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Ruzwana Bashir

Ruzwana Bashir Transcript

Ruzwana: My journey was pretty unusual in the sense that I grew up in the north of England in a small, a very tight-knit, conservative Pakistani community. And so, it wasn't really an environment that fosters the best kind of opportunities for young women of entrepreneurship. I started Peek after having worked for a few years in finance. I was extremely interested in the travel space. I went on a trip to Istanbul with my friends and I found it really, really hard to figure out what to do and then be able to book it. I thought that was a big opportunity in the activity space to help people book great things to do, whether they were at home or abroad, and so I started working on the idea for Peek and eventually started the business with my co-founder.

I think there's a few things that investors look at in order to fund a company and the first is, is the market really big? The next thing the people look at is the team. Making sure that you've got a group of people who are able to go out and scale business. And then, I think, the third piece has been around timing. The market that we're in has really been offline. You couldn't book their activities in real time on their websites. And so, what we saw was that mobile was gonna revolutionize that. Both because consumers are using their phones to find great things to do, but also because the tour operators recognized that they could use that mobile phone to run their whole business.

I think often what's happening in a lot of way that, with the way that kind of senior roles, a selectee can be because it's been an all-boys club or a friendship group that emerges. So, I think the first thing is just to kind of make sure that you're giving opportunities to people who are different. And ensuring that some of those social connections that are happening involve everybody. I think the second thing is to actually ensure that you are challenging people to take risks in their career. Often, a lot of the data shows that women will not apply for jobs until they're already meeting all the qualifications. And then I think the last piece is just ensuring that you have great diversity in the earlier parts of the funnel, when people are really junior joining your team. Make sure that you've got parity on the diversity side.

If you're thinking about becoming an entrepreneur, I think you've really got to make sure that the market team and timing is right. But beyond that, I think it's just to stay persistent. There are gonna be tumultuous moments. You know, someone wants to leave the team or you make big mistakes in the business. And I think it's really having the fortitude to stay through that and through the emotional ups and downs. I think that's a lot of the early stages of a start-up are around being able to get through the survival moments and having that persistence. And having that passion and confidence to keep going.


Ruzwana Bashir, co-founder & CEO of Peek, shares the inspiration behind helping people book great experiences, and advice for aspiring entrepreneurs on navigating through the ups and downs.