PODCAST: From failing tests to founding an Ed Tech company

Vicky Le
October 20, 2022

When Kavitta showed up as a freshman on the campus of the University of California, Santa Barbara (UCSB), the last thing she expected as a student was to gain her most valuable learning experiences outside of the classroom. By her junior year at UCSB, she co-founded and launched Nectir, a communication platform for schools that leverages data to predict student success. Since 2018, Nectir has been bridging the gap between communication and technology within the higher education space to make learning more accessible for all students. Kavitta shares what she's learned along the way, as a female entrepreneur of color, daughter of immigrants, and active combattant of imposter syndrome.

Podcast Transcript

Joleen  00:00

Hi everyone. I'm Joleen

JoJo  00:12

and I'm JoJo.

Joleen  00:13

And welcome to the untold podcast.

JoJo  00:15

In each episode, we sit down with bipoc entrepreneurs for candid conversations around culture, identity, and what it's like to start a business in the 21st century.

Joleen  00:27

We're so excited to introduce our first guest, today we have Kavitta on. And Kavitta Ghai is the co founder and CEO of Nectir, a communication platform for schools that leverages data to predict student success. She founded Nectir, three years ago as a junior at the University of California, Santa Barbara, and has since dedicated her time to bridging the gap between communication and technology within the higher education space. So welcome to the podcast. Kavitta, we're so excited to have you.

Kavitta  01:01

Thank you guys. Thank you so much for having me. I'm so excited to be here today.

Joleen  01:05

So just to kick us off, do you want to give a quick introduction of who you are?

Kavitta  01:10

Yeah, sure, I'd love to. So just a quick background on who I am what I look like for those of you who don't know me and can't see me right now. My name was Kavitta, like Joleen said, I'm 24. I'm originally from the Bay Area, but currently in sunny Santa Barbara, California. And I graduated from UCSB in 2019 as a communication major, and started Nectir, my junior year, because I was just fed up with school to be honest, I felt like I couldn't justify this $40,000 per year price tag, and I'm going to an in state public school. And it got to this boiling point where I was like, I'm not getting the value that I deserve. And I know other people aren't either. And something just has to be done about it. I think that we all know that education in America could use this huge revamp. And it sort of became a big enough problem in my life that I felt this drive this need to see if I could do something about it. So that's where I am today trying to fix that problem.

JoJo  02:10

So before I asked my first question, Kavitta, I just want to give a quick plug, because we've been friends for five years. And so this first episode is particularly special for me to have one of my good friends all Yeah. So thanks for being here. Yes. 

Kavitta  02:22

And thank you for having me.

JoJo  02:24

I've been able to witness you know, your growth with Nectir. But for our listeners, can you give a quick introduction of what the product is and how you started it?

Kavitta  02:33

Yeah, so I think the best way to is to take you back to the moment where I realized the solution to this problem of me not finding value in my classes and education was and for those who haven't seen it, Nectir is essentially, if you take Slack and Discord, and you make a platform for schools, that's essentially what it is. It's all of your classes on campus in one place. And you get automatically added to these group chats with the rest of your peers and your TA and your instructor. So basically, we wanted to make a hub, a courtyard sort of software that allowed you to do all of your campus communication in one place, whether that's, you know, talking to people in your class and asking each other questions or DMing, your academic advisor, joining a group chat for everyone in your dorm Nectir essentially solves all of those communication problems, and allows you to basically scale a campus. I've always hated school, but when I got to college, it really kicked in, because, you know, now I'm paying so much money for it. And I just could not understand why am I paying so much money for something that I can just go Google and probably have a better time learning off of that, than sitting in this lecture hall with 500 other people in a class that I really didn't want to take, but I just had to take. 

