Not averse to risks, Anjana Reddy, Founder, Universal Sportsbiz, says if you have a passion to start something of your own, take the plunge.

first_imgShe’s a woman working in a man’s world, but that has never stopped Anjana Reddy, 28, from marching ahead and that too on her own terms. As the Founder and MD of Universal Sportsbiz Pvt. Ltd. (USPL), she’s managed to bring together sports and fashion in a unique way bringing,She’s a woman working in a man’s world, but that has never stopped Anjana Reddy, 28, from marching ahead and that too on her own terms. As the Founder and MD of Universal Sportsbiz Pvt. Ltd. (USPL), she’s managed to bring together sports and fashion in a unique way bringing out fashion brands curated by leading sports personalities including Virat Kohli, Sachin Tendulkar, Sania Mirza, Saina Nehwal and Vishwanathan Anand among others.She’s also launched Collectabillia, an online portal that lets fans get access to limited edition merchandise of their favourite sporting icons. Based out of Bangalore, she’s also a former sportsperson herself, having played badminton at the national level along with Saina Nehwal. Having started USPL in 2012, she’s managed to achieve an impressive amount of success in a short span of time. Mid-last year, her company recieved a massive amount of `47 crore as a second round of funding from Accel Partners. She gets talking on her journey and why her gender has never mattered in her profession.Picture courtesy: Nilotpal BaruahHow did you come up with the idea of starting USPL?After getting a postgraduate degree in accounting and finance from the University of Illinois in the US, I returned to India with the idea of creating a brand in merchandising by leveraging celebrities. The idea came to me while watching basketball and American football in my college dormitory in the US. More often than not, people celebrated their team by wearing merchandise. Whether it was a Chicago Bulls cap or a Chicago White Sox jersey, the whole stadium atmosphere was recreated in the dorm lounge during games.advertisementI thought, why can’t we do this in India where cricket is a religion? I approached Sachin Tendulkar with my idea and the he agreed to invest in the start-up. He thought it was a great way to reach out to fans and connect. A couple of months later, in 2012, came the other big moment. The US-headquartered venture capital firm Accel Partners, which has invested in companies like Facebook and Flipkart, invested $5 million (Rs 30 crore) into Universal Sportsbiz. This gave more credibility to the company and allowed it to move into new business lines such as ethnic apparel and fashion accessories specially curated by sports and entertainment celebrities.How different is a fashion brand coming from a sportsperson to one from a fashion designer?Our objective was to create a ‘Make in India’ apparel brand with an international appeal. With the energy that India now exudes on the global stage, we roped in Virat Kohli to be an intrinsic part of WROGN. It is a breakaway youth fashion brand, which is inspired by his distinctive sense of style, and the youth appeal as such, it reflects his brand personality. WROGN is targeted towards open minded and progressive young men, who like to make their own choices in life. The brand is experimental in its ethos and also in its product philosophy. And it always encourages young men to question the status quo around them. We plan to make it the leading fashion apparel brand in the country before taking it global.Traditionally speaking, while you’ve combined fashion and sports, it largely remains a man’s terrain. How is it like to be a woman in a man’s world?Yes, sometimes being a woman in such a professional space is not an easy job to fulfill, but I am not afraid of working in a ‘man’s world’ and I never doubt my own expertise. It is a start-up culture and a professional set-up where more than the gender what matters is what you bring to the table. Also I have been very fortunate to work with people like Sachin Tendulkar and Mahendran Balachandran, partner, Accel Partners India, who treat everyone as equal.What do you think you bring differently to the table as a woman, compared to what a man would have brought in your role?I have learnt to stick with my instincts even when it’s a hard hill to climb. Over time, I brought about a unique sense of aesthetics and better project management capabilities that come through being an efficient multitasker. I learnt that my ability to empathise and build relationships worked to help me adapt to a leadership style without losing myself in the whole process.What have been some of the challenges you have faced in your journey?I think the toughest challenge, for anyone at the beginning of their entrepreneurial journey, is to build a good team and then motivate and retain them. Other challenges like supply chain and distributionexist but they are part of business challenges.advertisementWhere do you see USPL going and growing in the coming future?We are presently focussed on the three offerings and realising its true potential both in India and targeted international markets. Our goal is to build brands that are intrinsic to the lives of our customers and we are working towards weaving them into the cultural fabric. We are exploring an option to launch another brand alongside an opportunity to add other categories in the existing brands primarily to give a wholesome experience. We are also planning to launch our exclusive brand outlets.Women entrepreneurs are coming up in massive numbers in our country? How has the scenario changed for women?There is no paucity of talent and women business leaders have proved that they can handle the concept of innovative business, and are well aware of the economics their business takes. According to Huffington Post, as of June 2014, women hold 4.8 per cent of Fortune 500 CEO positions and 5 per cent of Fortune 1000 CEO positions. Today, India has more women CEOs than the US.What would be your advice to other women?My suggestion would be to not think too much. If you are passionate then you should just take the plunge.last_img

