STEM: Aarthi Ramamurthy, Lumoid

This article is part of our Create & Cultivate 100 List created in collaboration with KEDS, you can view the full STEM List Here.

Try before you buy, 2.0

Lumoid Founder & CEO Aarthi Ramamurthy is betting that the only thing better than buying is trying. Because purchasing gadgets can pricey (read stressful), Lumoid is eliminating the guesswork with an online service that lets you rent and test professional quality camera and audio gear, fitness trackers, drones, and more. This way, you can guarantee your satisfaction with a product before committing to it. Even better? The money you spend on renting goes toward the total purchase price. What’s not to love?

Coming from Chennai, India, Ramamurthy was recruited by Microsoft a year before even graduating college. Prior to founding Lumoid three years ago, she worked as a software engineer at xBox and Netflix, becoming an expert in consumer electronics and studying the psychology behind how people buy. “Getting the product off the ground was easy,” says Ramamurthy, “But, hiring is always a challenge — as it should be — really good people are few and hard to find.”

In 2017, women sadly still hold less than 25% of all jobs in STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Math). It’s a gross gender gap that Ramamurthy takes seriously, and does her part to remedy. “I feel strongly about how few women are taking up STEM and engineering courses, and I’d like to change that and see more women enroll in them,” she explains. As one of the few female founders in a traditionally male-dominated industry, Ramamurthy embraces her role as inspiration and mentor. “I help other female founders who are earlier in the process of building their company — I try to help with fundraising, introductions, or just talking through their issues.” While she’s all for supporting other women, she looks forward to a time when female CEOs no longer need to be interviewed about their definition of female empowerment. Point taken.

As Lumoid continues to achieve new levels of success — moving into swanky, designer offices, securing new rounds of funding, and expanding into the wearable market — Ramamurthy has been making personal and professional strides, and taking inventory along the way. “I've tried to actively start celebrating small milestones and successes, since I know that I'm really bad at recognizing how far we've come as a company,” says the founder, whose capitalizing on the universally appealing ethos of try-before-you-buy. “I’ve come to appreciate the journey a lot more, stop worrying and focus on what's going right.” Rather than stressing over a career bucket list or a five year plan, she prefers to take it one day at a time.