Anu Bhardwaj of Women Investing In Women Digital on Crypto Clothesline Podcast
Anu was described recently by another great woman-in-tech Sonja Bernhardt:
“Anu Bhardwaj is amazing, her career trajectory is fascinating, and one minute listening to her reveals WHY it has been so.”
It’s refreshing to hear from a woman with such clear values who is realising those in actual and practical terms in the world: her influence spreads outwards like the proverbial positive-action stone dropping in the women’s pond.
A Little About Anu’s Background And Achievements To Date…
She’s the founder of Krypto for Kids, Qrypto Queens and Women Investing in Women Digital, (the world’s largest digital media platform focussed on women and investing with a special focus on blockchain), which in itself is incredible.
With over a million followers on Facebook across 120 countries, she has a radio show on VoiceAmerica, and a kids’ podcast series on apple iTunes.
Her specialties include international business development for private equity professionals, women in private equity, women in philanthropy, high growth women entrepreneurs, Angel Networks, Angel Capital crowdfunding, and blockchain and cryptocurrency initiatives focused on women.
Anu has a rich and wonderful history working with, supporting and investing in women in business, from all over the globe and from all kinds of cultural backgrounds.
“It’s been a decade now, so all of us didn’t happen overnight. It took many, many moons, lots of hard work and a lot of air miles as you can imagine.”
As part of her MBA studies, Anu was sent to the Indian Institute of Technology in Mumbai to look at high growth women’s entrepreneurship. When she got to India, there were only 14 women out of a country of 1.4 billion people that she could actually interview because that was the total number of high growth women entrepreneurs who were venture-backed.
One of the major questions Anu was keen to explore was related to what the challenges and real issues are for women in business and why we don’t have more?
There was a strong interest in the notion of access to capital, when it came to angel networks, venture networks, private equity companies as well as institutional investors – looking at what their appetites were.
“…what I was looking for was gender lens investing.”
“Ultimately you want to see companies that have a fair representation of women, whether they be on the board or whether they be on the senior team: the key founding team. “
Are they in senior management? What sorts of initiatives do we have to promote women within the organisation?
You want to have certain filters and that’s basically what gender lens comes down to. Are we trying to make sure this is fair investment, their investment.
Where Do You Get Your Inspiration?
Anu speaks of being an Indian woman born in a country where she was encouraged to speak freely, express her opinions and create a life of her choosing. She sees so many women in other circumstances who don’t get that kind of opportunity due to the policies and enculturation of their countries of birth, so her focus is to do the work to make it easier for these others.
“I think for me, I’ve always, I’ve always felt the certain privilege being an Indian woman having been born in the United States. I also wonder, had I grown up in India the whole time or, lived in India the whole time, would I be the same person? And part of this comes with this privilege of growing up in a country which encourages you to use your voice.
“Having that ability, that opportunity, I just said, I’m gonna take it as far as I can take it and help these other women and girls who don’t have that same position, because ultimately we’re in this together, and our sisters and our daughters and other parts of the world need us to step forward because they can’t.
“Let’s help each other out because if we don’t, no one else will.”
What’s The Deal With Being A Woman In Blockchain?
Anu speaks of the Blockchain industry inviting, including and welcoming everyone from the perfect novice to the local hairdresser to people ‘that don’t really have track records or don’t really have a solid background, and don’t really know the tech or the finance that just show up at these meetings.’
“What’s happened with blockchain specifically is you have so many distinct disparate, um, areas of, of technology and finance and media. They’ve all like come together and it’s just become like this melting pot.”
Then if you DO have a solid financial or tech background, you’re very much sought out. As 2018 data indicated, there are 33 jobs for every blockchain developer… It’s a great niche to get into if you’re keen to work…
“And especially like when it comes to women that come from that space – you get taken very seriously, there is no barrier. There is no ‘she’s a woman’ or ‘we’re not sure what to do with her’. It’s the opposite reaction. It’s like they’re actively seeking women who have pedigree, who understand the subject matter, who understand where this technology is and where it’s headed.”
“From my standpoint I’ve got an amazing speaking slots at the World Economic Forum in Davos, in the Cayman Islands in Saint Kitts and Nevis, Uganda, Kenya, Russia. I was in Australia earlier last year in Melbourne and Sydney. All over the United States there are major conferences.”
