Your most loved and cherished memories from your childhood and teen years.
Sitting on my granddad’s work table at home and learning the basics of business at age 7. I really had the life of a princess being the youngest one in the family and have always cherished bringing together family, friends, neighbours and spreading joy and mischief.
What are your experiences that you think have shaped your personality (how you think and act)?
I think I grew into a rebel in my teenage years when I started to disassociate with the Indian schooling system. I resented being one of 90 girls in class who is expected to follow norms and not develop a questioning mind. I couldn’t stand the cookie cutter approach and decided to leave home at 18 to study in the US and discover the world.
At 16, you got an early start in business. Was it something that your father suggested that you do and something you sold him on.
My father introduced my older brother to business at age 16 too, so once I started Junior College, I followed the trend. In 11th std, I once bunked my accounts exam to attend a Nasscomm conference with my father.
Top 3 item on your bucket list (things you want to do)
Be the Prime Minister
Launch a perfume with my name
Work closely with children
What made you start VU technologies – growth potential, experience in same industry or something else?
I had many ideas for a new venture and decided to get started at age 24. My life’s philosophy is to ‘Just Do It’. I started the business as a high-end technology company and then let it take its own course.
Are there some branding and marketing lessons that you want to share with Y & S – what worked for VU?
Catch 4-5 top name customers, even if you give the product at a heavy discount, and then market these names to the rest of the market as your buyers.
How did the idea for “VU Owners Club” came about? Is it a loyalty initiative driven by discounts or is there more to it?
I like collecting loyalty cards of hotels and airlines and decided to implement the same – the first and only time for a technology company to do so. More details on www.tech.vu
Please share your professional plans going ahead? Focus on scaling VU or is there something else in store?
Scaling Vu for sure. Right now the only thing on my head is Diwali sales.
What’s your dream life like?
Being more global. I would love to have more offices and homes in a variety of countries. I feel uneasy if I don’t travel at least once in two weeks.
What about your passion for driving? When did it start?
When I got my underage license at age 16, but then I learnt to drive really fast when I lived in California and drove my Yellow VW Beetle at 120 mph without getting caught.
Who are two favorite entrepreneurs (apart from your dad of course, as one’s dad is almost always a young person’s role model)?
Subroto Bagchi and Biki Oberoi.
Do you have a favorite quote/book/movie that you turn to – for courage and strength?
The Contrarian’s Guide to Leadership by my professor Steven Sample has always been my favourite for practical advice.
Your suggestion to (young) members of Y & S community who want to get started as an entrepreneur? About industries to get into or ways of doing things that improves chances of success.
Just get started.
How important is the right image to succeed in professional life?
Image is very important but it must reflect who you are inside. I am confident person with a global outlook, yet with feminine grace and that should be projected in my image.
What you do love about yourself (one of your personality traits or strength)?
My cheerful nature.
How do you view women in the workplace? Do you think there actually is a glass ceiling for women who want to grow?
Many women are their own worst enemies by losing focus in the workplace and indulging in drama. The other really smart and professional type work for Vu.
What are your biggest achievements?
Speaking at the Wharton India Economic Forum in March this year was a big deal. Especially because I was the only young woman amongst top panelists.
What’s a typical day in Devita’s life like? Are you a workaholic or take time to chill out often?
When I am at work, it is a deep dive and I am very efficient. But my brain is quite clear and I focus at the task at hand and give the person in front of me my undivided attention.
What is the idea of a cool vacation for you? (What place you will be visiting, what will you be doing?)
I love walking through cities, on my own, risking being kidnapped but seeing the non-touristy areas.