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How Neha Narkhede Fought Sexism to Be India’s ‘Youngest Self-Made Woman Entrepreneur’

At 37, Neha Narkhede, co-founder of Confluent made her debut in the IIFL Wealth Hurun India Rich List 2022. She has an estimated wealth of Rs 4,700 crores.

How Neha Narkhede Fought Sexism to Be India’s ‘Youngest Self-Made Woman Entrepreneur’

Neha Narkhede is the newest entrant to the (India Infoline Limited) IIFL Wealth Hurun India Rich List 2022. The list featured the 37-year-old as the ‘youngest self-made woman entrepreneur’.

An Indian-American with an estimated wealth of Rs 4,700 crore, Narkhede is the co-founder of a US-based streaming data technology company, Confluent. She is ranked 336th on the List.

Born in Pune, she moved to the US in 2006 to get a Master’s in Computer Science at Georgia Tech. According to her Linkedin profile, she worked at Oracle for two years, followed by a software engineer’s post at LinkedIn. 

Here, she was part of the team that built Apache Kafka, a distributed streaming platform that is used to capture data in motion

In 2014, with two of her LinkedIn colleagues, she launched Confluent, to bring this software to more companies, which has a market cap of $7 billion. She served as the chief technology and product officer until 2020. She is currently a board member.

Narkhede credits her parents for instilling a growth mindset in her.

Neha Narkhede, part of Hurun Rich List 2022
Neha Narkhede debuted in the IIFL Hurun Rich List 2022

“My parents did a number of things that still impact my life today. First, they instilled in me a belief that I could do anything. They helped me develop a growth mindset which allows me to approach things with the belief that over time I can learn something new even if I don’t know anything about it on day one. Second, they taught me the value of education. Third, they ensured that I was exposed to women role models; they were not in tech but they were women leaders in India that helped shape what I wanted to become in some way,” said Narkhede to Forbes.

Reading about Indira Gandhi, Indra Nooyi and Kiran Bedi “remains the single biggest influence in my career path,” said the 37-year-old.

In another interview to CNBC, she said, “My father would discuss stories of these women who broke barriers. This cultivated a sense of empowerment in me, and made me believe that if people like me can do this impossible thing, then I can too.”

Previously, she was listed in Forbes’ America’s Self-Made Women List in 2022, The World’s Top 50 Women in Tech in 2018 and Innovators Under 35 by the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) in 2017.

Today, she is an investor and advisor to companies like Gem, Block Party, Material Security, Abacus AI, Cortex Data, etc. 

She has a strong message for women engineers, “Develop the mental strength to fight biases and sexism. Do not quit,” she said to Forbes.

‘Meet Neha Narkhede, self-made debutant on Hurun Richest Women list’ Published on 29 July, 2022 Courtesy CNBC-TV18
‘Technista Talk: Neha Narkhede – LinkedIn Employee To Confluent Boss’ by Jumoke K Dada for Forbes, Published on 21 October, 2017
‘Co-founder of a multi-billion dollar company says a lesson from her dad was ‘the single biggest influence’ on her career’ by Kathleen Elkins for CNBC, Published on 23 October, 2019

Edited by Yoshita Rao

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