Kavitta  03:45

And so it wasn't until the summer between my sophomore in my junior year, I decided to take this class, which happened to be taught by a grad student. So he's a little bit younger, a little bit more tech savvy, sort of understood the problems that students were having. And he decided to use slack in the class. And it was the first time that I'd use anything other than email in my class. And it was just a wildly different experience than I'd ever had before. It was the first time that I actually was willing to go to class every single day because I knew the people that were sitting around me it was 100 Person class, but still, like, we were talking so much on Slack every night that we knew each other, we were friends. And it made me feel really comfortable asking questions. And honestly, the best part was that I didn't have to email the instructor or my TA, if I needed help with something like if I needed help with homework, or I needed to figure out when is the midterm due or something like that I could ask in Slack. And within a couple of minutes, someone else who was on it would just answer my question for me. And it was this lightbulb moment that I had of like why don't we put this in every single class why doesn't every single class on every college campus have this? It's so easy to talk and I'm actually getting the questions that I need answered in just a couple minutes which is lit really unheard of. And it also sort of fit in with the research that shows that the best way to learn is with the people around you. And so that was sort of how my journey with Nectir got started of trying to solve this problem of figuring out, why isn't something like Slack being used across a ton of campuses? Which there are some really good reasons why, and how can we bring this technology to every single classroom and circumvent any instructor or admin needing to put it in? Like, how do we give this directly to the students because they're the ones who are going to know what to do with it. So Nectir was sort of born out of trying to create something that solves all of those problems in one place.

Joleen  05:36

When you first recognize this problem, did you have a specific aha moment of realizing that you actually wanted to go and find a solution?

Kavitta  05:45

I realized at a certain point that I don't think there's ever a singular aha moment, I think it's a series of them that happened over your life or over a period of time, you assume that the aha moment is when you come up with the idea. But it's, you come up with that idea way before you even realize it. And so for me, the very first aha moment I had actually happened when I was in third grade. And that was the first time in third grade that I'd ever failed a test. And it was a math test. I think it was like a multiplication test. And I just completely bombed it. And you know, I grew up in the bay area. So if you're from there, you know how competitive that landscape is, even when you're in elementary school, everyone is talking about their grades constantly, there's sort of this Asian excellence going on across everyone. So parents are comparing grades and stuff. And and I sort of assumed, based off of all of my friends and my cousins and everyone that my parents were going to kill me. And it's like a third grader, and I'm sitting in class crying, because I'm like, how am I going to go home and tell my parents that I just failed a test, I remember going home that night being so scared to tell my dad and he was like, What's wrong, you could totally see there's something wrong on my face. And I just start crying. And I hand him this piece of paper. And there's like a note from my teacher and everything that like, I'm probably gonna get extra help and tutoring and stuff. And I just felt so stupid. And my dad sat down with me and told me something that completely changed the way I saw education from that point on. And he said, I never want you to associate your grades with how intelligent you are. This is not a representation of how smart you are. And it was the first time that someone gave me permission to disassociate my value and my identity with my grades, which is what everyone around me was doing. And from that point onwards, my parents never asked me, or like really got mad about my grades, they never really cared. They were like, as long as you stay in school, and you put in effort, and you do the things that you love, you know, money will come eventually. And we we trust you. And it was a very, very different experience with education that I had after that growing up than anyone around me. And I think that is what led me to this point of being like, it's okay that people learn differently. But we can use technology to make sure that everyone's style of learning is accommodated for. And that's what I'm trying to do with Nectir is allow every single person in class, whether you're the one that sits in the front of the room, and you love answering other people's questions, or you sit in the back, and you never want to raise your hand Nectir sort of evens the playing field for everybody. And I think that's so necessary and so important in schools, that sort of was my first aha moment that I think, you know, like 15 years later, ended up in me starting an ad tech company.

JoJo  08:34

Well, knowing that your dad is also an entrepreneur, do you think he was able to help you and your co founder a lot with building Nectir? Or is that generational gap too large?

Kavitta  08:43

Absolutely. He's, he's the type of person I actually just called him a couple hours ago, because I was feeling really burnt out. And it was just I was in that place where I didn't really want advice. I just wanted someone to be like, Yeah, I know how that feels, it really sucks. And to have someone that I can call at the drop of a hat. And they be, they're able to understand very quickly the situation that I'm in, whether that's, you know, raising money or talking to a mentor, investor, whatever that is, he can give me feedback on that, even though we are so far removed. We're in such different industries, he still has that understanding of the emotional side of of being an entrepreneur. But having that support system from him really early on, when this whole thing started made me realize how crucial it is to have mentors in this. Like it is so much more important than anyone tells you. 

