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Prerna Gupta, President
and Co-Founder

CEO Prerna Gupta of Desi Social Networking Site Yaari.com

When you don’t like your job, what do you do? Stay and deal with it or quit? In the case of Prerna Gupta, 24, a former Ms. Asia Oklahoma and recent Stanford alum, being a consultant just wasn’t exciting enough for her. Instead of continuing with the daily hum-drum of her work she decided to take matters into her own hands and start her own business. Prerna, CEO and Co-Founder of Yaari.com, a social networking community for young Indian adults, realized there was a huge market opportunity for this in India. She also recognized that starting an endeavor like this could not only be exciting and fun but very successful. Having her eyes set on becoming India’s largest and most used social networking site has kept her a very busy lady. Learn more about Prerna, her day-to-day responsibilities and her vision for Yaari.com as we feature her in this week’s Young & Professional profile.




June 2005



Name, Title

Prerna Gupta
Co-Founder and CEO




Shawnee, Oklahoma

Current residence

Atlanta, Georgia


Stanford University, BA Economics, 2004

Work Experience

Monitor Group, Consultant
Summit Partners, Associate


North Indian – New Delhi

About the company

Social networking start-up for South Asians, focused on India, created by Indian youth, for Indian youth.

Yaari integrates the most popular features from other sites, like customizable profiles and media uploading. But it has also introduced some of its own unique apps, like Yaari Mobile, which allows social networking from anywhere using simple SMS technology.

What are your day-to-day responsibilities?

Strategy — thinking of new features to implement, devising marketing strategies.

Management — discussing new features & bugs with developers, coordinating marketing activities, finances, responding to customer queries

Biz Dev / PR — interviews with reporters, meetings with potential investors / strategic partners, writing press releases, creating investor pitches / proposals

Most notable milestones

We launched in late September and have had an excellent response. We’re growing very quickly.

What’s the niche?

Yaari’s strategic vision is to become India’s largest and most used social networking site, by offering a superior product to capture market share from veteran players and developing a mobile-integrated platform to create a new market amongst less frequent users of broadband Internet. We have built a feature-rich site that is competitive with international players and plan to make it India-specific by emphasizing local content, geographical structure and mobile integration.

What’s the biggest challenge?

Staying ahead of the competition.

What’s in store for the future?

Becoming India’s largest social network!

Who would you like to be contacted by?

Media publications and anyone who wants to contribute.

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Best way to keep a competitive edge

Innovate, be responsive to feedback, and put your unique personality into the business.

Guiding principle in life

Know yourself, have the courage to challenge norms, don’t doubt, be comfortable with uncertainty and value people above all else.

Yardstick of success

Happiness, spiritual and intellectual growth and love.

Goal yet to be achieved

Become a role model to young women around the world.

Best practical advice

Enjoy what you do. If you can’t enjoy it, do something else. Keep your personal life in the top 3 on your priority list.

Supportive words from a family member or friend on your venture

Don’t give up.


My heart and mind.

What motivated you to get started?

Two things. 1) I was unhappy in my job, because I felt that I was wasting time. I wanted to do something that gave me creative freedom, allowed me to control how I spend my time and had a direct impact on others. 2) I saw an opportunity that excited me, and I believed in my ability to succeed.

Like best about what you do?

Creating something that people enjoy.

Like least about what you do?

The stress!

What keeps you motivated?

Confidence, the desire to “leave my mark” and the knowledge that, regardless of the outcome, I will always have my love, my mind and my body, which are all I need to lead a fulfilling and meaningful life.

At age 10, what did you want to be when you grew up?

An inventor.

Biggest pastime outside of work

Love and everything that goes with it.

Person most interested in meeting

Bill Gates; he has created the most successful philanthropic organization in the world, which emphasizes efficiency over ideology and measures success by impact on human life.

Leader in business most interested in meeting

Larry Page & Sergey Brin; they founded one of the most influential, innovative and progressive companies of our time, they are Stanford alums and they are our biggest competitors.

Three interesting facts about yourself

1. I grew up in a small town in Oklahoma, which is also the hometown of Brad Pitt.
2. I was Ms. Asia Oklahoma 2000
3. My dream (after making Yaari a wild success) is to be a famous author / blogger and live next to the Pacific Ocean

Three characteristics that describe you

1. Empathy
2. Intelligence
3. Depth

Three greatest passions

1. Love
2. Food & music
3. Thinking

Favorite books

Life of Pi, The Alchemist and Siddhartha

Favorite cause

Fighting obesity, eating disorders and ignorance about healthful eating.

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Interview by Sheena Singh
Introduction by Sumaya Kazi

Also this week

Phillia DownsLiza Elliott-RamirezKamin Mohammadi

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