Sneha is the Founder & CEO of Step2Growth, a startup marketing strategist, tech enthusiast, speaker & mentor. Sneha started her career as a Software engineer at Cisco Systems and carved her way to becoming a marketing entrepreneur helping startups. Her passion for marketing and want to enable startups achieve their marketing goals affordably gave rise to Step2Growth. She has worked with multiple startups in Silicon Valley and helped them build a strong marketing foundation leading to measurable and extraordinary results. She is a mentor at leading accelerators like Founder Institute, CMU Swartz Center for Entrepreneurship, and an advisor at Loyal VC.
Q: What's your background, and what are you working on?
I am a Silicon Valley based marketing entrepreneur, who started my career as a software engineer at Cisco Systems, and moved on to being a business analyst and finally a marketing entrepreneur. Today as the founder & CEO of Step2Growth we have created a unique form of Marketing accelerator focusing on helping early-stage startups. Our programs combine mentorship & guidance with services & support. Our aim at Step2Growth is to help founders and startups become self-sufficient for their marketing needs. Depending on the stage and goal of a startup we mentor and guide them to learn and build on necessary skills they’ll need, at the same time support them by creating all the necessary assets to help them go to market. We work with founders on a one-on-one basis to create a scalable marketing infrastructure, unique to their business goals, and train their team, so that they can continue to grow.
Q: What motivated you to get started with Step2Growth?
I have been working with startups for a while, and observed that most early stage startups go through accelerator programs which train them well on building companies and scaling them. However, I felt there was a lack of focus on the marketing foundation. This led me to creating Step2Growth, a marketing accelerator for early-stage startups.
Most startups lack the time & expertise to build a strong marketing foundation. While there are a lot of companies helping startups at a later stage i.e. once they get traction and are a known company, I really feel that early-stage startups need help the most.
Q: How have you attracted customers and grown your marketing accelerator?
We are still in the growth phase, and are currently in our third year. We are largely using partnerships with other accelerators, networking, and events to attract customers. These add value to our existing customers, and also new startups. A majority of our customers are through referrals, so we are currently trying to build that network.
Q: What are your goals for the future?
We have been lucky to grow every year over our past three years. While we have been focused on the U.S. as a market, we plan and hope to expand globally. We want to add more modules into our combination model of services and mentorship and become a growth accelerator. We also want to continue to learn, so we can expand our offerings in the best way possible to help early-stage startups become successful.
Q: What are the biggest challenges you've faced so far?
Being brought up in a small town in India and then moving on from there to being an entrepreneur today has been a journey in itself. I moved to the United States after getting married, and set up Step2Growth here in the U.S, so adapting to the culture here was a big challenge. Gaining the trust of these new startups is also a big challenge with a major learning curve. As a solo founder, without a founding team, there's so much to do that it can get overwhelming. You can get burnt out. I’ve been lucky to have a very supportive and motivating family, so that helps put me through it. Even then, it is really challenging, which I’m sure a lot of other solo founders have felt as well.
Q: What's your advice for female founders who are just starting out?
Don’t let what the world says affect you. You are strong and capable, and no dream is big enough for you. Believe in yourself, and surround yourself with people who believe in you, because that will really help keep you motivated. It is important that you never underestimate your potential!