Ladderworks is a publishing platform of diverse picture books and online curriculum with the mission to empower over a million kids to become social entrepreneurs. Our current series features interviews by our interplanetary journalist Spiffy with inspiring Social Entrepreneurs, Entrepreneurship Ecosystem Builders, and Changemakers who are advancing the UN SDGs.
Spiffy here! I’m back with the scoop on the entrepreneurial leaders of Planet Earth. As the only interplanetary journalist stationed on this blue planet, I’m thrilled to present this galactic exclusive with Amita Goyal, co-founder and CEO of Playback. Let’s see what she is doing to make a positive impact in the world.
Spiffy: Thanks for joining me, Amita! Tell me, what challenge are you addressing at Playback?
Amita: Thanks for having me, Spiffy! Today, there are 33 million small businesses in the United States alone. Many of them are struggling to be profitable and grow their business. We are helping these small businesses to increase sales and engagement through our video platform.
Spiffy: That is a great mission! What motivated you to do it?
Amita: I grew up in a rough neighborhood in Jersey City back in the '90s, where I watched my dad battle endlessly to keep his small business afloat. His determination and resilience left an indelible mark on me. With my startup, Playback, it's a chance to change not only my own life but also be a beacon for other small businesses, just like my dad's. Our video technology is all about helping these small businesses grow and increase awareness.
Spiffy: How would you say that your startup is working towards a more equitable world?
Amita: We're more than just a business; we want to do good in our community. We support women entrepreneurs—we helped many women-owned businesses and female creators with our video marketing technology. We empower young talent—we provide internships to young professionals, nurturing their growth and future. We provide mentorship—I actively mentor women through programs like First Round Venture Capital and FirstGen, sharing experiences and insights to guide their journeys.
Spiffy: Tell me about a recent organizational milestone or initiative. What impact does it make on your audience/community?
Amita: I'm proud to share that we recently reached a major milestone, selling Playback for a seven-figure valuation (without ever meeting my co-founder in real life!). This one hits home for me personally, considering my own humble beginnings. It's a big source of pride because it sends a powerful message to women, especially women of color and those starting from scratch—it tells them that taking risks, building businesses, and achieving success is entirely within their reach.
Spiffy: Please share an experience when you faced failure and didn’t give up. What did you learn from it?
Amita: As a first-time founder, I became intimately familiar with the concept of failure. It was a tough road, marked by numerous challenges. The most telling instance was our encounter with rejection—a whopping 73 rejections before we finally had an investor believe in us and our vision. But it didn't end there. We found ourselves pivoting our business model not once, but three times over the course of three years. Each pivot was a lesson in humility, adaptability, and the necessity of evolving to find our niche in the market. Through this journey, I've learned that the secret sauce to success lies in not giving up, no matter what happens. It's about pushing through disappointments, rejections, and setbacks with unwavering determination.
Spiffy: Is there anything else you would love to tell our audience?
Amita: My dream of starting a company was clouded by fears—doubts about growth, financial stability, and my CEO abilities. In the past decade, I invested in myself by getting an INSEAD MBA, joining Boston Consulting Group (BCG), and working at a fast-growing startup. I cultivated a range of soft and hard skills crucial for effective leadership, and I diligently built financial security as a safety net. My journey also involved global experiences that enriched my perspective. My advice for those facing similar fears—confront these fears head-on, strive to become stronger, acquire the skills and experiences needed, and be ready to embrace the risks that will propel you toward success. Fear isn't a hindrance; it's a catalyst for personal and professional growth.
Spiffy: Thanks for speaking with me today, Amita—it’s been an honor!
Amita Goyal is the co-founder and CEO of Playback, a video marketing Software as a Service (SaaS) startup based in New York City. She holds an MBA from INSEAD and has worked at firms like BCG and UBS. Outside of work, Amita enjoys mentoring women in startups, enjoying the art scene in New York City, and doing yoga. (First published on the Ladderworks website on October 30, 2023.)
The views and opinions expressed herein are those of the interviewee and do not necessarily reflect those of Ladderworks LLC.
© 2023 Ladderworks LLC. Edited by Sujit Kunte. Spiffy’s illustration by Shreyas Navare. For the Ladderworks digital curriculum to help K-3 kids advance the UN SDGs, visit Spiffy's Launchpad: Creative Entrepreneurship Workshops for K-3 Kids and their caregivers here.