Rashmi Melgiri is Co-Founder of CoverWallet, a tech company reinventing the $100B commercial insurance market for small businesses. Based in NY and launched in 2016, the company has received over $35M in funding from leading investors, including USV, Index, Two Sigma and Foundation Capital.
Rashmi has over ten years of experience in the technology and media sector. Before founding CoverWallet, Rashmi was a strategy consultant at the largest North American TMT consulting group, Altman and Vilandrie & Co. A frequent speaker at insurtech conferences and outspoken champion for women’s leadership, she was the first licensed insurance advisor at CoverWallet. Recently Rashmi was named one of the 42 women in tech who “crushed it” in 2017 (TechCrunch), and Crain's 40 Under 40 Class of 2018.
Rashmi holds a bachelor’s degree in Economics from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), and an MBA from MIT Sloan.
With groups creating programs to encourage females to consider STEM, what is the biggest barrier to entry that is still prevalent today?
I cannot espouse what is true for every girl and their interest in STEM. Growing up, I was always curious and into every single subject in school. I started to really love math and economics in high school, which ultimately carried through to college. That said, there are a lot of theories and research that have been shared around barriers to these careers for women that make sense to me.
Studies show that the “gap” in STEM interest starts in school and comes from two sources. The first is early social culture and stereotypes that suggest girls and STEM subjects don’t match up or that they don’t have the skills for the subject matter. Social norms from a young age perpetuate thinking and lead to people to think that “girls can’t do math.” The second thing is the lack of women in STEM careers. We all want to work in fields where we believe we will be successful, valued, and have a sense of belonging and community. I think once we address these two things, more girls will feel encouraged to pursue careers in STEM.
What or who inspires you?
I am most inspired by people who share honest, open experiences. When someone talks about their struggles, their accomplishments, and everything in between, there is a lot that we can learn from them. I admire people who are willing to share and make a difference for other people.
Two other qualities that inspire me are creativity and originality. When I see someone creating something truly unique, which can only be done when they put aside their inner dialogues and when they put aside worrying about what other people might say, I think that is awesome. The ability to take a chance and do your own thing is inspiring.
What is your proudest moment/accomplishment?
I have two and don’t laugh. In 1999, my high school team placed in the top four in the country for the Federal Reserve Competition, which consists of a presentation about the state of the economy and economic policy. I got to meet Alan Greenspan who was the Fed Chairman at the time.
I also care deeply about the impact I have on the people I care about and those around me. I’m very conscious about making a difference in the quality of life for my family, friends, and employees. Each time that happens, it’s something I feel very proud of.