less portion of workforce in the finance industry. For instance, my customer base has less than 10 percent of women. This is because women are hesitant to take a decision about making investments with their own money and empowering themselves. I feel today’s women must take the initiative to get some awareness about the various opportunities that financial investments offer. This way, they can not only enrich of themselves and their family, but also contribute significantly towards the country’s economic growth.

What are some of the strategies that help you build a strong network and cultivate relationships in the tech industry?

The network that I have built in the industry has played a very significant role in my journey so far as an industry leader. As a woman, I feel fortunate that there are many women-centric networks groups, along with organizations that are selecting women for support in terms of investments today. Seeing another woman succeed and being recognized widely for her expertise will surely inspire many more women to further develop their career and skill sets. I have received support from many such groups not just in the tech industry, but others as well.

From a financial perspective too, I have a lot of women investors who put-in a lot of efforts to help other women. I have been fortunate enough to be a part of the LinkedIn Creator Group, which has been extremely important to me because I get too witness first-hand the work of top creators from across India, which has inspired me immensely to do better in life both professionally and personally.

Explain briefly about your approach towards trading strategies.

I follow a strict data-driven approach in every decision that I take. For example, if I am interested in a particular set off stocks, I first analyze all the available data pertaining to that stock, predict its performance in the long term accordingly, and then evaluate it across various scenarios before proceeding further. This approach might feel a tad more tactical, but it has been one of my secret recipes for success in the industry.

Enlighten us about your experience with quantitative investing and algorithmic trading.

I have been actively engaged in algorithmic trading and data-driven investments throughout my life and haven’t done any other kinds of investments. Since I have always loved working with data, algorithmic trading was the perfect fit for the skill sets I possess. I am very passionate about the finance market and am very interested in the day-to-day happenings pertaining to the economy. This has also helped me in staying updated with the changing industry dynamics and current market trends. Also, algorithmic trading reduces the biases that an individual might have and enables him/her to look at as many stocks as they want. Additionally, algorithmic trading significantly reduces the human errors in the investment process.

How do you evaluate the performance of your trading strategies?

We have many metrics that we consider while evaluating our trading strategies. We ensure to look at the risk factors as well and don’t just focus on ROI. We also study various market scenarios to have a clear understanding of the market shifts. Most importantly, risk is the center of gravity for every strategy that we formulate because that is one factor retail investors are especially concerned about.

How do you expect quantitative investing and algorithmic trading to evolve in the days to come?

The future looks very bright for algorithmic trading. The financial industry is expected to whole-heartedly embrace this concept, thus enabling Indian markets to have a larger reach of algorithm-driven strategies just like foreign markets. Thus, I am very excited about what potential prospects the future holds for algorithmic trading in India.

How do you navigate through the gender biases in the tech industry? Also, what is your advice other women entrepreneurs facing similar challenges?

Gender bias is inherent in a lot of industries that we work in. The only way for women around it is to step-up and be bold about their aspirations in life. When I started my entrepreneurial journey, I initially got a lot of questioning looks from the customers saying that it is very strange to see a woman in this field. However, this scenario changed gradually and people encouraged me a lot. As women, we never give-up on any task that we take-up and ensure to complete it by any means necessary. Thus, having self-confidence and being bold enough to take that first step towards achieving your aspirations is a must-have trait for every women entrepreneur. My advice to women entrepreneurs is that if you are passionate about that business and are able to create value for customers based on your ideas and commitments, go ahead and dive into entrepreneurship without a second thought.