Q…How did you step into this field and are you a first generation entrepreneur?
Moqierish: Although I am not a first generation entrepreneur, I am one of those 1% that didn’t choose entrepreneurship, but entrepreneurship chose me. My mother is a self-created and established woman, but I was bestowed with an idea and a journey that gave me an opportunity to impact people’s lives. India Assist is a product that has the potential to make a huge impact, this alone was reason enough for me to leave my previous career and embark on the journey of entrepreneurship. Now that I have begun this journey, I do not see myself being anything else but an entrepreneur. Regardless of how difficult the journey is, I would choose entrepreneurship over a corporate career every time.
Q…What is the nature of your business and how did it come into existence?
Moqierish: India Assist is a start-up revolutionizing the way people travel, specifically working on improving travel experience of foreigners visiting India. It is an on-call solution providing ‘Assistance & Distress Management’ service to the foreign tourists. Our core product offering is the assistance and distress management service via a subscription-based phone app. We provide help to travelers in India which includes verified information and personalized assistance through our on-ground team in medical emergencies, theft, loss, altercation and transit.
The model of our product is on-ground assistance and human interface and we offer assistance by allocating personnel to the tourist at their live location. We are also constantly working with our teams to ensure they are compassionate and their moto is to “Help First” and ensure the subscriber is put at ease and comforted. The idea was conceived by the founder of India Assist Harish Khatri when he identified a serious gap in the current travel and tourism landscape, that of security and active assistance. Together we founded India Assist to bridge the gap created by lack of a centralized system that could provide foreigners in India with a platform that provides verified information and trusted assistance.
Q. Tell us about your early days and what inspired you to start a venture?
Moqierish: I studied in Delhi throughout my schooling and undergraduate years. After graduating from Sanskriti School with Commerce background, I studied BA Mathematics Hons from Miranda House, Delhi University where alongside I pursued my passion in sports. My passion however took over my life decisions. During my first job at the Commonwealth Games Delhi 2010, I decided to pursue my further studies in sports. Thereafter, I graduated in MSc International Sports Management from Northumbria University in Newcastle, UK to initiate a full-fledged career in big ticket sports events. My love for sports made me realise that I would do anything to follow my passion and in doing so love every minute of hard work and energy put into building something I wanted. This was the epicentre of my inspiration. Once I got associated with India Assist it changed my outlook towards life. It was easy to leave behind my established career to start something new that I believed in.
Q..What are your thoughts about women empowerment especially vis-a-vis Kashmir?
Moqierish: I always believed that Kashmiri women are a force to reckon with. I have grown up watching and looking up to such remarkable women who have made their mark, with their undeniable resilience and strength, not just in society but in the world. In today’s day and age, we are seeing women stand up and move to the frontlines in business, politics, as well as all spectrums of public space. This is especially true in Kashmir, where strength is born with the women’s movement and consciousness. Women’s empowerment is valuable to me because not only does it allow women to take up space that is constantly denied to them, but also because it gives rise to love and solidarity amongst women.
Q..Entrepreneurs in Kashmir continue to strive despite hurdles. What’s your mantra to success which you would like to share with them?
Moqierish: My success mantra has always been ‘to dream it and do it’. Great leaders are innovative. They look at things differently, and they teach us to look at things differently. They are also energetic, they can see the whole picture, they have great foresight, and they understand people and business. They are people with ethics, integrity, and honesty—and they’re decision-makers. One should learn how and when to say no and delegate. Enjoy what you are doing, and make sure you are having fun. And don’t be afraid to bring new ideas forward.
Q. Kashmir is also a tourist hub and considering nature of your venture would your company ever be keen to have a presence here?
Moqierish: Absolutely. We aim to cover all corners and parts of India. Kashmir has so much to offer in terms of tourism, and a product like ours once implemented with proper care and precision would help increase the tourist inflow into the Valley and boost the tourism based economy.
Q….What are your key hobbies apart from work?
Moqierish: I play basketball and other outdoor sports during the week. I enjoy an active personal, work and social lifestyle and intermediately take opportunities to roll back from technology and rejuvenate and work on myself. Reading during off time is a great way for me to keep the mind active. There is no better feeling than the one of constant growth.
Q…What are your future business plans and how big do you see yourself making it in India’s corporate sector as a woman entrepreneur in next 5 years?
Moqierish: Our near future business plans entail creating an eco-system for foreigners arriving in India and becoming a most reliable information and assistance platform for them while they travel within the country. They should be able to enjoy the better side of India and just in case they get into any distress, we are there to help them and make their trip stress-free.
At micro level we want the states to adopt this model (UP Assist, Rajasthan Assist etc) and at a macro level we want to venture into other countries as well.
In the next 5 years I see India Assist groomed and built into the next unicorn start-up from India, making path breaking advancements in the service industry through technology enabled solutions. Alongside, India Assist, I hope that I would have built myself and gathered enough knowledge and experience and still have courage to keep innovating and challenging myself.
Q…Be a job creator and not a seeker.. How much do you believe in this?
Moqierish: A job seeker means working for others dreams, being satisfied with what is given, following process instead of thoughts, not challenging self-capabilities enough and being taken care of rather taking care for others. But when you become job creator, you define many things. You create job opportunities for others. You bring innovation and try to make that innovation relevant to people and create an impact on community development. You bring economic integration of outsiders and create global environment and in a way enhance the standard of living for society at large.
Job creator also promotes research and development which help mankind to be prepared for future challenges.