Lost and Founded Series - Roshni Mahtani

How does Roshni Mahtani, Founder of Tickled Media, afford the time to juggle all her endeavours? As it turns out, she doesn't quite like sleeping.


Author: DBS BusinessClass, Administrator of DBS

"Every moment I spend sleeping is an opportunity lost."

Those are the very words from Roshni Mahtani - the ambitious and upfront Founder / CEO of Tickled Media - best known for launching the popular online magazines Asianparent.com, Kidlander.sg and Pregnant.sg. Tickled Media has since been named one of the world's most democratic companies by WorldBlu and ranked among Singapore's 10 hottest startups by the Singapore Business Review.  

Based in Singapore, Roshni is actively involved in the entrepreneurial startup scene. She is also the founder of the Female Founders Network (a burgeoning collective of 450 female entrepreneurs), a board member of TiE Singapore and a mentor at startup accelerator JFDI Asia.

How does she afford the time to juggle all her endeavours? As mentioned, Roshni doesn't like sleep. In fact, she only has 4.5 hrs of it daily. 

People say you are "Roshni Mahtani, Founder of Tickled Media, the publisher behind three of Asia's largest parenting sites – theAsianparent.com, pregnant.sg and kidlander.sg. Also Founder of the Singapore Female Founders Network". Who do you say you are?                                          

While work is a huge part of my life, I don't let it define me. Most people know me as a publisher and a founder, but I'm also a women's rights advocate, a fun travel buddy, a whiskey connoisseur, a dog lover - and I'm not the kind to get queasy over cleaning up puppy litter. Really, I am just a girl who is trying to make a positive mark in this world.

What was the best moment in your start up life? It was so good you wanted to fly Business Class somewhere with someone, and pop open the most expensive bottle of champagne there.

I love celebrating so there have definitely been many of such moments. :)

How about the lowest, crappiest moment in your start-up life? Have you ever cried? You wanted to give up everything. You wanted to kill someone. (During your startup career of course) 

I started Tickled Media in the middle of the financial crisis in 2009. I didn't realise how hard it was going to be to make revenue and raise funding. There were many times in the beginning when I did cry myself to sleep but I never ever wanted to give up. Giving up is not in my DNA.

What secret did you hide from your co-founder or partner or parent for the longest time? Why?

I am extremely transparent. I am not a big believer of keeping things hidden. I think people hide things because they are unable to face reality and, thankfully, I generally like to embrace reality!

What's the most eccentric thing about you? If VCs found out, they won't have signed the term sheet then. But hell with that now.

I'm not run of the mill - I'm a hipster at heart. One quirk is that I love bright yellow - sunflowers, rubber duckies, yellow pens, yellow bedsheets etc.

What are you up to today? What gets you up in the morning?

If you look at my Fitbit, you will realise I hardly sleep. I sleep an average of 4.5 hours a day. So it doesn't take a lot to get me up in the morning because I don't really like sleeping in the first place. I believe every moment I spend sleeping is an opportunity lost and that doesn't sit well with me.

How do you keep yourself physically and mentally fit for start-up life?

A bunch of us entrepreneurs in Singapore go for spiritual classes weekly. We study the Bhagavad Gita (Hindu Scripture) and relate its teaching to being an entrepreneur and running a business. Physically, I try and hit my 10,000 steps a day.

Offer a life hack (or two) to a young founder.

Don't stress too much about a product. The most important thing is to launch and get the users and revenue. You can always fix the product later on.

What's the movie or song that best describes you?

Someone special dedicated the song, "This Girl is on Fire," to me on my birthday last year. Whenever I have a set back, I tend to blast it on my speakers.

Favourite quote?

"Remember even this will pass away" - Swami Chinmayananda

Who and what inspires you?

I think you can get inspiration from anyone around you. This morning I met with Nick Vujicic and I was definitely inspired by his accomplishments and how he managed to maintain an upbeat outlook on life.

Tell us about Roshni Mahtani in 2030.

I can't look so far ahead to 2030 but in 2020, I see myself having adopted at least two children. I also hope to have grown the Female Founder's Network, an association that I am starting up with other inspired and fabulous female founders. Our vision is to accelerate the female start-up ecosystem in Singapore, by increasing it from 5% to 20% female funded start-ups by 2020.

Name 1-3 start up founders in Singapore you'll like to hear answer these questions.

Meri Rosich, CEO / Founder of App Strategy Labs and Quality Time
Gina Romero, Founder of The Athena Network
Carmen Benitez, President / Managing Director of Fetch Plus

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