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

Yasmin Nouri

Yasmin is the host of the "Behind Her Empire" podcast, focused on highlighting self-made women leaders and entrepreneurs and how they tackle their career, money, family and life.

Each episode covers their unique hero's journey and what it really takes to build an empire with key lessons learned along the way. The goal of the series is to empower you to see what's possible & inspire you to create financial freedom in your own life.

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

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.


Want to hear more of the Behind Her Empire podcast? Subscribe on Stitcher, Apple Podcasts, Spotify, iHeart Radio or wherever you get your podcasts.

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This Week in ‘Raises’: Saviynt Lands $205M, Pagos Secures $34M

Decerry Donato

Decerry Donato is a reporter at dot.LA. Prior to that, she was an editorial fellow at the company. Decerry received her bachelor's degree in literary journalism from the University of California, Irvine. She continues to write stories to inform the community about issues or events that take place in the L.A. area. On the weekends, she can be found hiking in the Angeles National forest or sifting through racks at your local thrift store.

This Week in ‘Raises’: Saviynt Lands $205M, Pagos Secures $34M
This Week in ‘Raises’:

While it was a slow week of funding in Los Angeles, security vendor Saviynt managed to score $205 million that will be used to meet the company’s growing demand for its converged identity platform and accelerate innovation.

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LA Tech ‘Moves’: Saviynt Gains New CEO, The FIFTH Taps Agency Veteran to Lead Creative Team

Decerry Donato

Decerry Donato is a reporter at dot.LA. Prior to that, she was an editorial fellow at the company. Decerry received her bachelor's degree in literary journalism from the University of California, Irvine. She continues to write stories to inform the community about issues or events that take place in the L.A. area. On the weekends, she can be found hiking in the Angeles National forest or sifting through racks at your local thrift store.

LA Tech ‘Moves’: Saviynt Gains New CEO, The FIFTH Taps Agency Veteran to Lead Creative Team
LA Tech ‘Moves’:

“Moves,” our roundup of job changes in L.A. tech, is presented by Interchange.LA, dot.LA's recruiting and career platform connecting Southern California's most exciting companies with top tech talent. Create a free Interchange.LA profile here—and if you're looking for ways to supercharge your recruiting efforts, find out more about Interchange.LA's white-glove recruiting service by emailing Sharmineh O’Farrill Lewis (sharmineh@dot.la). Please send job changes and personnel moves to moves@dot.la.

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Los Angeles’ Wage Growth Outpaced Inflation. Here’s What That Means for Tech Jobs

Samson Amore

Samson Amore is a reporter for dot.LA. He holds a degree in journalism from Emerson College and previously covered technology and entertainment for TheWrap and reported on the SoCal startup scene for the Los Angeles Business Journal. Send tips or pitches to samsonamore@dot.la and find him on Twitter @Samsonamore.

Los Angeles’ Wage Growth Outpaced Inflation. Here’s What That Means for Tech Jobs

Inflation hit cities with tech-heavy workforces hard last year. Tech workers fortunate enough to avoid layoffs still found themselves confronting rising costs with little change in their pay.

Those national trends certainly touched down in Los Angeles, but new data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) show that the city of angels was the only major metro area that saw its wage growth grow by nearly 6% while also outpacing the consumer price index, which was around 5%. Basically, LA was the only area where adjusted pay actually came out on a net positive.

So, what does this mean for tech workers in LA County?

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