Behind Her Empire Podcast: How Hooked Founder Prerna Gupta Reimagined Fiction for Smartphones

On this episode of Behind Her Empire podcast, hear from serial entrepreneur and investor Prerna Gupta. After being at the helm of many successful startups, Gupta is now the CEO and founder of Hooked, an app that is redefining fiction for the Snapchat generation. Hooked has over 100 million viewers across social media, a short form video streaming app called Hooked TV, and has received funding from Ashton Kutcher, Mariah Carey, LeBron James and Jamie Foxx, to name a few.


Key Takeaways

  • Gupta grew up in the small town of Shawnee, Oklahoma, where she was acutely aware of her differences; she was a dark-skinned Indian girl with immigrant parents. Eventually, she embraced her differences as her strengths. Having a different vision is what it takes to be a successful entrepreneur.
  • Inspired by Facebook, her first entrepreneurial venture was to start a social media networking site in India called Yaari. Eventually, Facebook entered India, and Yaari closed.
  • Then, with her husband, Parag Chordia, Gupta started the company Khush, which developed apps including the successful LaDiDa and Songify.
  • Khush was acquired by Smule in 2011, which left Gupta and her husband wealthy executives living in a tony part of the Bay Area. But Gupta and her husband were left unsatisfied as they got their joy and creativity from building companies. So, they quit and moved to Costa Rica to figure out their next step.
  • Gupta was inspired by the book "The Lean Startup" by Eric Ries. Its basic premise is to build the simplest, most viable product and iterate on it with user data. This is the process she used for Hooked, her latest startup.
"I strongly encourage anybody...to just explore different options and to not get sucked into this idea that the only way to do something successful is to go raise money from some prestigious Sandhill Road VCs, because those voices are looking for something very specific and a lot of times money comes with expectations and it can actually oftentimes be detrimental...." -- Prerna Gupta

Prerna Gupta is the CEO of Telepathic Inc., which developed the smartphone app Hooked. She cofounded several startups focused on music, dating and short-stories.


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