Kavitta  09:34

Even if you're not in entrepreneurship. I think one of the biggest pieces of advice that we somehow miss when we're in college, is that we should be actively going out and seeking mentors and people who are willing to invest in our career development or personal development. And there are people out there so many who are absolutely willing to do that, who would love to hold your hand and guide you down that path. And especially when you're coming from first generation families like ours, they did grow up in a different country. You know my dad has a very different entrepreneurial experience than I did. And so it was really important for me to find those mentors early on, who even though they look very different than I do, they're still willing to show me how that path works in America under these circumstances.

Joleen  10:20

Yeah, I love what you said about, you know, asking for help. I feel like growing up in an Asian household, my parents always told me don't rely on other people. And that was kind of ingrained in me at a really young age. So yeah, I think to your point, it's like, you just have to ask and speak up. And there are so many people that are willing to help. But going back to Nectir, how was it launching? Nectir? When you were a junior in college? What was the process of building that up? While you were still in school? And what was it like in the early stages?

Kavitta  10:51

Yeah, it was very hard, it is still super hard to be as young as I am, and going out and selling these contracts to the, you know, these ginormous universities and colleges. But in the beginning, it was especially difficult. And I probably heard no, or this is stupid, or I don't understand what this is, how is this different from slack all of these questions all day long. For the first, I would say two years of doing Nectir. And I think a huge part of that taught me to have this very thick skin and be extremely resilient towards the advice that people are going to give you early on. Because you're gonna hear way more nose than you're gonna hear yeses. In fact, like, it's going to be a very long time before you hear a yes. Or like, wow, this is awesome. What a great idea. And so I think that's the point that I'd love to bring up for other entrepreneurs out there is don't be discouraged by people to be very frank like shitting all over your idea in the beginning, because that's just gonna happen. And in fact, that's actually a good sign. You want people to criticize your idea, tell you everything they hate about it, because that's what's going to help you make it better. It's like free consultations, free advice from people, they're just going to poke holes in it. And if you can fill those holes, and, you know, make up all the parts they're saying are bad. And, you know, still take it with a grain of salt. But that's what's going to really help you develop that idea and find your product market fit in the beginning. So it was super, super difficult. But it taught me that the only way that you make it in this game, no matter how good your ideas, I don't care if it's the next Facebook or if it's this, like the smallest little thing, whatever it is, people are going to tell you know, people are going to tell you, it's a bad idea. You have to believe in it exponentially more than anyone else would. And eventually, it'll work out.


So going back to talking about your dad and finding mentors, also shout out to our dads, we need to tell them, we love them. And should tell them thank you more often.

Kavitta  12:53


JoJo  12:55

You mentioned finding mentors that may not necessarily look like you or have the same background as you. So what has been your experience with going through that? And how have you been able to find mentors that make you feel truly supported?

Kavitta  13:08

Yeah, great question. It's still a journey that I'm on finding mentors. You know, just last week, I finally met the first female mentor that I have had in this whole process. Everyone before that has been a rich white man, to be quite honest with you. And that's what a lot of people in this space are going to look like right now. Because we're sort of the first or second generation who are coming in into this space looking very different than anyone has before. I would go to those mixer events. In the beginning, there were no women in these rooms, like there was so few other women entrepreneurs looking for mentors, and amongst the mentors, there just were no women at all. So you have to sort of develop your relational skills really, really well, to be able to hold conversations and ask properly for a seat at the table with these men who are extremely rich, extremely successful. And that's inevitably, you know, going to be somewhat intimidating. And so I really had to develop my people skills in the beginning, I think that's one of the most crucial parts about starting your entrepreneurial journey is being very, very good at talking and even better at holding conversations with people and developing long term relationships with them. That's extremely important. Having these mentors, like I balance anywhere between six to 10 mentors in my life at all times. And that takes a lot of you know, just sending emails every week or every couple of weeks and following up with them and checking in with their life and keeping up with articles that they post things that they publish their LinkedIn, so that you have things to talk about on that next phone call and knowing exactly what questions you want to ask them and what you need from them. And those are all really crucial skills that I think come before you even go seek those mentors knowing that when they do come into your life, how are you going to provide value to them? And how will they provide value back to you? I think the other part of what your question is that you're not going to see a lot of people that look like you in the beginning, if you have sort of the background that we do of being a, you know, bipoc, or being a woman founder. That's just the truth, right? Now, you're not going to see a lot of people in this space that look like you. And that's okay. But you have to understand that the only way that that's going to change is if you let these people help you, and you let them hold the door open for you and give you a seat at the table. Because that means that you will then be able to hold the door open for someone else that looks like you later on. And that's what makes it worth it for me is that, yeah, it sucks right now that none of my mentors look like me or have my background, and I sort of have to stick a round peg in a square hole to make this work. But in the future, I can be that for somebody who does look like me. When someone asks me, who do you look up to who's someone that's done what you've done, I don't have anybody, I don't know, a single person, a single Indian woman who has founded this company size that I want to have with my background, but 10, 15 years from now, when another girl gets asked that question, when she's in high school or in college, she might be able to point to me and say, look, she did that. And if I get to hold the door open for her and give her a seat at the table, that's two more women in the room that have ever been there before. That's where we start changing things. So I think our generation is going to take a little bit more resilience, but I think it'll be more than worth it once we're able to change the tide for people that come after us.

