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I am Swati Bhargava, CEO Of CashKaro, And This Is How I Work

I am Swati Bhargava, CEO Of CashKaro, And This Is How I Work

Swati Bhargava, CEO and Co-founder of, always believed in doing something transformational and didn't want to be just one of the faces in the crowd. That is the reason she decided to quit her cushy job as Investment Banker at Goldman Sachs London and take the entrepreneurial plunge. After analysing the burgeoning Indian e-commerce industry, this London School of Economics graduate decided to explore the idea of Cashback. She thus started CashKaro, along with her husband, in April 2013. In just four years, CashKaro has become a leading Cashback and Coupons site that offers cashback on over 1,500 sites, including Amazon, Flipkart, Shopclues, and Myntra. In an exclusive interview, she tells Ishita Blaggan all about her journey, and #SheCEO, an initiative to promote women entrepreneurship in India.

Location : Gurugram, Haryana
Current Gig : Co-Founder,
One word that best describes how you work : Energetic
Current mobile device : iPhone 6
Current computer : Apple Macbook Pro

Tell us about your journey and how did you get where you have?
I grew up in Ambala and completed my high school there. I got a scholarship from London School of Economics (LSE), UK and graduated in BSc Mathematics and Economics. Thereafter, I started working at Goldman Sachs London as an Investment Banker and it was in my late 20s when I decided to quit my cushy job and go the entrepreneurial way with my husband, Rohan. I always believed in doing something transformational. I was not comfortable with the idea of being one of the faces in the crowd. Inspiration to start our own business came from Rohan, my husband and Co-founder of CashKaro. He spotted the opportunity in the UK and really believed in the idea of Cashback. We felt there was a gap in the market, so we first started with - a Cashback and Vouchers site in 2011 in the UK.

Indians' innate love for savings and the growing e-commerce industry convinced us to the idea of launching CashKaro here in April 2013. In the four years since its launch, CashKaro has become India's largest Cashback & Coupons site, and offers cashback on over 1,500 sites, including, Flipkart, Shopclues, and Myntra. But to get to this point was no easy feat. Apart from infrastructural and hiring we also faced our biggest challenge - educating the market about this concept of earning Cashback on all online shopping. We went aggressive on PR and did many innovative campaigns coupled with extensive digital marketing. To build our retailer base, we solicited meetings with market leading e-commerce sites and explained how this concept is the best performance driven model for marketers globally.

What apps/software/tools you can't live without?
WhatsApp- For instant messaging, networking and also for the ease with which I can share files like images, videos and audios with large groups. It also helps me to take swift decisions with key team members at any given point of time.

Twitter- To scan the latest news and thought pieces about the ecosystem. It also helps me connect with influencers and market leaders. Also, CashKaro fans often tweet and can talk to me directly about their experience of saving via us.

What's your workspace setup like?
At CashKaro, we have a flat hierarchy and believe in 'No Red Tape'. We don't have separate cabins for anyone. We have desks spread throughout the open space. So, my workspace is same as other employees with no barricades in the form of cubicles. Communication between team members and leaders flow freely enabling room to discuss and ideate. We take pride in having our people talk openly and without fear. Our approach is simple - back your conversations with logic and data. This enables in faster decision making.

What's your best time-saving shortcut/life hack?
For me the best time-saving life hack is through a simple act of having a clearly defined calendar, a clean and organized desk and a to-do plan for the day. As the day goes by, I keep referring to it and this way I make sure that I am on track in terms of prioritising the work in the most efficient manner. Other than this, I usually do all personal or non-work calls during my morning walks to utilise time in the most effective way.

(Also read: I Am Bachendri Pal, First Indian Woman To Climb Mount Everest, And This Is How I Work )

What's your favourite to-do list manager?
Todoist - It helps me manage tasks and projects thereby empowering me to accomplish more in less time.

Besides your phone and computer, what gadget you can't live without and why?
I try to keep my life really minimalistic in terms of gadgets so I would say my phone and computer are the only two most important gadgets I own.

What everyday thing are you better at than everyone else?
I'm generally a positive person and I try to bring energy and positivity around me. My morning routine includes doing yoga and meditation. A combination of these two helps me in keeping my productivity and energy levels up and prepare better for the everyday struggle to success!

What are you currently reading?
Currently, I am reading The Leader Who Had No Title By Robin Sharma. I find his ideas around personal leadership and peak performance really inspiring!

Are you more of an introvert or an extrovert?
I am an extrovert. I generally like social gatherings, engaging in conversations with new and smart people while sharing ideas and learning from each other.

What's your sleep routine like?
Leading an eighty member team and operating two different sites in two different time zones (Pouringpounds in the UK and CashKaro in India) sleep has become a luxury for me - no questions about that. Depending upon work I balance my routine. I seldom get more than 6 hours of sleep but definitely make a point to wake up at 6.30 am every day.

What's the best advice you've ever received?
Rohan (my husband and Co-founder of CashKaro) has one of the best advicse to give me whenever I am stressed or tired. He says, "You know it's hurting, you know you're in pain, now just make sure that it's worth something." This inspires me to just keep going, amidst the odds and physical fatigue!

How do you recharge when you feel exhausted after managing all the responsibilities at work?
Retail therapy works well for me as I love to shop from various places. Travel and dinner with friends and family also helps me de-stress. However, at the end of some really long days, I just like to lie on my bed, watch some TV and browse my phone.

Is there anything else you'd like to add that might be interesting to readers?
Working across the globe I have realised that every country possesses its own challenges and opportunities and one has to adjust and adapt accordingly. Work with people who are smarter than you - this will only fuel your growth. Commit yourself to a dream, and go at things with a can-do attitude!

(Also read: I Am Peyush Bansal, CEO Of Lenskart, And This Is How I Work)

The How I Work series asks heroes, experts, and flat-out productive people to share their shortcuts, workspaces, routines, and more. Have someone you want to see featured, or questions you think we should ask? Email Ishita.

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