networking with a giver’s mindset
Written by Helené van Tonder, a leap.club member
This week I spoke to Krutika Rastogi about her networking experiences on leap.club. Krutika is an entrepreneur with a background in engineering, marketing, and product. She’s currently building a digital mental health company aiming to redefine the traditional therapy experience.
Krutika struck me as a casual networker and someone who has a deep-seated giver’s mindset. “It’s not like I set networking goals for myself,” she told me, “I’m generally a people person, and genuine relationships and diverse perspectives are things I value. I connect with people when I like what they’re doing, and it’s my style to go into conversations with the approach of ‘what can I bring for someone else.’”
I love Krutika’s approach to networking — it’s the kind of networker I want to be as well. Below are some transcribed snippets from our conversation.
What do you love about leap.club, and superconnecting in particular?
I think there’s something rather unique about leap. There’s a sense of fraternity. It never feels like I’m doing a cold reach-out, even though I am reaching out to people I don’t know. Somehow, it’s okay to reach out to a stranger and to expect a friendly response and a good conversation — about anything or everything. It’s a safe and friendly space. I like that.
How do you approach networking, and what advice do you have for others?
I connect with people when I like what they’re doing, and it’s my style to go into conversations with the approach of “what can I bring for someone else.”
For example, when I reached out to you that first time, I did it because I just liked the activity you were creating on leap. I liked the things you were doing. I just wanted to speak with you and find out more. I’m not sure how you and I will be related in the future — that’s an open question, a blank canvas.
So I’d say, look at what’s happening around you. If you like something, let people know. See where you can add value; try to be of use to people. If it’s not clear how you can add value, then just stop by to give a shout-out to anyone who is hustling hard. If nothing else, it will lift someone’s spirits.
Networking is about relationships, right. It’s a soft skill for a reason — you can’t be very mechanical about it. Just see what you can give or put out there. Something good will come back to you.
Given that you’re an entrepreneur, are there any specific ways in which you benefit from leap.club?
Well, I guess I’ll be able to get some early adopters from the community. But the really valuable thing to me is the diversity of perspectives that I have access to. I’m an engineer, and I’ve worked in marketing and product roles. My own network mostly consists of people who have a background similar to mine. Any input I get from them would be limited and similar to my own point of view. But because leap has members from all industries, it gives me easy access to very diverse perspectives. Without it, I might be a little disconnected.
This is quite unique. Most other networking platforms — LinkedIn, Twitter so on — lets you connect with your existing network, like people you’ve worked with or went to school with. But that creates a bubble inside a bubble.
Tell me about some of the connections you made via leap.club.
Shrishti Sahu, co-founder at Hustle Hard Ventures
Shrishti Sahu was one of the first connections I made via leap. She’s a fellow entrepreneur. We have so much in common, we actually have this running joke of “have we been living the same life on different timelines here in Delhi NCR?”
She also started her entrepreneurial journey directly after university, but then took up a few roles inside companies. Talking to her has helped me so much. I didn’t really consider taking up a job, but I still wanted that affirmation from someone who did it and would nevertheless advise against it.
Shrishti has been a great soundboard. When I was ideating on my new product, I mapped it out as a first draft and sent it to six or seven people — including Shrishti. My relationship with her has been so helpful through all the cycles one goes through: “I have clarity. Oh no, I have so much self-doubt. Okay, I have clarity. Oh no, I don’t know if this is right.” It’s been great having her by my side.
Pearl Agarwal, Founder at Eximius Ventures
I reached out to Pearl Agarwal while I was still working on my previous startup. She was launching a fund in India and hiring for a COO. She just got back from the US and I thought she might not have relevant people in her network, so I offered to connect her with some people I know. I also wanted to get her views and opinions on what we were building.
Things unfolded and eventually led to a six-month-long working relationship between us. I basically became an entrepreneur in residence at her fund, and I helped out with their operations, marketing, content, and community initiatives. It gave me the exact right environment for figuring out what I wanted to build next.
As a founder, I’ve connected with investors before. But to have Pearl as an investor-friend and a work-ally is great. We were able to create a lot of things together.
That was obviously not my motive when I connected with her. I couldn’t foresee that this would happen.