Uplevyl, a women’s empowerment and networking platform, launches in Austin

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Shubhi Bhonsle-Rao, Founder and CEO of Uplevyl

Uplevyl, an Austin-based tech company that builds a digital app and platform for professional women, launched last Tuesday.

Shubhi Bhonsle-Rao, founder and CEO of Uplevyl, is a former senior executive at Alphabet, Tesco, PricewaterhouseCoopers and Ford Motor Company, among others. She also serves on the board of directors of Open Lending, the Center for Global Development, the International Center for Research on Women and is an honorary member of the Advisory Board of the Federal Reserve of San Francisco.

In Silicon Hills News’ Ideas to Invoices podcast, Rao said she wanted to create a digital product for women that uses technology and data for good.

“I was in Silicon Valley and the technologist in me just came to life,” Rao said. “I was in an ecosystem where it was a question of building

products and data and everyone from startups.

By this point in her career, Rao had obtained her MBA and had spent over 20 years working for large organizations and she wanted to use her skills to build something in her adopted hometown of Austin.

Rao also saw a huge need for uplevyl.

“Because there was something in my mind that really bothered me and what really bothered me was being in Silicon Valley and how male dominated that space is,” Rao said. “And what’s more, how our data is used.”

“For me, being a working mom and having gone through my life through so many different stages, I really thought about why we don’t really have a lot of digital technology built by women. And so, at this point in my life, I thought I could complain about it. But I’m also one of those STEM women who could actually go out and build the product. And that’s what really inspired me.

Uplevyl offers original ad-free content including videos, podcasts, columns and themed virtual rooms where members can learn from each other and from global industry experts, leaders and mentors. The content is specially adapted according to the needs of a member.

Uplevyl hosted its launch event on Tuesday night at the Van Zandt Hotel in downtown Austin. Participants included Colette Burnett, President and CEO of Huston Tillotson University and State of Texas Representative Sheryl Cole. The event also featured Patricia Greene, former director of the US Department of Labor’s Women’s Bureau, Jill Shackleford, founder and president of the Association of Women and Minority Contractors of Texas, and Sophia “Puff” Story, co-founder of 3 Sided Cube United States.

Shubhi Bhonsle-Rao, founder and CEO of Uplevyl at the company launch event at the Van Zandt Hotel in Austin

“It was a really captivating evening, not only because we had a lot of wine and food, but because people were really interested in what we were doing,” she said.

In the From Ideas to Bills podcast, Rao explained how uplevyl focuses on a global audience.

“We have to have global conversations if we really want to think about being these global citizens,” Rao said.

Uplevyl launch party at the Van Zandt Hotel in downtown Austin

When women are doing well, families are doing well and societies are doing well, Rao said. The definition of society must be global in nature, she said.

Rao also had a much richer life due to his global connections.

Uplevyl also has several men working with the organization and that is key, Rao said. Uplevyl is all about diversity, she said.

“These powerful allies, whether male or female, are incredibly beneficial and helpful for uplevyl,” Rao said.

Uplevyl also produces high-quality content aimed at professional women, like videos, podcasts, etc., said Rao. There is already a lot of content but it is difficult to find and is not tailored to the specific needs of women, she said. Uplevyl seeks to fill that void, she said.

To find out more, listen to the full podcast, pasted below, or wherever you get your podcasts – available on Google Play Store, Apple iTunes, Spotify, PlayerFM, Libsyn, and more.

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