Meet Semlani - Mountbatten Program

Meet Semlani

Meet Semlani

Entrepreneurial Alumni

Program: New York

Intake: March 2015

Current Roles: Co-founder and CEO at Tartan


Describe your business and your role within it
I am the co-founder and CEO at Tartan ( ).  Tartan provides the infrastructure for businesses and end-users alike to access workforce data. Applications leveraging Tartan can allow their end-users to credential their work accounts securely, providing source-based data for more efficient underwriting, monitoring, and a tailored user experience. With Tartan, customers can get a loan or credit card in 2 mins using their employer’s credentials and providing secure access to their income and employment status which is used by banks and fintechs to make decisions.

How did you get into this line of business?
All my working life I have been involved in the financial services industry, and with the experience I gained in New York and getting first hand exposure to tech innovations in the US was fascinating to me. After being awarded the William Ball Entrepreneurship Award, I was determined to start my own business some day. I left my corporate job and moved cities to join a small-time startup to understand the nitty gritty of running a business. With the Covid lockdown, I was able to focus in on the idea and build a business plan around it,  finally launching Tartan.

How did you go about setting it up and getting established?
Covid lockdown was a blessing in disguise. I was laid off from a start-up and was not able to get a job soon. This meant I had a lot of free time and nothing to do on the work front. This is when I started discussing the ideas that I had with a few friends and they gave me some valuable feedback and connected me to the right people. I met my co-founders and we met regularly over zoom calls for 2 months to get everything planned out and prepare for the launch.

What else is in the pipeline?
Hiring and expansion. We are actively recruiting people who can build with us. For now the business is based in India but we will be going global in about a year’s time.

What has been the proudest moment in your working life thus far?
Leaving a comfortable corporate job and joining a start-up as the first employee and scaling it to 22 employees.

What has been your biggest mistake/learning experience?
Not asking for feedback has been the single biggest mistake. I constantly ask for feedback on anything that I deliver, having another pair of eyes to look in to certainly helps.

Who are your role models?
Naval Ravikant – Investor, Philosopher

Any words of advice/wisdom would you impart to others thinking of setting up their own business?
If you are thinking of starting up, just get something out live, eg: website, article, Tweet etc, and see how the world responds to it. Once it is live, things start to get real and it translates into motivation.