As we leap into May, AAPI month, our Fintech Female Friday series will feature inspiring women from Asian American and Pacific Islander background through the month.
Chandrika Maheshwari is the founder and CEO at Pull, a company on a mission to revolutionize the way people access and manage their earnings. Chandrika began her career in management consulting at Bain & Company. In her time there, she was really drawn to tech which then led her to joining Google India as a Product Marketing Manager. During her time at Google, Chandrika had the opportunity to work on YouTube Ads Marketing with some of the industry's brightest minds. However, she felt the urge to explore beyond and left Google to go to business school at MIT Sloan.
While in business school, Chandrika gained experience in product management and secured a summer job at Nike working on their digital products and found her niche. After graduation, Chandrika moved to the Bay Area and joined DocuSign as an early growth product manager. This experience was challenging, especially with the peak onset of Covid at the time, and Chandrika is grateful for the valuable insights she gained. After a couple of years at DocuSign, she joined Plaid in the early phases which gave her a unique perspective and the confidence to take the leap of faith to build Pull, a next-generation financial services platform.
One of the things that drew Chandrika to Plaid was the mission of unlocking financial freedom for everyone, a deep passion of hers. As the founder and CEO at Pull, she gets to do more with her passion. "We are an early stage startup with a small team and that means I’m getting to do a little bit (and sometimes a lot!) of everything. My main focus areas right now are building our team, the product, and delivering delightful experiences for our customers."
Chandrika is excited for the impact that Pull will have on the industry and the community. "At Pull, our mission is to revolutionize the way that people access and manage their earnings, with the goal of improving financial well-being and loyalty among employees. We believe that by providing advanced access to earnings, we can empower people to take control of their finances and make better decisions about how to use their money, and enable them to create generational wealth."
At Pull, Chandrika also fosters a culture where the team is passionate for and loves building the intersection of technology and finance to achieve their mission. "In any of the roles at Pull, we spend 90% of our time doing—speaking to customers, building products or processes to help the team grow faster. We ruthlessly prioritize protecting our time and potential — and 10% of our time learning— working with exceptionally kind teammates who share an interest in growing together."
More on Chandrika
Where you currently live: San Francisco, CA
Living arrangement: I live in a loft apartment with my partner and a lot of plants!
Hometown: Jaipur, India
Favorite hobby: Running when it’s nice out and bouldering when it’s not
Favorite part of your day: Morning ritual of drinking coffee and going on a short walk on most days
Favorite show to binge: Currently obsessed with Shark Tank
Favorite podcast(s): Acquired, Erika Taught Me, The Tim Ferriss Show, Philosophize This!
What is the most important lesson you have learned from a mistake you’ve made in the past?
One mistake I made in the past was doubting myself and letting negative self-talk hold me back. I used to believe that I wasn't good enough or qualified enough to pursue certain opportunities. However, over time, I've realized the impact that my own thoughts and beliefs can have on my actions and outcomes. I've been more self-aware and worked to replace any negative self-talk with positive affirmations and constructive feedback. This has helped me approach challenges with more confidence and has opened up new opportunities.
Do you have any productivity hacks? What keeps you motivated? How do you maintain a work/life balance?
Writing things down on a piece of paper - it’s such a simple thing but helps me get a lot done and be more intentional about how I’m spending my time. I usually put calendar blocks for finding time to do the things that are on my list.
Being a founder can be all consuming because there is no off-switch. Finding activities that help me focus and hanging out with a great group of friends who have no overlap with my work really helps me switch off once in a while.
7:00 am: Wake up, make some coffee, watch the news, go for a walk with my partner
8:00 am: Start catching up on emails, make a to-do list and organize my calendar and take a shower and if I find time maybe make/pack some lunch
9:00 am: Start with calls and meetings that are usually one of these three - team calls, investor calls and customer calls
12:00 - 1:00 pm: Take a break to eat lunch sometime in this window
5:00 pm: Leave for home and listen to a podcast on the way
6:00 pm: Go for a run or a bouldering session at the gym
8:30 pm: Catch up on ~2 more hours of work
10:30pm: Start winding down, scroll through Twitter or read things I bookmarked over the day
11:00 pm: Go to bed!
Weekends (mostly Saturday)
7:00 am: Wake up, make some coffee, watch the news and get a lazy start to the day
8:30 am: Start making breakfast at home or making brunch plans
9:30 am: Step out for brunch or hike or a walk around one of the farmers’ markets in the city
1:00 pm: Get a bite to eat and slowly make my way back home
4:00 pm: Go for a run or workout/boulder at the gym
6:00 pm: Host a dinner party followed by a friendly game of poker or some board games
9:30 pm: Say bye to guests, clean up and play something in the background
11:00 pm: Go to bed!