[S1,E15] Hackaton ninja, inventor and engineer – Priya Kuber left her life in India for love. A year later she introduces a shape wear that tracks body measurements.

I met Priya in San Francisco during one of the meetups dedicated to female founders. As she was already a fan of Valley Talks, we started chatting about the talk show and the value it brings to her. Soon after, she told me about her story and her product – Fidl – an intelligent shape wear that tracks body measurements. And it blew my mind!

Priya moved to Silicon Valley a little over a year ago from India. She’s always had an entrepreneurial soul, playing business as a child and dreaming of having her own company. In India she studied engineering, gained lots of programming skills and won several hackatons (despite the fact that – as she underlines – she was not 100% good at math). Her dreams came true as she did several own projects and managed businesses in her home country.

Eventually, she decided to leave her comfort zone and move to Silicon Valley. For love! Today she works on an invention that stole women’s hearts on one of the San Francisco hackatons, where she and her team won the 1st prize!

Priya during engineering process on a hackaton:

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One of the judges trying the product:

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How did Priya start a new venture in Silicon Valley? How did she make it to legally work in USA? What’s her strategy in devoting time and money to a new hardware startup? How is she approaching the smart body measurements market?

Watch the interview and learn more about Priya’s story!

A lovely shout out to our partners: Runway Incubator for providing amazing space and to StyleBee for fabulous styling (use a special promo code VALLEYTALKS for $25 OFF of your first styling by StyleBee!)

A BIG thank you to our sponsor UnStock — an on demand community and marketplace for mobile videographers.

Here are some highlights from the interview:

  • You don’t have to be 100% good at math to be an engineer:

    “Interestingly, my father would always say: ‘You have to be perfect at math to get into engineering. You can’t do engineering’ – because I was not perfect at math. If someone says ‘You can’t do it’ about something I believe I can, I try to put my heart and soul into it and do it for myself. I was 60% good at math and 90% into creativity. So I thought that maybe I could learn aspects of technology, that would enable my creativity to create systems and help people.”

  • Each time Priya works on a new project, she uses funds gathered while working on the previous one:

    “I have bootstrapped all the way from my second year university until now. Earned from one place, invested in another place, tried to build something, get some money, reinvest.”

  • Founders shouldn’t fear of talking about their ideas:

    “I learned how collaboration works, that you should not be scared to put your idea out there fearing that somebody would steal the idea. In fact, you get better feedback if you share your idea with the right people.”

  • While having a stable and secure life in India, Priya decided to abandon everything and start from scratch in USA:

    “I am restarting again. I’ve left whatever I’ve done and this is my, you could say, second life. I moved without work permit. I didn’t know what I would do. I spoke with my husband and he said ‘Ok, we’ll figure it out.’”

  • Priya would never do a business with a boyfriend or a spouse again:

    “That’s a lesson I learned very early in life. When I was 21, naive, I found a great, enthusiastic co-founder. I was dating my co-founder, I can say that on a camera today. That had a lot of impact on the way we felt about each other. When I broke up, I lost the company, we were fighting for pieces. You lose a friend, lover and a business.”

  • Priya admires her advisor and co-founder for how she managed things as an early monther:

    “At a hackaton, I was surprised at the resilience of a mother. She came with a breast pump. She left enough milk at home, and just before the presentation she had to leave. She said ‘I’m here till now, you have to take care from here on’, and I was like ‘Ok’. I had a lot to learn from her on the way she approaches the problem.”

  • Although Priya invented the technology behind Fidl, she understands and respects the value that her co-founder brought to the company:

    “The company and shares is always a tough talk, but I know for sure that we both understood what each of us brings to the table. Just because I invented it, I developed it, I would not say that it’s my own invention. People generally underestimate the idea person, and I would say: ‘Never underestimate that.’”


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