JoJo  16:42

Oh, my goodness, somebody get this girl on TED.

Joleen  16:44

Yeah, you need to get on TED right now.

Kavitta  16:47

If you if TEDx, if you're listening, I'm available.

Joleen  16:52

They're sleeping on you. Yeah, so speaking about, you know, your identity as an Indian American, as a female? How does that shape your working relationship with your co founder? Who is a white male?

Kavitta  17:05

Yeah, it's, um, I'm not gonna say it's easy, because it's not, he's an amazing person. And we were really great friends before Nectir came into our lives. So that definitely helps with the relationship. But I'm not gonna sit here and say that it's all sunshine and rainbows, because it's not. And anyone who's in this position where you lead a much different life than the person who is your equal partner. In this in whatever project you're doing you you're gonna know exactly what I mean, when you say that, almost every step of this is going to be different for you than it is for them. And even now, that's, that's how it is I told him in, we're very open with each other. And that's the only way that this works. Having that extremely, like, fluid, open communication, where I can honestly tell him like, hey, this happened, and it sucks. And I need you to understand it from my perspective. And I'm very lucky that he's such a kind and open, accepting person that he can sit there and listen to it and not feel personally attacked, but just feel very, like, I'm so sorry, that's happening to you, how can I be of help? How can I make this experience better for you, I got really lucky on that aspect. So be careful with who you choose is your co founders. But I remember telling him super early on, I need you to understand that, I'm always going to have to work twice as hard as you to get half the respect to get half of whatever you will get back. And that was sort of the moment that opened his eyes to it doesn't matter if I'm the CEO, and he's just doing the technical stuff behind the scenes and we face wise, look very different to people outside of the company, that doesn't matter. He's always going to have an easier time doing this than I will. And that's just the truth of the matter. And how that sort of manifested in the beginning and still does today sometimes is like, we'll be in these meetings where I'm pitching to, I don't know, admin of a new school, or investors. And it'll be the two of us sitting in the room with them. But I'm, you know, I'm usually the face of the company, I'm doing the talking, I'm doing the pitching. So I'll do the entire thing. And at the end of it, there's always someone in the room who will turn to Jordan and ask him the questions rather than me. Even though he said not a word through this entire thing. He's usually the one who gets asked and it it's one of those micro aggressions, it's very hard to put your finger on. But it cuts really deep because it made me realize in the beginning, it doesn't matter what I say or how good I sound when I'm saying it, they're still going to trust him more than they trust me, because he's a man because he's white, for all of these different reasons that I don't command the same respect that he does, just by his given birth rights. And that was really hard for me to come to terms with in the beginning and feel like I just felt like this isn't fair. 

