An Interview with Neha Mathur, Co-Founder, Personifwy

pic of Neha Mathur_Berkeley ExecEd participant

Neha Mathur is the Co-Founder at Personifwy, an advanced analytics-based enterprise SAAS platform that helps organizations drive their employee engagement for business success.

Personifwy believes that people are at the heart and soul of an organization. It is imperative to make them feel valued and make their opinions count.  Empower them to share their feedback and enable them to succeed. 

“Why do people stop working for organizations despite of being on their payroll. There are multiple underlying factors that cause people to disengage, it could be because of bad managers, poor teamwork or developmental and skill gaps. This lack of motivation or disengagement starts affecting individual productivity leading to decreasing ownership and receding morale. Resulting in a huge cost to the organization. Productivity loss due to disengagement costs the world economy 7 trillion dollars”, Neha says.

With that premise, Personifwy enables organizations to derive and change this cost, which is the cost of disengagement, and turn it around to be a return on engagement. Businesses with highly engaged teams experience a 20% lift in productivity and 22% improvement in profitability.

Berkeley Executive Program in Management (Berkeley EPM) - the birthplace of an idea

The idea took shape through an award-winning capstone project during the Berkeley EPM which encouraged the founders to bring it to life, thus Personifwy was conceptualized. With the able guidance of professors at Berkeley throughout the program, the founders were able to use the learning and build a product that was market ready.

“The complete program was very enriching, right from the design thinking classes by Prof. Sarah Beckman, that gave us a different perspective towards looking at all aspects of business. Prof. Holly Schroth’s shadow negotiations were very insightful. So were those meaningful business games, we played to be able to understand the intricacies of business. Our visit to Plug and Play (Tech Center) is another thing that stood out to me. The most impactful was being able to sit through the Demo Days at Berkeley SkyDeck.” she recounts about her Berkeley EPM journey.

“And the financial classes helped as well. A lot of us were not from a financial background, but the professors quashed our worries and told us that we need not to know exactly how an accountant makes a balance sheet, but rather taught us to make meaningful decisions as a company’s leadership. Prof. Wasim Azhar’s classes on marketing gave us an in depth understanding of marketing and has been instrumental in how we are projecting ourselves in the market today. Even after the program, we have been able to contact the professors to get their expertise on various aspects of the business,” she adds. 

“We designed our product, keeping in mind all the things we learned and that’s why we were able to take Personifwy a notch above the competitors in the market,” Neha explains.  

A leap of faith with the support of Berkeley EPM

Being new to entrepreneurship, Neha speaks fondly about her new horizons and experiences in comparison to her life before Berkeley EPM. “Before the program I was a thorough-bred hotelier with over 16 years of experience in the hospitality industry. I was cocooned in the realms of hospitality operations and had worked with brands like Marriott, The Ascott Limited, and at that point when I joined BEPM, I was the Corporate Head - Rooms Division at Sterling Holiday Resorts (Limited).” 

“Where I am today is a huge leap from where I was before the program. BEPM has completely changed my paradigm of thought. It has broadened my horizons and I have started understanding the world outside hospitality. I have gone from being a hotelier to a founder of a  tech-enabled platform. It has been a huge change for me and without the program it wouldn’t have been fathomable. My whole journey of change happened because I joined Berkeley EPM,” Neha asserts. 

“We also got a lot of support from the Northwest leadership team, especially Tamhant Jain. There were many small hiccups along the way during the journey, and our first reaction would always be to call him up to figure it out. And we always got incredible insights from him on any aspect of the business. That gave us the support we needed and helped us resolve our problems early on,” she recollects.

A cohort that helped develop the company

Neha expressed her gratitude towards her peers for being the support her company needed throughout her journey. “The entire cohort has been there to encourage and help us through-out our entrepreneurial journey. As students learning together, the best part was that we were not competing with each other, nor were we judging each other. There was a different kind of bonding with this incredible team of people from various facets of the industry. And every time we needed any help from any one of them, we were able to get it. Even after the program ended the interaction and support continued. I think the best part about the entire program is the cohort that you become a part of.”

Berkeley EPM serving as a launchpad for success 

When asked about the highlights of her journey thus far, Neha recounts the moments that have stood out the most for her. “Being an early stage startup you have more challenges than eureka moments, but the ones we have had have been life changing. The first was when I gave up all the perks of a corporate life and decided that I should become completely invested in this business. None of my family members have been into business, so I'm the first businesswoman in the family and have received a lot of support there. My second eureka moment was when the first big client came on board. And the recent big moment, for the entire company, is definitely being accepted into the UC Berkeley SkyDeck Incubator Program. We are truly excited to be a part of this program and hope to gain maximum benefit to steer Personifwy into becoming the industry leader in people analytics.