Rajdeep comes as an early employee of WeWork after having expanding the shared workspace provider throughout Europe.
Together with Dara Huang, she co-founded Vivaouse – a world first in pop-up, pre-fabricated modular housing.
Tell us a bit about yourself, background and your current role
I’m currently the co-founder and chief executive of Vivahouse – a world first in pop up, pre-fabricated modular accommodation. I also a real estate venture development firm, CoCreations where we have helped institutional clients create and rollout operational businesses. I’ve previously worked at WeWork where I led the European roll-out, ebay as an Intrapreneur and even on a few trading floors in the city. I sit on the board of Macintyre charity and am a NED to Humble Works – a company that produces ergonomic standing desks.
Did you ever sit down and plan your career?
I do like the idea of a 5-year plan. What’s important to remember, though, is that things change as you embark on your professional journey, so you must be able to adapt as you go. You need to be brave in the world of entrepreneurship and remember that you are the only person able to get you in a position to stand out from the crowd. Planning a career with pen to paper is great but its important to never get too attached – you don’t know what life has in store for you.
Have you faced any challenges along the way?
I think when I was just starting out, it was a struggle to maintain self-confidence. I soon realised its essential to believe in what you’re doing because no one else will do it for you. Recently, though, I haven’t felt that dreaded feeling of intimidation or lack of self-belief. I’m all in on myself. I think risk taking and confidence are like muscles – the more you exercise it, the more you build! Today, even if I’m in a room with twenty men in suits, I know I am fully deserving to be there, that I have a fresh perspective and that I’m going to make an impression.
How do you feel about mentoring? Have you mentored anyone or are you someone’s mentee?
I have actually been a formal mentor at UCL for students studying MSc in Technology Entrepreneurship to help them turn their business concepts into a reality. That opportunity came from a lecturer who was a bit of a mentor for me – so a full circle. It was odd because at the time I was younger than a number of the students on the course – but I’ve always figured age is just a number! I wholly believe in the need to surround yourself with people who support and inspire you, and these people can come in many forms whether it be family, friends or colleagues. It’s an incredibly fulfilling feeling to know I’m having a positive impact on someone’s career.
Right now, though, I look at my business partners like Dara as a valuable part of my career – I learn a lot from her and I think she learns a lot from me, too!
What do you want to see happen within the next five years when it comes to diversity?
More women in property is a big passion of mine, but I do think we’re on an upward trend with this. What needs to be avoided it quota filling. This goes beyond property and bleeds right throughout business. Women – and women of colour – should be hired because they deserve that position, not because they fill out a diversity quota or tick an empty box.
What has been your biggest achievement to date?
This is a hard one! Our most recent Vivahouse launch was special as we went against the grain of a number of conventions and built a reality from what a year ago was nothing more than a crazy idea. When I look back it’s been a lot of little wins (and trips) over the years to get to a place now where I feel enabled to just work on things that I’m truly passionate about. It’s been over a decade long process to get there – it’s a marathon not a sprint.
What is your next challenge and what are you hoping to achieve in the future?
We want to take Vivahouse on a global journey. What we’ve created isn’t just a one-off pop-up solution, but a scalable and realistic answer for rental living. We already have interest in Hong Kong and New York, so for the future, we’re going to make Vivahouse the new standard of rental living in major cities around the globe.