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It’s Best To Have Your Spouse As Co-founder Because Just Like Marriage, There’s No Halfway: Jaya Chahar

In a candid interaction with Marketing Mind, Jaya Chahar, Co-founder of JCDC Sports, the parent company of Trade Fantasy Game, opened up on how co-founding the venture along with her husband, Deepak Chahar, made people question her ‘seriousness’, the challenges she faced as a working woman, the need to concept of work-life integration and much more.

| Published on April 5, 2024

Celebrating Woman Leaders (Jaya Chahar)

Coming from a non-tech or what we may call a non-engineering background as well and working in companies such as Airtel, Universal Music Group, BBC, Star TV Network and the likes, it was the sheer love for ‘gaming’ which led Jaya Chahar to setting up her own online gaming company, JCDC Sports, alongside her life partner and prominent Indian Cricketer- Deepak Chahar, two years back.

With that being said, for all the people who have ridiculed her decision to co-found JCDC Sports along with her husband as just a ‘pass time’ for her, she has never failed to take the question headstrong as the truth lies in the fact that one of the reasons the Chahar couple went along really well with each other since the beginning was their shared love and passion for gaming.

“While Deepak knows more than 20+ card games and is an amazing PUBG player, I, myself, have grown up with every kind of PlayStation, progressing from PS1 to PS5. And it was due to this shared love and passion for gaming that we really got along since the beginning. Atop this, we had advantageous factors such as Deepak’s established brand name, our initial capital and my experience in developing online consumer platforms that we decided to blend it all in and launch JCDC Sports,” said Jaya Chahar, Co-Founder, JCDC Sports, the parent company of Trade Fantasy Game.

Jaya Chahar And Deepak Chahar Launch Trade Fantasy Game
Jaya Chahar And Deepak Chahar Launch Trade Fantasy Game

In fact, she also mentioned that it was within the first year of setting up JCDC Sports that the duo launched their first fantasy gaming platform Trade Fantasy Gaming, with Deepak himself taking the role of the brand ambassador.

Having launched just days ahead of Indian Premier League 2023, Trade Fantasy Gaming with no advertising spends and just one priority- ‘brand building’ saw a whopping two lakh user base for its application in its premier year and aims to onboard 5 lakhs users this cricketing season from across the country.

For all those who assume that this has been a stroke of luck, they’re mistaken as within one year of TFG’s launch, the platform under the leadership of Jaya not only rolled out its first ad campaign during the IPL, but in the consecutive year’s IPL did the same with a twist- they made the entire campaign comprising 50+ digital assets all in-house!

Reflecting on her journey so far and the progressive career trajectory she has had, she mentioned that it wasn’t without any challenge. In fact, in her opinion, there would be no one who would have faced more challenges than her.

“The challenges that I’ve faced range from upper delegation to lower delegation as some people with certain attitude problems don’t feel at ease when reporting to a woman nor take them seriously when the female tries to make a point. At times, they’ll probably go to a male colleague and treat them differently. And no matter how strong you are, things like these make you doubt whether you’re not good enough or is it just because you’re a woman,” she stated.

But the way that she has made her peace with such obstacles is by choosing her people or core team wisely, because even though the team has to be a mixture of skill, attitude and intent, what should match is the mentality of different people coming together to form the same.

When raising capital for her venture too, she mentioned that she has had encounters with investors who questioned her seriousness for the business just because they assumed that being a cricketer’s wife, it may be her passtime, making her contemplate whether the same questions and statements come her way if she was a male.

“But obviously, everyone who got associated with me understood my dedication and my commitment to building the venture. In fact, in the last two years I’ve barely had a chance to travel with Depak as I’ve been busy building JCDC Sports and TFG in Delhi,” she said.

Jaya Chahar
Jaya Chahar

On running a couple-led venture, she also mentioned that having one’s spouse as a business partner is highly advantageous.

“It’s the best thing to have a co-founder in your spouse because just like in marriage, you are in it together for good or for bad, for profit or for loss, rather than being just halfway through such things as it is the trust that counts,” she added.

Going back to the times when she was a part of the corporate world, she mentioned that the roles she has had and the jobs she did, including that in Airtel which she happily took with a pay cut as it was her dream company, have been a result of her meritocracy, hard work and perseverance.

“Getting a job in these places is as competitive for women as it is for men and none of these companies offered me a job because I was a woman, they hired me because I was the right fit for the role,” she said.

Upon being questioned as to whether she believes that women have had to prove their mettle to not just get where they are but also to be heard, she agreed and replied, “Although we have a seat at the table today, women are still underrepresented. However, the good part is that women from all backgrounds, including those from Tier 4 cities, want to work and succeed. The case is not that people don’t want to give jobs to women, but the deep-rooted societal norms and upbringing we have that shape our mentality in a way that many girls decide to get married after completing their basic education, but I’m glad that such mentality is slowly changing.”

With that, she also lamented the fact that the progress of gender inclusivity in tech industry hasn’t been at par and pointed out that let alone that fact that there are not many women at leadership positions in such an industry, she has barely met any woman working in the tech space.

To add more gravitas to this, she mentioned that since TFG is a mobile gaming platform and hence requires people in the tech team, she hasn’t been able to find women despite striving to create opportunities for women and achieving an equitable male-female ratio in the workforce.

Giving a new angle to the much talked about necessity to have a work-life balance while in corporate or business, Chahar stated that she likes to term it as ‘work-life integration’ because for people like her who cannot always take the time out to travel with their partners as there’s a business being set up in a particular town, the business tends to take the place of a ‘baby’ which the ‘mother’ cannot leave alone and hence integrate both work and life.

Jaya Chahar With TFG Team
Jaya Chahar With TFG Team

“Being a woman, if I have to take a menstrual leave, I should, even if its for two days in a week. But at the same time, if something that needs my attention comes up and if I say that I won’t work, it’s unfair because working in a corporate environment, I will have to give my best to complete the tasks and responsibilities that I have been given and hence we need to understand that it is work-life integration and not work-life balance,” she said.

When asked about who does she look up to in the industry, be it in India or globally, she at once mentioned the name of Indra Nooyi as she is someone who Chahar has not only followed since the beginning of her teenage but also resonated with as a woman on how she did what she did and the things she said.

She also acknowledged that she has faced similar emotional challenges and sacrifices as Nooyi as many women, being more inclined emotionally, like herself have had to face challenges while figuring their way out when pursuing individual aspirations and making personal and professional commitments.

Talking about her biggest milestones, she stated that becoming an entrepreneur is definitely one of them and said, “It’s like a dream to at least go out there, give yourself that shot, and make the innovation that you wish to, and I’m glad that I did.”

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