Sudha Sundaravaradan, a Bangalore-based woman entrepreneur, is the Founder of Jumporee, India’s first exclusive Kids Bounce House rental company. Jumporee’s goal is to create an absolutely safe, clean and delightful play zone for kids’ at one’s doorstep.
As an MBA graduate from the USA, Sudha worked as a Product Analyst at Bank of New York Mellon Corporation for few years before relocating to India for good. Before going to US, she worked as a Treasury Analyst at Ford Motors India for 2 years. She also completed her M.Com, ICWAI (Inter) and ACS (Inter).
- What inspired to become an entrepreneur? Did you always love it or was it something you got into?
I always wanted to become an Entrepreneur but the urge to become an entrepreneur increased after moving back to India from US.
The passion and urge to create something unique and lack of active and fun playtime among young children these days motivated me to look at starting a company related to physical playtime of children.
Bounce house rental business fit the bill especially considering the lack of safe, clean and professional rentals in India.
Also, I felt there was a huge gap in that segment wherein safety is considered as the last priority. This venture is all about fun, safety, cleanliness and professional customer service.
- When do you know that it is no longer just an idea in your mind, and that you can really turn it into a lucrative business?
The moment that made me to step forward with this idea was when I hired a local bounce house rental for my kids’ birthday party. The bouncies that I got were very dirty and not so safe, as the staff was not efficient in monitoring the kids.
- What inspired you to start out on your own or with your partners? What learning lessons can you share from your startup experience?
This business is tough business and I know women entrepreneurs are shy to do this as it is very labor intensive. More than that, it is a male dominated and much unorganized sector in India.
I knew there was a gap in this segment and I didn’t want to wait for someone to solve this problem. I want to solve this on my own so I started it with my husband’s guidance.
The biggest lesson I learnt was not to give up. Never give up on any idea until you try and test it. But do your homework properly before venturing your idea on your own. I spend around 2 years learning and researching about this business before entering into it.
- What are some challenges that you faced initially when you started out? Do you have some examples to share and advice to women entrepreneurs on overcoming them?
I received very pessimistic views from various people about the idea as a whole and they were not optimistic about a woman doing a rental business dominated by men, especially in India.
Convincing people to understand our service, philosophy and the price difference was a challenge during the initial stage. Now, customers recognize our brand and service and they know the value addition we bring in to their parties.
If you have confidence and will power, you can overcome any challenge. Always think, “I can do it” and a feeling that nothing is impossible will help anyone to overcome any difficulty.
But remember execution plays a critical role in success of a product or an idea. In my instance, extensive research and proper execution has helped me present my brand very effectively and successfully.
- What are all the things that a woman entrepreneur needs to keep in mind? I.e. apart from your great idea, what do you need to be armed with?
Courage to face any difficult situation and can do attitude at all times. The most important thing is having a good team for successfully running the business. A good team can make or break business and hence take your time to choose your team.
- Do women entrepreneurs find it tougher to get funding for businesses? If yes, why do you think that is?
It’s not really that tough to avail funds in the current environment. If you have a great idea/product that can solve a critical problem and that can generate more revenue then funding is fairly easy to get.
- Is it beneficial to have a mentor when you’re starting out on your own? What does a mentor bring to the table?
Yes, mentor is very essential but they need not be necessarily outsiders. Even your friend can become a mentor in the initial stage. In my instance, my husband is my mentor, critique, advisor and guide. When your business grows then you need a mentor who has enough experience to guide you to run your business.
- How did you recruit your first team? How difficult was it to get people on board during the initial stages?
I got my first employee through babajobs.com and then he referred his friend as my second employee. All my temp staff members are my permanent employees’ friends.
Currently, we are a very small company. Jumporee is still a Sole proprietorship owned by me. I have two permanent staff members, one driver and three temporary staffs.
I manage all my parties through them. So far, recruiting my first few employees was not that difficult but going forward it seems like one because of the nature of the business.
- What are 3 key things that you have learned as an entrepreneur?
• Planning and execution
• Delegation and motivation
• Team work
- How important is social media in building a business today? How has it played a role in helping you build yours?
Jumporee has online presence and currently we are the one and only company to have an online portal for bounce house rentals in India. We are also the first one in India to have an exclusive kids bounce house rentals.
- Can you share some tips for women entrepreneurs to maintain a balance between work and family life?
To have a balance you need to have your family support. If there is no support, then you need to clearly define your work and family space.