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Neha Mathur is currently Co-Founder at Personifwy and WishYogi India Pvt Ltd. She has over 16 years of experience in the hospitality industry around managing large scale operations and corporate strategy. She has worked with various brands and has gained exposure across functions of corporate operations, strategy and business development, finance, and operational consulting. She attended Berkeley EPM in 2016-17 and shares her journey since, with the launch of her company.

WHAT IS PERSONIFWY AND WHAT DOES IT AIM TO DO?

Personifwy is an advanced analytics-based enterprise SAAS platform that helps organizations to drive their employee engagement for business success. At Personifwy we believe that employees are at the center of an organization and it is very important for every organization to lay emphasis on their growth, to understand the feedback, to be able to nurture them, and help them succeed.

We tried to understand why employees disengage when they are on a payroll. And there are multiple underlying factors whether it is because of bad managers, poor teamwork, or development. And slowly, this lack of motivation because of disengagement actually starts affecting individual productivity and leads to decreasing ownership or even receding morale.

So our platform enables organizations to derive and change this cost, which is the cost of disengagement, and turn it around to be a return of engagement, rather than a return of investment.

WHAT WAS YOUR ROLE BEFORE BERKELEY EPM?

I was a thoroughbred hotelier. I was cocooned in the realm of hospitality operations. I had worked with brands like Marriott and The Ascott Limited, and at that point when I joined BEPM, I was the Corporate Head – Rooms Division at Sterling Holiday Resorts (Limited).

AFTER COMPLETING THE PROGRAM, IN WHAT WAYS DID IT HELP YOU THROUGH YOUR PROFESSIONAL JOURNEY?

Where I am today is a huge leap from where I was before the program. BEPM has completely changed my entire paradigm of thought. It has broadened my horizons and I have started understanding the world outside hospitality. I have gone from being a hotelier to a founder of a tech-enabled platform. It has been a huge change for me and without the program it wouldn’t have been fathomable. My whole journey of change happened because I joined Berkeley EPM.

WHAT PART OR PARTS OF THE PROGRAM SPECIFICALLY WERE YOU ABLE TO LEVERAGE IN ORDER TO GET TO HERE IN YOUR ENTREPRENEURIAL JOURNEY?

I think the most notable was the capstone project. Because Personifwy was in fact conceptualized from the capstone project and my partners in the business are actually my teammates from the BEPM cohort. The capstone project won an award and so we thought of bringing it to life. And since then we have been extremely satisfied with what we are doing.

We also got a lot of support from the Northwest team, especially Tamhant. It was very easy for us to approach him. There were many small hiccups along the way during the journey, and our first reaction would always be to call him up to figure it out. And we always got incredible insights from him on any aspect of the business. That gave us the support we needed and helped us resolve our problems early on. Without that we would have to go through a lot of self study to resolve those same issues. But since we had the kind of incredible support that we did and the kind of people who taught us, we could rely on them for everything that we needed to launch this company.

HOW DID INTERACTING WITH THE PEER GROUP HELP YOUR JOURNEY TOWARDS PERSONIFWY?

The entire cohort has been our biggest support system through this entire journey. As students learning together, the best part was that we were not competing with each other, nor were we judging each other. There was a different kind of bonding with this incredible team of people from various facets of the industry. And every time we needed any help from any one of them, we were able to get it. Even after the program ended the interaction and support continued. I think the best part about the entire program is the cohort that you become a part of.

TELL US ABOUT YOUR EXPERIENCE – CHALLENGES AND EUREKA MOMENTS SINCE YOU LAUNCHED YOUR COMPANY AND WHAT YOU HAVE IN STORE FOR THE FUTURE.

Being an early stage startup you kind of have more challenges than eureka moments, but the ones we have had have been life changing eureka moments. The first was when I gave up all the perks of a corporate life and decided that I should become completely invested in this business, and start something by myself. None of my family members have ever started their own business, so I’m the first businesswoman in the family and have received a lot of support there.

My second eureka moment was when the first big client came on board. And one big moment for the entire company is definitely being accepted into the UC Berkeley SkyDeck Incubator Program. We are so glad and so excited to be a part of the program, and to be able to reach that milestone.

Owing to the entire co-founder team being extremely mature and experienced in its way of handling this business I think there’s a lot in store for the future of Personifwy.

SHARE WITH US ANY ANECDOTES / STORIES / EVENTS FROM YOUR JOURNEY AT BERKELEY EPM THAT HAVE STUCK WITH YOU.

There are so many! There was so much learning across the whole program. The design thinking classes by Prof. Sarah Beckman gave us a different edge towards looking at all aspects of business. Prof. Holly Schroth’s shadow negotiations were also very insightful. So were those meaningful business games we played to be able to understand the intricacies of business. And the financial classes helped as well. A lot of us were not from a financial background, but the professors quashed our worries and told us that we didn’t need to know exactly how an accountant makes a balance sheet, but rather how to understand what is in the balance sheet in order to understand our own finances. Prof. Wasim Azhar’s classes on marketing gave us so much in depth understanding of marketing and has been instrumental in how we are projecting ourselves in the market today. Even after the program, we contacted him to get his expertise on how we should market the product. We have also been able to keep in touch with Prof. Frank Schultz to get his opinions on various aspects of the business. Our visit to Plug and Play (Tech Center) is another thing that stood out to me. So was being able to sit through demo days at Berkeley SkyDeck.

These are aspects that stuck by me. We carved out the entire format of our product, keeping all the things we learned in mind and that’s why we were able to take Personifwy a notch above the competitors in the market. All of these experiences are what brought us to where we are today.

FEATURED PROGRAM

Berkeley EPM

APR, 2022 - MAR, 2023

INDIA & UC BERKELEY CAMPUS (CALIFORNIA, USA)

The Berkeley Executive Program in Management (Berkeley EPM) is a year-long distinguished general management program that prepares participants for the next level of leadership. Created to transform proven leaders into global executives ready to lead the charge, Berkeley EPM encourages reflection, enhances strategic thinking, and develops authentic leadership.

Neha Mathur Co-Founder Personifwy - aluminai Berkeler EPM
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