Cirkled in - Reetu Gupta
Company: Cirkled in, Redmond, WA
Company Description: Cirkled-in is like "LinkedIn for students - only better". Cirkled-in is a secure and centralized platform designed just for students. Here they compile all their accomplishments over time through their academic life– both inside and outside school. By sharing their holistic profile with recruiters, students increase their acceptance rate. And when Students succeed, Schools succeed!
Nomination Category: Individual Awards Categories
Nomination Sub Category: Female Entrepreneur of the Year – Consumer Services –10 or Less Employees
Nomination Title: Reetu Gupta, Founding CEO
Describe for the judges the activities and accomplishments of the nominated entrepreneur since the beginning of July last year (up to 525 words):
Reetu Gupta was born and raised in a small town in India. She moved to the U.S. after AT&T hired her. After 20 years of corporate career, she started her company, Cirkled-in, to help K-12 students prepare for today’s drastically changing admissions landscape.
Starting July 2015, Reetu started marketing her software offering to students and families. Soon, she noticed “At Risk” youth gravitating to Cirkled-in, who were most in need of an online repository platform. Reetu changed her marketing strategy towards nonprofits and public schools with high free/reduced lunch students. Since July 2015, she has launched Cirkled-in platform in six nonprofit organizations and six schools.
In November 2015, a startup guru, Steve Blank, interviewed Reetu on Sirius-XM radio. This was followed by a blog post on Huffington Post, which gave Reetu visibility and credibility in startup community. Steve Blank highlighted her tenacity as key to her career success.
In December 2015, Reetu was awarded a Distinguished Alumni award by her engineering college, National Institute of Engineering in India, a 52 years old institution that has produced more than 25,000 engineers. Reetu’s dad collected the award on her behalf and she felt an enormous happiness to give her dad that moment of pride.
With focus and passion for education, Reetu always finds opportunities to support education system. In January 2016, Reetu became a core member of CLC (Citizen Levy Committee) for her local school district to pass a bond for supporting overcrowded schools. From September 2015 to June 2016, she also served on Gifted Education Advisory Council’s board that supports high IQ students in local school district. She is also on CTE (College and Technical Education) Advisory board for a neighboring school district. She supported PTSA in their semi-annual financial reviews and other critical tasks.
In February 2016, Reetu and her company were selected as one of the 40 companies, out of 1200 applicants from 60 countries, for Startups Grind’s Global Annual Conference. In March 2016, Cirkled-in was nominated for “The Best Product/Service of 2016” for the eastside in Seattle Metro area. This was followed by three major news coverage for Reetu and Cirkled-in, twice in Seattle Times and once in the 425 magazine. In June 2016, Cirkled-in was shortlisted as one of the 10 finalists for TechCrunch pitch-off event in Seattle. In just months, Reetu took her company from a brand new launch to supporting dozens of organizations with more than thousand users, and organic media coverage.
In spite of a busy schedule, Reetu actively volunteers in her local community. As an alumni of University of Washington, she often participates as being guest speaker, panel discussion appearance, and business competition judge. She has been on UW Foster’s mentor network for two years and actively mentors MBA students.
In parallel to her startup, Reetu managed to keep a decade old Indian tradition of annual Diwali celebration alive in her neighborhood, by starting a non-profit organization. In October 2015, under her guidance, Diwali was celebrated in Redmond-Ridge neighborhood with an 8-hour event attended by more than 800+ people. Because of her leadership on various issues, she is very well respected in her community of 1600 homes.
Provide a brief biography of the nominated entrepreneur (up to 125 words):
Reetu Gupta is founding CEO of Cirkled-in, a secure, centralized platform designed for K-12 students to compile their school life achievements. Reetu is a marketer, engineer and entrepreneur who bridges the gap between technology and customer needs.
Reetu was born and raised in a small town in India and could never imagine starting a company in U.S. Through her tenacity, perseverance, hard-work and ethics, she overcame many roadblocks. Reetu brings 20 years of technology and business expertise to Cirkled-in.
Reetu strongly believes in giving back to the community and volunteers her time for various organizations. With Cirkled-in, she hopes to leave a lasting legacy in the field of education. Reetu earned her MBA(Valedictorian) from University of Washington and MS(Honors) and BS(Honors) from NIT, India.