Pankhuri Shrivastava, the founder of a Sequoia Capital-backed women-centric social community platform called 'Pankhuri' passed away recently at the young age of 32. As per reports, she died of cardiac arrest in Bengaluru.

Pankhuri Shrivastava
Source: HT

Her company's official Twitter handle tweeted about her demise and wrote:

With profound grief and sorrow, we regret to inform the sad demise of our beloved CEO, Pankhuri Shrivastava. We lost her on 24th December 2021 due to a sudden cardiac arrest. May her soul obtain Sadgati. Om Shanti.

The sudden demise of this young entrepreneur has left everyone shocked. 

Pankhuri Shrivastava belonged to Jhansi in Uttar Pradesh and earned a degree in Computer Science engineering from the State Technological University of Madhya Pradesh in Bhopal. Thereafter, she worked with Teach For India and taught children in Mumbai's municipal schools under its fellowship programme.

Pankhuri Shrivastava
Source: Ahmedabad Mirror

Her startup journey began in 2012 when she founded a rental startup Grabhouse. She was just 24 then. The startup was backed by  Sequoia Capital, Kalaari Capital, and India Quotient. In 2016, Grabhouse was sold to online classifieds company Quikr in a cash and equity deal amounting to $10 million.

Pankhuri Shrivastava on being involved in the hiring process
Source: YouTube

She was an inspiration to several people who dreamt of beginning a startup. In one of her old videos, she spoke on how she involved herself in each and every process at Grabhouse, including hiring and recruitment.

I basically get involved in each and every hiring of the company and the reason is not that I am very control freak. But because I want to really know the people who are going to be here and building this awesomeness what we call Grabhouse... I want to know where they come from and what do they bring to the team.

She once described herself as a spontaneous person, who loved to sing, dance, swim, read and write. In another interview, she revealed that the challenges she faced while house-hunting in Mumbai during her Teach For India fellowship inspired her to start Grabhouse.

As expected in every Indian household, convincing her parents for letting her choose Teach For India fellowship despite having a job offer from an IT company was not easy. But Pankhuri managed to do it because she wanted to gain experience and do something different and satisfying.

When her TFI fellowship came to an end, her parents wanted her to take up a full-time job but she chose the unconventional path and took time to think upon her idea of a startup.

Pankhuri Shrivastava interview
Source: YouTube

After Grabhouse, Pankhuri Shrivastava founded a women-centric platform 'Pankhuri' in 2019. It was an initiative for women members to socialise, explore and upskill through live interactive courses, chat, and interest-based clubs. 

The women-only community provides an interactive platform to women to learn all things related to beauty and wellness. From cooking and baking to makeup and DIY, women can find almost everything on 'Pankhuri'.

Earlier this year, Pankhuri Shrivastava, raised $3.2 million (about ₹23 crore) as part of fresh funding led by Sequoia Capital India’s accelerator program, Surge.

Success doesn't come to anybody overnight. Pankhuri faced a lot of struggles and challenges but she was dedicated to her idea. She did not come from a family of businesspersons but still showed the strength to do something different and became the first entrepreneur in her family. According to her, the key to succeeding was the confidence with which she put forth her ideas.

She got married last year amid all the uncertainty of the pandemic.

She was also quite active on social media. Few months into her marriage she wrote a post on Twitter saying “marriage is NOT the end of a woman's career."

After the news of her demise came out people started talking about her last tweets where she talked about work.

While the cause of her death was cardiac arrest, the passing away of a young and brilliant entrepreneur got netizens talking about work-related stress among youngsters. 

The entire startup ecosystem in India is mourning her loss with a reminder of how inspiring she was. The tweets show that the people who had met her or worked with her at any point in time adored her so much.

She had a vibrant personality and was always full of enthusiasm and energy according to people who knew her.

Vani Kola, founder of Kalaari Capital, one of Pankhuri's investor companies paid a heartfelt tribute to her in a series of tweet. She wrote:

Hailing from Jhansi, she felt that the spirit of Jhansi Ki Rani was in her blood. She was incredibly satisfied that she opened an office in Jhansi & gave opportunities to girls to work in jobs that gave them a strong identity.

We've not only lost a budding entrepreneur but also a powerful and strong woman who dared to take the road less travelled. Rest in power, Pankhuri! Your life will continue to inspire many.