On The Digital Highway

From derivatives to driving businesses, Rupa Ganatra believes that technology is the game-changer

Businesses need to evolve to cater to the ever-evolving digitally savvy customers. Sensing an opportunity in this environment, Rupa Ganatra along with her business partner, Simon Berger, launched Millennial 20/20, an event series focused on this aspect of business. After holding the first series in London in April this year, she brought it to Singapore this September before heading to New York early next year and then to London.

Ganatra is no newcomer to business, having graduated in economics from the University of Manchester and then worked at RBC Capital Markets. By 29, she was the Head of Middle East for Derivatives. After that, the entrepreneurial bug bit her and she launched and invested in several businesses. She was named one of Management Today and The Sunday Times 35 under 35 Women in the UK in 2014.

India Se caught up with the 34-year-old British Indian during her visit to Singapore. Here are excerpts from the interview:

India Se: Tell us a little about your formative years.
Rupa Ganatra: I had a wonderful childhood and upbringing. My parents have always been very encouraging. My father always said that “you only learn to do things better from making mistakes”.

India Se: What prompted you to get into the business, considering that you were a banker for many years?
Rupa Ganatra: I come from a family of entrepreneurs and grew up with business all around me. I was always interested in setting up my own businesses and knew it was only a matter of time before I ‘bit the bullet’ and branched out on my own.

India Se: Tell us about the Millennial 20/20 Summit. Why has it been brought to Singapore?
Rupa Ganatra: The Millennial 20/20 APAC Summit celebrates the modern age of commerce and business powered by the millennials and future consumer generations. The summits focus on the impact of technology and the rise of the internet of things which is drastically changing how, where and when we consume and interact with brands, retailers and start-ups.
We stage three summits annually to cover the important regions of Europe, North America, and Asia Pacific. Singapore was a natural choice for us to host our Asia Pacific event as it acts as the business capital of Asia and has an ever-growing start-up eco-system.
Millennial 20/20 has been created with the belief that business events need to advance with the times and deliver a curatorial, experiential and personalised experience for everyone.

India Se: What is your assessment of the start-up scene in Singapore? Do you see a lot of potential here?
Rupa Ganatra: The start-up scene in the whole of Asia Pacific is growing at a fast rate, which is why we chose to bring M20/20 to the region. Singapore, in particular, seems to have embraced the movement and pioneers from the front in many fields. This new stage of commerce and industry is an evolution, not a revolution, and the sooner all companies embrace this ethos, the better equipped we will all be.

India Se: In which areas/sectors do you see interesting work happening? And why?

Rupa Ganatra: It is evident how technology plays a large role in shaping the future of commerce across various industries. However, it is the way we ‘talk’ to potential customers that excites me the most — and the different methods we employ to communicate our messages. Singapore is a thought leader in the world’s smart city domain and is, therefore, championing future mobility, sustainability and smart nation technology. I can only see this sector grow even more.

India Se: Apart from work, what are your other interests and hobbies? Tell us about your family now.

Rupa Ganatra: My work life is my hobby; you cannot be an entrepreneur and not enjoy what you do! I love creating new ideas and find the development of an idea to fruition an incredibly challenging and satiating experience. However, I also love to travel, enjoy all manner of different culinary delights and I pride myself in looking after my body and mind; so fitness, yoga and meditation do play a healthy part in my life.


Nithya Subramanian

Nithya Subramanian has worked with India Se since its launch in 2007. She currently manages the editorial content of the publication as well as the digital media platforms. Her responsibilities include planning, assigning and overseeing production of the content that goes into the different media platforms. Nithya has over 18 years of experience in print journalism having worked in several leading publications such as the Hindu Business Line, The Telegraph and A&M magazine. She has covered a wide range of sectors such as banking & finance, health, media & advertising, which enables her to bring in a lot of value in the editorials of India Se. She has been living in Singapore for the last 12 years and has two children Sriya (11) and Kritin (8).