Kavitta  19:58

And so before it even became a problem. I told him, I just got out of those meetings. And the first thing I said was that sucked, because they literally wouldn't ask me the questions. And he was like, I didn't even notice that I'm so sorry. But you know, telling him having that really open dialogue, opened the door for us to just be very honest about this stuff, and be candid when it right when it comes up, not like waiting for a good moment to talk about it. But just saying it when it happens, because this journey of being an entrepreneur is so so hard, like it is so difficult. And it's the only way that it's going to be marginally okay to deal with is if you and your co founder and your founding team are open and honest with each other about what's going right and what's going wrong. Because that's the only support system that you're really going to have at the end of the day. But going back to his response, and what I think has completely transformed my view of Nectir. And how we do this is, after that meeting, when I told him what went wrong, he said, Okay, here's how we solve this, when we go into these meetings in the future. And someone asked me a question, even after you've just spoken and explained the whole thing, I'll just direct the question back to you. You know, we'll use it as a teaching moment and shed light on the fact that you should have been the one getting asked that question. And it's not disrespectful enough to like really command any sort of cognitive dissonance in the person who asked, but it's enough that it changes the behavior in that moment. And maybe the next time that person won't make that mistake again, they'll notice, oh, I accidentally did this. Maybe my unconscious bias did that. And ever since he started doing that, we haven't had that problem. It's been great. And so I think that's really, really important in these sort of mixed founder relationships, not only being supportive and understanding, but also being an ally, and finding ways to actively change the behaviors that you see in the people around you that you don't necessarily like or that feel unfair.


Yeah, thanks for bringing this to light. Kavitta, I know, it's it's hard to experience moments like that, and then have to kind of relive them as you talk about them. So I really appreciate the vulnerability. And I'm glad that we're having these open and honest conversations, thinking about your entrepreneurial experience. Did you have any preconceptions before you started? Nectir? And do your experiences now match those preconceptions? Or did anything come as a surprise?

Kavitta  22:24

Yeah, that's a good question. I think my experience was a little bit different, because I saw so many people in my family, including my dad, start their own companies. And also I saw them fail a lot. And I remember growing up, I always said, like, I definitely want it to be I, my dad was CEO of his company. And so when I was little, he would take me to his office. And so I didn't really know what CEO meant. But I could see that my dad had like, a bunch of stationery and more stationery than anyone else had in the office. I was like, I want to have a lot of stationery. I was like three or four. And so I was like, oh, I want to be CEO. When I grew up. I would just like harp that to everybody when I was growing up. So you can kind of say, like, manifested it. Literally, I think I did. I actually think I did manifest it because I said it so much. So I guess you could say that this is sort of what I've always wanted, but I never thought it was going to be my own company. Because I saw my dad struggle so much when I was growing up, that I was like, how could this ever be worth it like, it is so difficult to have your own company, and to like, get a business started from the ground up, and especially to bootstrap it, you know, like, my dad never had any investors, nobody would ever invest in his companies. But he did it all on his own. And that's Oh god, I still don't, to this day, don't understand how he did that. So I thought it was gonna be a lot harder than it actually was to be honest, which I think is usually the opposite of what people think. But once I got started, I realized, I don't know what I was so scared of. If you have this genuine drive to solve a problem that you've experienced, that you think shouldn't exist in this world, it turns from just work, to I hate to overuse this word, but a passion like every day when I go to work and I where I open up, you know, our Nectir workspace and I see students chatting and I see it working. It's this constant reminder of how lucky I am to be doing something that to the rest of the world looks like work. But to me, it feels so fulfilling. It's this problem that I saw my entire life that made me feel so stupid, so low for so long. And I actually did something about it. And that is such an unmatched feeling that a lot of people say like, Oh, you have to be an entrepreneurial type or like there's a certain type of person that starts a company. While I might agree with that based on circumstances. I think that that feeling of solving a problem that you've had for so long, would be fulfilling to absolutely every single person on this earth and I truly wish that every got to experience it at some point. Because it's completely changed the way I think about my career, my work my self worth. 

