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Gynoveda's Vishal Gupta on why one mentor isn’t enough in today’s complex world

Gynoveda’s Vishal Gupta says books are his mentor, and doing nothing is the best way to calm his mind

Vishal Gupta, co-founder and CEO, Gynoveda
Vishal Gupta, co-founder and CEO, Gynoveda

Born into a business family, it was par for the course that Vishal Gupta would also become a businessman. “For four generations, my family has been in business, so since my childhood, I was oriented towards that path,” says Gupta. He’s an entrepreneur who started Gynoveda in 2019 with his wife Rachana, and business partner Aarati Patil. In March, the Ayurveda-based women’s healthcare startup raised $10 million in Series A funding, led by India Alternatives Fund.

Gupta’s journey into entrepreneurship began three decades ago. In 1996, when he was 19, he started his first venture: an internet company, called Webseva, which he scaled up in six years to a three-city set up with a 150-member-strong team. Then, opting for the corporate life, Gupta joined Sutherland Global, one of the world’s biggest technical support companies.

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“I come from a very traditional business background and realised that to build a business with scale, you needed skills. That’s why I went into the corporate world to cultivate the skills that would later help me do my own stuff,” he recalls. In the six years he was there, he helped open 14 offices for the company in India. This was followed by a stint with Stuart Crighton and Sandeep Murthi, the founders and investors of online travel company, Cleartrip.

Gupta was also part of the launch teams for Jio and Acko Insurance, before starting Gynoveda. “My conscious choices were to work with founders and investors because my calling was very clear: I would someday do something on my own.” In an interview with Mint Lounge, Gupta talks about what it means to be a mentor, his early morning routine, and how doing nothing is the best way to unwind. Edited excerpts:

Who do you consider to be your mentor?
Books. They have offered me perspectives on different dimensions of life including health, spirituality, work, wealth, relationships and, most importantly, self-development. I say this because I believe one mentor isn’t sufficient in today’s complex world. And for a seeker, there’s always a book available written by a true master in that field. While Rajiv Dixit’s six-hours-long lectures on Ayurvedic sutras helped me regain my health, for spirituality, I discovered 9,000 hours of life-changing audio discourses by Osho. The best part: all of this is freely available online.

One major insight you worked on with a mentor.
The biggest insight would be that when it comes to health you don’t merely treat the symptoms of a problem, you must unearth the root cause instead. This insight helped me permanently heal chronic lifestyle disorders like asthma and psoriasis with Ayurveda.

During my recovery journey, I discovered that Ayurveda has solutions for women’s reproductive health issues as well. This became the driving force for us to start Gynoveda.

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What does being a mentor mean to you?
People aren’t born with the purpose of their lives tattooed on their bodies. To me, being a mentor means enabling someone to discover the purpose of their life. A mentor is also someone who helps their mentees fulfil their life goals. In the workplace, a mentor may not necessarily provide you with all the answers but gives you a framework to bring out your best. 

What’s your morning schedule?
I spend the hours between 4-6 am to introspect, meditate and contemplate on the future I wish to build. I’ve thought of some of my best ideas for Gynoveda during these hours. 

What’s one positive work routine you’ve followed for a long time?
Listening to audiobooks on self-improvement and skill development while driving to the workplace and back home. This practice has been one of the most rewarding work routines. I have been following this for the past 10 years.

Any recommendations for podcasts or books on mentorship or workplace growth?
Getting To Yes by Roger Fisher & William Ury. While the subtitle suggests it to be a book on negotiating agreements, it will help you negotiate your way up the corporate ladder as well.

How do you unwind? What are your hobbies?
Doing nothing is a luxury in this era of digital information overload. It’s my way to unwind and relax my overworked mental muscles. Creative juices flow in abundance when the mind is still, aimless and free from any external stimulation. So, anything that helps me slow down, relax and live in the present moment is the best way to unwind.

Monday Motivation is a series featuring founders, business leaders and creative individuals who tell us about the people they look up to and their work ethics.

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