Kyrgios Leads Aussie Hopman Win

first_imgPERTH, Australia — Nick Kyrgios and Daria Gavrilova had singles wins over Ukraine to lead Australia Green to the Hopman Cup, the country’s first title in the mixed teams event in 17 years.Gavrilova’s 6-4, 7-6 (6) victory over Elina Svitolina gave Australia a 1-0 lead before Kyrgios clinched the title with a 6-3, 6-4 win over Alexandr Dolgopolov.Australia’s only previous Hopman Cup title came in 1999, when Mark Philippoussis and Jelena Dokic beat the Swedish pair of Jonas Bjorkman and Asa Carlsson.The last time Australia reached the final was in 2003, when Lleyton Hewitt and Alicia Molik were defeated 3-0 by Serena Williams and James Blake of the United States.Kyrgios won all four of his singles matches and combined with Gavrilova for an unbeaten mixed doubles run.Against France on Jan. 8, Australia Green was down a set point in the mixed doubles. If they had lost, Britain’s Andy Murray and Heather Watson would have qualified for the final.But Gavrilova made a clutch cross-court volley before Kyrgios helped seal the 2-1 win in which the Australian team also faced a match point in the match tiebreaker.Gavrilova trailed 6-1 in the second-set tiebreaker Jan. 9 before reeling off seven straight points to secure victory.“I played a tournament in under-12s, and it was a super tiebreaker, and I was down 9-1 and I ended up winning,” Gavrilova said.“I just literally told myself to settle down, just stop thinking of everything. Just think about how to win every point. I just played free.”Kyrgios took the first set in 26 minutes before securing an early break in the second set.“It’s an event that’s been held for a long, long time — before I was even born,” the 20-year-old Kyrgios said ahead of the final. “It’s pretty special. Especially me and Dasha (Daria) — we grew up together in juniors.”After Australia’s win, Kyrgios dedicated the title to his former coach Darren Tandy, who died last month of colon cancer.“He was a good mate of mine actually,” Kyrgios said of Tandy, who was coaching Britain’s James Ward before he died.“I spent a lot of time with him on tour. It’s definitely a sad time. I want to honor this win to him.”TweetPinShare0 Shareslast_img read more

Sir Chris Hoy Leads The Glasgow 2014 Queens Baton Relay

first_imgThis Wednesday, Her Majesty the Queen will launch the Glasgow 2014 Queen’s Baton Relay at Buckingham Palace.Sir Chris Hoy, six-time Gold Olympian, double Commonwealth Gold medallist, and recently appointed UNICEF UK Ambassador, will be the Baton’s special escort as it makes the processional journey down the Mall to receive the Queen’s message.“I am so proud to be taking part in launching the Baton,” said Sir Chris, who has supported UNICEF since 2009. “It brings together three of my life’s passions – sport, Scotland and making a difference for children.“What could be more important than UNICEF and the Glasgow 2014 Games coming together to use the immense power of sport to transform children’s lives around the Commonwealth, including at home in Scotland?”Over 248 days the Baton will cover 198,000km, starting in New Delhi and visiting all 71 nations and territories of the Commonwealth until it reaches its final destination – the Glasgow 2014 Opening Ceremony.“The Baton beginning its journey around the Commonwealth supported by young people will be a great day – and one that I hope will signal change in a great many lives,” added Sir Chris.Source:UNICEF UKlast_img read more