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chandini jain, vicky brock, nicole eagan

From vision to venture: Lessons from women entrepreneurs

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Women entrepreneurs play a vital role in driving innovation, creating jobs, and boosting economic growth in the UK. According to the Rose Review of Female Entrepreneurship, ensuring equal access to opportunities for women could contribute up to £250 billion in new value to the UK economy. Hearing from successful women entrepreneurs can provide valuable insights, inspiration, and guidance for aspiring business owners. Sharing their stories, challenges, and triumphs can pave the way for the next generation of women entrepreneurs.

In this blog, we will be hearing from three incredible women: Nicole Eagan, Chief Strategy and AI Officer at Darktrace, Vicky Brock, CEO of Vistal Works, and Chandini Jain, CEO of Auquan and their lived experiences as successful leaders in the world of technology.
nicole eagan

Nicole Eagan, Co-founder and Chief Strategy and AI Officer of Darktrace, has shared her insights and experiences as a successful woman entrepreneur. With an extensive career in technology spanning 30 years, Eagan has worked in large technology corporations including Oracle and HP, as well as with early-stage startups and venture capital. Darktrace is a global leader in cybersecurity artificial intelligence and named one of TIME magazine’s ‘Most Influential Companies’ in 2021.

Eagan discusses her motivations for starting her own business, saying: “If you love innovation and thrive in dynamic, changing environments, you must recognize when the career path you’re on or the industry you’re in is no longer meeting that criterion. It’s important to realize when to make a pivot and to be willing to make the jump.”

When asked about how she deals with fear and doubt, Eagan encourages others to learn from them. “Embrace them–it is healthy and natural to have fear and doubt,” she encourages. “It’s a formative and critical experience for entrepreneurs and leaders to be able to work through fear and doubt and come out stronger on the other side. Investors want to take a chance on people who have failed along their journey and come out stronger with better ideas.”

She also discusses the secrets to her success.

“Three things: tenacity, life-long learning, and strategic thinking,” says Eagan. “Tenacity is that unyielding persistence that will allow you to hold fast to your mission as you face adversity and even weather some storms. Lifelong learning comes from that natural drive to explore, learn, and grow. Strategic thinking (not to be confused with strategic planning) is developing an overall sense of what’s going on in the world, your industry, in your market, and how that will impact your customers. It allows you to tap into future trends, be a thought leader, create new opportunities, and future revenue streams.”

Eagan is excited about the role Darktrace can and will play in shaping the future of cybersecurity for an AI-enabled world. She believes that the industry is at a very exciting juncture with artificial intelligence and that new and emerging technologies will require organizations to evolve and change how they think about cybersecurity.
vicky brock, ceo of vistal works

Vicky Brock is a serial entrepreneur and the CEO and co-founder of Vistalworks, a technology company that develops AI tools to detect harmful online content and illicit goods. Brock has won numerous awards for her innovation and leadership, and her company was selected by the UK Government as one of the ‘Most Innovative Cyber SMEs’ of 2023.

When it comes to starting a business, Brock recommends starting with a clear vision of why it deserves to exist and what problem it is solving.

“Be sure you have validated whether anyone else cares and has the same problem or has a different pain from the same problem,” Brock explains. “There needs to be a market bigger than you and your friends for an idea to work as a business, and people like you may not be the first market or most valuable market segment to develop into. So, understanding who else cares and if they will pay to make the problem less bad is a step you should never skip.”

When asked how to be a good leader, Brock aims to be authentic, honest, focused, and supportive of her team. She also tries to be courageous and take the first step into the unknown and the first punch on behalf of the team. “I hope my team knows I always have their backs,” she says, “Their trust and support make me a better leader.”

Brock’s success is a testament to her resilience, optimism, and determination. She believes that the only thing you can control is how you react to something, and that choosing to endure or adapt to what you can’t change is what powers resilience. “As an optimist,” she says, “I believe that, statistically, you’re bound to succeed eventually!“

Vistalworks, now on Microsoft’s Azure Marketplace, offers a unique data service to protect end-users and online platforms from harmful goods and content. The company is raising investment to expand its social impacts globally, with a goal of removing 10 million criminal listings and interactions on the open web by 2030.
chandini jain, ceo of auquan

Chandini Jain is a former trader and engineer who founded Auquan, an AI company that helps financial services professionals extract intelligence from unstructured data. After spending a decade in global finance, Jain founded Auquan to eliminate the inefficiency and human error in manual data work and empower finance professionals to make strategic decisions faster and with greater insight.

Jain’s advice for aspiring entrepreneurs is to recruit a great team, solve an urgent problem, and execute exceptionally well. She also emphasizes the importance of pacing yourself and staying healthy for the long haul. ”Identify what you’re really good at and recruit people who are great at the things you don’t excel at,” suggests Jain. “Which means recruiting great people is one skill you need to get great at no matter what. Building a world class team can’t be delegated or outsourced.”

When asked to give advice to someone starting their own business, she believes execution is a major factor to success.

“Sometimes the most successful startups are ones that solve an urgent and critical problem in a way that’s significantly better than the other options currently available to customers in your market,” she explains. “Execution is what separates winning startups from failures. Having a great idea is good, but a mediocre idea executed exceptionally well is better than a great idea executed poorly.”

Jain’s mother, a surgeon and a leader in her respective field, inspired her to pursue goals with confidence and equality. She believes that a good leader should delegate, unblock, and support their team. “My mother is a huge inspiration for me. She’s a surgeon and even heads up the state’s surgery department in India–an incredibly talented go-getter!”

What’s next for Auquan? In 2023, Auquan launched an AI-native Intelligence engine product for financial services, and 2024 is shaping up to be a breakout year for them. Jain is expanding the company’s presence in the United States, and ensuring the amazing team they have has everything they need to make sure Auquan’s customers are as successful as possible with their product.

 

The stories of Nicole Eagan, Vicky Brock, and Chandini Jain are a testament to the power of determination, resilience, and hard work. These women have overcome challenges and barriers to achieve success in their respective fields, and their experiences serve as an inspiration to all women who aspire to be entrepreneurs. Remember to embrace your fears, be tenacious, and never stop learning. With the right mindset and support, anything is possible.

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