Kavitta  25:07

The other problems that are affecting the world, it feels like there's hope for all of them, that someone will step up and fix all of those problems. It was only once I really got started that I realized how easy it is once you start asking for help, and just doing something every single day to push it forward. It doesn't matter if you move a millimeter in a day or a mile in a day. As long as you keep moving forward, you're building your company or building your business. And you're going to find people along the way who are going to see what you're doing and recognize its value and say, hey, I want to join you, or I want to give you money to do that, even more than you are now or I want to buy whatever you're doing. And those experiences one by one by one after a couple years will grow into a company. And that's what happened to us. It just felt like every single day, we tried a little bit harder than the day before. And then one day, it just turned into this. And it turned into contracts from universities and over 25,000 students using it and going and raising a pre seed round and having you know, all these mentors and investors and an academic advisory board and all this stuff that all of that just came from just me and Jordan saying every single day. What can we do? That's a little bit more than yesterday?

Joleen  26:29

Yeah. Is there a specific story that you can share where you realized the impact you're making on education and really inspired you to continue your work in this space?

Kavitta  26:38

Yeah, you know, we had Nectir going on at UCSB for a while before COVID started, but that was what got us our first contract and really kicked us into hyperdrive because we went from 5000 students to 15,000, literally overnight, like I mean, in the span of 24 hours, we just exploded because all the classes went remote one day, and they needed a way to talk to each other. And we had a ton of technical problems in the beginning. And that was really, really difficult to deal with. And it felt like we were failing. And I was going through like one of the lowest periods that I had had in this whole experience. When I kept watching our servers crash as more and more people got online. But finally, once we got them all sorted out, I started to go through the classes started to like, read through the messages, you know, just like make sure everything here just wanted to see like how people were using it in their classes. And I remember seeing this one channel. And this was like the first or second week after classes had gone remote. And you know, there was just a lot of uncertainty in the world. People were scared it was, it's still scary. But it was really scary. In the beginning, no one really knew what was going on around like March and April when COVID started last year. 

Kavitta  27:50

And I remember sitting in this class channel and I saw I think it was like a two or 300 person class. And Nectir is a very, it's made to be very informal. So we want to create these spaces that literally look like just IM chat rooms. So everyone's just having these really synchronous fluid conversations and there's no barrier to entry to speaking, you're using like emojis and slang words, and there's not really a profile, it's just your name, and you're sending a message. So it makes it super easy to just like say what's on your mind and interact with whatever everyone else is saying. And so I guess like the instructor was just as shook up as the students were, and she recognized it. And she said, Okay, you know what, instead of sitting on Zoom, this lecture, let's just talk out our feelings, like let's just vent to each other. And Nectir was the perfect place to do that, you know, you couldn't do that in a Zoom Room, everyone would be talking at once. So this was the only opportunity that they had had to get out all their feelings at the same time. And you just saw this outpouring of messages about people being like so deeply honest about what they were going through and how tough it was, you know, there were seniors saying, like, I'm sitting at home crying right now, because I'm going to miss my spring quarter, my last quarter in school, and I was looking forward to it so much. And many have students who were like, I'm International, and I'm stuck on campus, and I can't go home. And this is really scary. And I don't know what's happening. And everyone was just like, giving each other so much support. Someone offered food to someone who like wasn't able to go out and get groceries because they were really scared of getting COVID They were like, I'll drop off groceries for you. Like let me know where your dorm is. And I'm like, all of these conversations were just happening in front of like 200 other people. And I sat there like with tears in my eyes being like, holy shit. They would have never had these conversations had they not had this place to go do it. TAs instructors, students all sitting in the space like crying to each other about how hard life is. And that was just the whole lecture. And I know for a fact that made people feel so much better because they said afterwards like wow, I've been never had this experience in school before where I felt so comfortable talking about this, like, thank you guys so much. I feel like I'm friends with all of you. And, you know, everybody said that at the end of class. And it was such a fulfilling moment that made me realize this is exactly why we're doing this to create these experiences in the classroom that you would have never been able to had before. That technology can now afford us. And so that was the moment where I realized, Wow, holy shit, we made something super fucking cool. And I'm so proud of it. And I want every single student in the world to be able to have the experience that they just had.

JoJo  30:36

Dude good for you!

Joleen  30:37

That makes me so happy. 

JoJo  30:38

I wish I had that when I was in school damn

Kavitta  30:41

Yeah, thanks, guys.


