32-year-old startup founder’s death sends shockwaves across Indian social media

Pankhuri Shrivastava died of a cardiac arrest last week, the company announced on Monday

Maroosha Muzaffar
Tuesday 28 December 2021 11:58 GMT
32-year-old startup founder, Pankhuri Shrivastava died on Friday, 24 December 2021
32-year-old startup founder, Pankhuri Shrivastava died on Friday, 24 December 2021 ( Super/YouTube/Screengrab)

A 32-year-old Indian entrepreneur died of cardiac arrest on Friday, leaving the startup world shaken and grieving.

Pankhuri Shrivastava, the founder of rental startup Grabhouse and Pankhuri, a women-focused social community platform, suffered a heart attack on 24 December, her company announced.

The start-up world in India was in shock after learning the news of the young woman entrepreneur’s death.

Pankhuri, the startup’s Twitter account announced on Monday: “With profound grief and sorrow, we regret to inform the sad demise of our beloved CEO, Pankhuri Shrivastava. We lost her on 24th December 2021 due to a sudden cardiac arrest.”

She founded Pankhuri in 2019 for women to socialise, explore, and learn new skills on the platform. Prior to that, she was the founder of another startup, called Grabhouse which was in 2016 sold to another Indian company, Quickr.

“Yesterday it came as a shock to me when I found out that @pankhuri16 is no more. I remember her as a vivacious bright woman full of ideas and full of life. She was confident. That was something you noticed about her immediately,” tweeted Vani Kola, a venture capitalist with Kalaari.

Shrivastava was born in Jhansi in Uttar Pradesh, north India. Ms Kola said: “She was incredibly satisfied that she opened an office in Jhansi & gave opportunities to girls to work in jobs that gave them a strong identity.”

Pankhuri raised $3.2m led by Sequoia Capital India’s accelerator programme, Surge.

Rajan Anandan, the managing director of Sequoia Capital India wrote on Twitter: “Deeply saddened and shocked by this sudden loss. Pankhuri was so full of life, ideas and passion and had a missionary zeal.”

Shrivastava’s current estimated net worth was $1 million.

Shrivastava graduated with an engineering degree from Rajiv Gandhi Proudyogiki Vishwavidyalaya in Bhopal in Madhya Pradesh. She has also taught children in Mumbai’s government-run schools under the Teach for India fellowship program.

In December last year, Pankhuri got married at Hotel Raj Mahal, The Palace Orchha in Niwari district, Madhya Pradesh.

Co-founder and CEO of classifieds app Lokal, Jani Pasha, shared a video of Shrivastava from almost 10 days ago. He wrote: “Full of life & energy! Hard to believe what has happened. Hope you are in a better place now. Farewell, friend.”

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