Interview: Smiti Bhatt Deorah, Co-founder and Chief Operating Officer, Advantage Club - Startup Terminal

Wednesday, March 8, 2017

Interview: Smiti Bhatt Deorah, Co-founder and Chief Operating Officer, Advantage Club

ST Bureau
New Delhi

This interview is a part of Startup Terminal interview series to mark the occasion of 'International Women's Day'

ST: Please tell us more about yourself.

Smiti Bhatt Deorah: I did my Masters degree from University of California Los Angeles and worked at Microsoft in their Redmond office post that for a couple of years. Having always wanted to start something of my own, I eventually came back to India and founded Advantage Club. Associated with 2200+ brands providing exclusive perks to 150+ corporates, Advantage Club is now India's largest employee-benefit platform. Here, I oversee strategic alliances, brand building, marketing, operations, customer relations and product vision.

Smiti Bhatt Deorah,
Co-founder and Chief Operating Officer,
Advantage Club
ST: Who is your biggest influence in life?

Smiti Bhatt Deorah: Parents are always the biggest influence in anybody's life, as the maximum amount of lifespan is spent with them. Apart from my parents, my nani (grandmother) has been one of the biggest influences in my life. I have spent most of my childhood with her, every vacation I would camp at her place simply out of the sheer amount of love and affection I had for her. She is by far one of the strongest women I have met in my lifetime. She taught me how to be strong, independent, how not to shy away from problems but to embrace them, and also introduced me to meditation and self discovery. Even her bedtime stories were 'moral' stories, not fairytales. A lot of what I am today is dedicated to her.

ST: What challenges do you face in your day to day professional life, if any?

Smiti Bhatt Deorah: Challenges are overrated. They are simply opportunities to improve the quality of something. You shy away from the challenge, you miss out the opportunity. As an entrepreneur, I face multiple challenges everyday, its hard to pinpoint one given the diversity of my role. Be it something as trivial as work item prioritization to something as big as a live-site issue, work keeps throwing opportunities towards me everyday to keep constantly improving product quality.

ST: Where do you want to see yourself in next 5 years down the line?

Smiti Bhatt Deorah: I would love to see Advantage Club go global in the next 5 years. Also, higher engagement within companies and providing a deeper value to corporations with regards to their employee happiness is one of my long term goals.

ST: What is your message to the readers on ‘International Women’s Day’?

Smiti Bhatt Deorah: Believe in yourself. There are millions out there who will tell you that you cannot do it, but you're the only person who's opinion should matter. Self-confidence combined with zeal and passion usually results in making magic happen.

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