Well, speaking of COVID, mental health has been really big on everyone's mind, especially this past year. And Kavitta, I know, it's something that you're really outspoken about, and you have been for several years now. And so I wanted to ask, What has been the biggest mental and or emotional hurdle that you've been facing? And how are you overcoming it? 

Kavitta  31:00

Yeah, I am a huge advocate for being very, very open about your mental health if you feel comfortable doing so because I know a lot of people are not comfortable with that. And I think the more we talk about it, the more open we are, the more it creates a space where everyone realizes I'm not the only one going through this, and I have the right. And I should be able to be as open with this, as I feel like being it's just as detrimental as having a physical injury. But it's one of those things where if someone can't see it, it feels like why should I talk about it, like I don't want to draw this attention to myself, I don't want to, I don't want people to feel like I'm making an excuse, or I don't want them to pity me, there's just so much stigma around talking about it. And so I'm really happy that you bring that up. Because I've been suffering with depression and anxiety since I was a kid. It's a like, hormonal and chemical issue. So it's not something I can really do anything about. But it's something that I lived with my whole life that I still experience every day today was one of the not so great days, and it's never going to be something that should hold you back, or that will ever be able to hold you back from achieving your dreams. There has never been a moment where I've thought, my depression or my anxiety could potentially hold me back from creating a billion dollar company. No, I refuse to let that be a reality. I think that if we're all open about this, and we're able to provide the right resources for people, we have the power to create a world that allows anybody no matter what you're going through, to be able to go and achieve the highest of your dreams. And what that's looked like. 

Kavitta  32:47

For me putting that into practice with Nectir is being extremely honest with myself every single morning about what I'm going through, like go waking up today and being like, Okay, I'm this shitty day, I'm not feeling so great. What do I do about that? How do I practice more self care in my day today, so that I can get the things done that I need to without ruining my mental health, and, you know, feeling like shit tomorrow and the week after. And so I know everyone talks about like, oh, do yoga and do meditation and download the headspace app and do all of these things. And it starts to sound like this broken record. But as annoying as it is, that's what you have to do. You have to find a routine, a list of things that you can do that when x happens, I will do y. So like today, when I wake up, and I know that I'm not having such a great day, I literally have a note in my phone that I can go through. That's a list of options that I have to essentially make myself feel better. So that's my concrete advice to anyone out there who's struggling with her mental health while trying to be super high functioning, have resources ready and available to you whenever you need them. To get you out of that headspace. And the second part of that advice is, it's okay to take a break. It's okay to have a bad day, a bad week, a bad month. Give yourself the space that you need to get better. Because if you're not 100%, if you're not okay, how is your company supposed to be? How are your employees supposed to be? Let's start it. Let's say you're not even entrepreneur. How can you expect to go out and achieve your dreams and achieve all these goals? When you're functioning at like 50% capacity, you can't. No matter how hard you try, you're gonna get burnt out. It's gonna affect your physical health. something's gonna go wrong at some point. And I think the first step to having the career you want the company you want whatever it is having the willpower to take care of yourself, because that's going to be the number one priority through all of this. Figure that out first and then go start a company go achieve your dreams.

JoJo  34:58

Well if you ever need friends to go to to give you support. You know, you got two right here. Thanks, guys. Such a big fan of you. You're one of the strongest people that I know. And I think it's really important to put out there that taking time for yourself isn't a sign of weakness but a sign of strength. Absolutely. Thanks for emphasizing that

Kavitta  35:17

could not have put it but it better. Thanks, Joe.

Joleen  35:19

So speaking of difficult times, what is the biggest challenge that you're facing with Nectir? Right now?

Kavitta  35:25

Oh, that's so easy raising money, it is so hard. And you guys have probably seen the bumble IPO happen a few weeks ago. Shout out to Whitney Herd, good for her. But when that happened, there was a lot of articles that came out that talked about how funding in women led companies is down 27% over the last couple years. And that makes no sense to me. Because if you look at the numbers, for every dollar that's invested into a male lead company, investors get about 30 cents back on those dollars. For every dollar that's invested into a female lead company, investors get 70 cents back on that dollar. So it quite literally makes no sense at all, why we are not investing more heavily in women led companies, they are financially doing better across the board. And so you know, I'm now experiencing this myself how difficult it is to go out as a woman CEO and raise money from to be fair, men like to be quite honest with you, I've seen two women in the last 10 meetings that I've had. So that has absolutely been the most difficult part of this. And I'm not gonna lie, it's pretty disheartening to be a part of those statistics to like, read those articles, and then experience just how difficult it is myself. But there's this fire inside of me that is like, Oh, now I really want to go prove you wrong. Now I really need to go raise this round. For not only this company, of course, I would love to have all of that money so that I can make Nectir into what I want it to be. But also because I want to make it easier for someone after me to go raise money.

