Priya Y. Atri is the Founder & CEO of Convivo, India’s largest marketplace for flexible housing solutions including co-living spaces and workstations.
Before founding Convivo, Priya worked for 3 different startups in a similar industry as a core team member for more than 6 years which let her develop a liking for community living.
Priya’s professional journey started with CoHo in 2015 as a Business Development Associate and grew up to the position of AVP-Sales & Marketing within the span of 4 years with her devotion. She was the single point of contact for all sales & marketing activities, brand alliances & process building.
Priya then decided to become the consultant for India’s first Women Specific Coliving space “Let’s Cove” and helped the team to build the business from scratch. Through her expertise, Priya helped the brand in process building, hiring, and creating the base of the company.
Thereafter using her expertise, Priya joined “COVIE “A new age coliving startup” which is the only brand in India catering to 3 different segments “Students, Young Professionals and Seniors” as their first employee. She single-handedly was responsible for creating the base of the company by involving herself in various functions like sales, marketing, operations, and Human Resource. She in fact built all the processes for the business to work smoothly.
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Table of Contents
Thank you so much for doing this with us! Can you tell us a story about what brought you to this specific career path?
Priya Y. Atri: My interest in coliving space started when I stepped into my professional life with 1st company. I loved the way coliving established its presence in the market by creating spaces that promoted community and belongingness amongst the members. Being associated with the industry from the scratch, I developed the required skills and found the existing gap in the market as people were not educated about the new concept of living. Hence the idea to launch Convivo came into existence when I personally faced the issue of searching & comparing such options while shifting to another city for my job purposes.
Can you tell us a story about the hard times that you faced when you first started your journey? Did you ever consider giving up?
Priya Y. Atri: Entrepreneurship is tough and demands unshakable vulnerability. Having a passion for building something on your own is the utmost required thing but it’s not always as easy as it seems. Leaving high-paying jobs and starting something from scratch with no financial backup takes a back seat and sometimes the mind asks to give it up. But that’s what entrepreneurship means: high risks, high returns. I just believe in “Go with the Flow”
What are the most common mistakes you see entrepreneurs make and what would you suggest they do?
Priya Y. Atri: In my opinion, a lot of early-stage entrepreneurs devote less or no time to market research.
Has the pandemic and transitioning into mostly online shopping affected your company positively or negatively?
Priya Y. Atri: The two major segments of Convivo are – Coliving (Long-term Stays) and Workation (Short or Medium-term Stay). The interesting part is people are comfortable booking for their short-term stays online. However, people are generally skeptical while booking a place online for their long-term stay. Thus, the impact has been completely contrasting for our 2 segments.
The pandemic has surely reminded us of the significance of online and internet infrastructure and we are glad that we were pretty comfortable tackling the pandemic situation although revenue numbers took a dip in the shorter run.
In your opinion, what makes your company stand out from the competition?
Priya Y. Atri: Convivo aspires to create an inclusive and affordable world for everyone. This platform would be used by different groups like students, working professionals, couples, nuclear families, etc. We intend to provide every option of the community living spaces in all the prominent cities of the world to our users, whether they plan to move for long, medium, or even short term. This venture has been started by two real-life partners who met in a community living space, worked for a co-living startup, and decided to fill this gap between users and operators.
You are a successful business leader. Which three character traits do you think were most instrumental to your success?
Priya Y. Atri: Firstly, I don’t consider myself successful yet. I still have a lot to experience, learn and achieve. Having said that, if I have to share few fundamental skills or character traits that have helped me both personally and professionally to grow and succeed, these will be perseverance, self-confidence, and an empathic approach toward others.
How important do you think it is for a leader to be mindful of his own brand?
Priya Y. Atri: As we are taught in yoga, meditation, and Santana dharma, every human has the capability to live blissfully if they are mindful of themselves. Similarly for a leader to be respected and successful, he/she should be mindful of his own self/brand. It is important for a leader to grow personally as well along with the brand and not to fake it, just to impress a few people.
What’s your favorite leadership style and why?
Priya Y. Atri: I am someone who believes in creating a sense of belonging among my team members. So, I can say my leadership style in bookish terms will be called affiliative leadership. I like to go out for drinks with my team on the weekends, have a one-on-one discussion with them and discuss their motivations to have a better understanding of them. This is helping me to develop my early team and ensure that everyone is liking what they are doing and are in line with the company’s vision.
Do you think entrepreneurship is something that you’re born with or something that you can learn along the way?
Priya Y. Atri: Especially for someone like me who is a daughter of ex-army personnel in a family who has been into farming and defense forces only and not a single working woman prior to me, I can vouch that one can learn anything to which one sets their mind to. You can take inspiration from anyone and everyone but one thing which one should remember is that you might need to unlearn a lot in the process to learn something special.
Entrepreneurship is just the same, one has to be a part of this startup world to understand how it actually works. No book can develop that courage and resilience within you where you have to tackle the situation and question whether to keep it running or pack your bag.
What’s your favorite “life lesson” quote and how has it affected your life?
Priya Y. Atri: For me, my favorite quote has to come from my favorite movie, “The Intern” and the quote is “You’re never wrong for doing the right thing”.
This quote allows you to be courageous to do things if you believe it’s the right thing to do, even if others might think otherwise. I somewhat think this quote encouraged me to quit my job where I was getting paid handsomely but I was not feeling complete and since I am having this quote as my laptop wallpaper all the time, it helped me to think and reflect on what I was actually feeling and helped me to take the decision to start my own venture even when my parents were not in support of my step.
Jed Morley, VIP Contributor to ValiantCEO and the host of this interview would like to thank Priya Y. Atri for taking the time to do this interview and share her knowledge and experience with our readers.
If you would like to get in touch with Priya Y. Atri or her company, you can do it through her- Linkedin Page
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