Anu comments, as did Dr Scott Stornetta in our previous interview, that the gracious difference between blockchain and crypto investing and other large scale traditional investments (that demand a minimum entry threshold), is that with very little cash, even the most novice or early starter investor, can play the participation game.
“With blockchain and crypto, people could enter at a lower level. Let’s say I’m a mid-market marketing professional or an early stage professional. Someone who just came out of college.
“If I wanted to invest into an ICO, I could do so with a couple hundred dollars or a couple of thousand dollars… And that’s not the case when it comes to private equity, venture capital or angel investing.”
Krypto for Kids
The whole notion of bringing our children in on this scene creates polarised opinions amongst parents. Some feel best thing we can do for our kids is get them off their screens and out climbing trees, riding bikes and skateboards: using their creativity and imaginations to thoroughly enjoy childhood…
Yet many of us worry about future-proofing our children in a world where it’s potentially very likely that there’ll be no jobs for them, or at least a gross reduction in the number of available vocations that won’t have been replaced with robots and AI.
The question arises about how we can best educate and prepare our children, especially our daughters, for a world teeming with technological changes that affect us all financially and socially?
Anu comments that the way to ensure our future is driven also by women in the tech, finance and media industries, is to ensure that there are more girls being educated in these fields.
“First of all, we want girls. More girls in STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics) equals more women in tech, equals more top women in finance and technology. And that’s the formula in my head that just makes sense.
“Anything that we do, any intervention that we do to get our girls interested in science and technology or to get our girls interested in finance is something that I support.”
“Mom, it’s just digital money. You can buy things and they’ll ship it to your door. That’s all it is. It’s just digital money.”
Her daughter felt that the messages for kids about blockchain on YouTube were way too boring and she couldn’t really understand them, so she suggested that they start a podcast with videos for kids.
“And that’s what we did at Blockchain on the Beach. We had a conference back in November, and Aria and 10 of her friends created a computer from parts. Another delegate Max, who was 16, taught Aria how to make a computer.
“And she taught these other seven-year-olds how to put all the parts together.
“By lunchtime they were eating their lunch and they came back and then the computer was mining cryptocurrency.”
“Ultimately what we’re doing is gamifying this whole interest out there of ‘what is this digital money’?
“We’ll have another feature where you can actually donate this currency to one of your favourite 18 sustainable development goals.
“Krypto for Kids is not so much the crypto – it’s everything that the crypto represents: the banking, the tech, helping the poor, helping these kids learn about a new technology… it’s more than just the money. It’s about making this world a fair, more equal place.”
The Future is Feminine?
When asked what the best possible outcome would be over the next ten years with all that she is doing, Anu replied that she’s mostly wanting to see more more women investing and secondly, she’d like to see more women getting invested in.
“I want to see women getting banked at unprecedented levels.
“Sometimes people envision this as women entrepreneurs who have companies that are scaling and growing. Let’s try to get them banked. I think that’s noble. I think yes, it can happen.
“The bigger opportunity is what happens in emerging markets. If you look at countries like India for instance, or the Middle East or Africa or Latin America, and you see how much a little goes a long way and it can help.
“I’m not saying micro finance is the be all and end all of everything, but you know, this is happening at an exponential rate. I’d like to see more women at higher levels invest.”
“And when women control more wealth, that’s when you see the health of a country improve. And that’s, that’s really like where we want to go is empower women economically.
“When they control their finances, you’re gonna see a whole new shift in the world altogether. It’s just going to become more peaceful as a whole when we control those financial assets.”
What Is Money? What Is The Future Of Money?
“Money is a value exchange. Something that has worth. It’s very simple.
“I used to think of money only in terms of Fiat currency, hard currency, but then this whole digital space started. I mean, I started investing back in 2017 and then it was like, oh, there’s a digital version and the Fiat version, there’s two types.”
“I see more younger people transacting. That’s the difference I think that’s going to happen in the future. Once they start understanding what digital money is, I foresee kids will be buying things using their crypto.
“So we as mothers, I mean we can either teach our children or let someone else teach them. I’d rather be the one to teach them and have protective measures around what they’re learning.
“It’s like we have to protect ourselves. And so it’s the same as when we were protecting our kids from the Internet, we’re going to have to protect our kids from digital money as well, I think.”
Anu Bhardwaj on LinkedIn
Anu Bhardwaj on Google
w: TheStateofWomen.com (Media Platform)
fb: Qrypto Queens
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