JoJo  37:15

Well, given those moments, what do you think is something that you've experienced, that gives you hope about female entrepreneurs and the industry that you're in?

Kavitta  37:24

How supportive women are in this space with each other? It is, it's absolutely incredible to see the women that I have met in the entrepreneurial space, whether they're investors, whether they're mentors, whether they're fellow entrepreneurs, you immediately have this almost like familial bond with them, because you both understand without saying it, how difficult this journey is that you're on. And so I hope that I can give that you know, that light at the end of the tunnel for everyone listening to this that while this is still really difficult to do as a woman, it is so incredibly fulfilling to meet other women doing what you're doing. And that's been such an incredible part of this process that I wouldn't trade for the world. You know, even if Nectir failed tomorrow, I know that I'll still have these incredible connections with these inspiring women. And that has made this whole process worth it.

JoJo  38:19

The future is female.


So just to wrap up, we end our podcast with something called the untold segment. And this is where we ask about an untold moment that changed your perspective on your identity, on your career or on your life, are you able to share an untold moment that had an impact on you?

Kavitta  38:38

My untold moment, is not necessarily a specific moment in time. But something really near and dear to my heart, something's really beautiful that I've got gotten out of this experience. And that is the love that I have for myself. It is deeper and more profound than it ever has been before. And it's because, it's because of how difficult this experience has been my whole life. Not just this, but everything leading up to this being a woman of color is tough. It's hard. You go through a lot and you just have to keep pushing. And it doesn't get easier. I'm not going to tell you that it gets easier it doesn't it's going to get harder. But there is this unmatched respect and love that you find for yourself when you have to be the only one holding your hand and getting you through all of those really tough moments. It creates this trust that you have in yourself that makes you feel so confident in the fact that no matter what happens to me in this lifetime, inside or out of my career, I will be able to deal with it. I will get myself through it. I don't need anyone else to do that. But I have all of these other people in case I need That and that is something that I cherish so much, and something that is so unshakable. It's that type of confidence that it doesn't matter what happens to Nectir To me, I will have that forever. Because I truly believe that if there's anything in this world that I want to achieve, I will do it. And there's no one who can tell me otherwise.

JoJo  40:23

Well, I'm right there with you. I also love you.

Kavitta  40:27

Thanks, Jo. Love you, too. 

JoJo  40:29

Anyway, girl, I respect you and admire you. I support you. Thank you so much for being on our first episode of the podcast. And I hope to see you in person soon.

Kavitta  40:39

I think that amplifying these voices is so important. And you know, if there's someone out there who resonated with anything that I said tonight, thank you for being here for listening to my story for being a part of this. If you want to find me on social media or on LinkedIn, please go ahead and do so I would love to, you know, hear about your experience to maybe give you some one on one advice. If I can be the first mentor that you have. Absolutely, let's do it. I'm so down for it. So yeah, for anyone listening, please shout out to me. Yeah, hopefully,

Joleen  41:12

Life and business coaching directly from Kavitta.

Kavitta  41:16

Yeah, hit me up free for now. Charge later.

JoJo  41:20

To keep up with Kavitta and Nectir you can check out Kavitta's blog at kavitta.com and follow Nectir on instagram at nectir.io. If you've made it this far into the episode, thank you so much for listening.

Joleen  41:32

If you enjoyed this episode, please subscribe to support our podcast and the entrepreneurs we have on the show.

JoJo  41:38

Joleen and I are by no means podcast professional, so we'd love your feedback on what small businesses you'd want to see featured in future episodes. To learn more about untold and our future guests. Check out our Instagram at untold_co thanks for listening

Vicky Le
October 20, 2022

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