In 2001, when Ameera Shah, then 21, returned from the US to work for her father Sushil Shah’s standalone path lab in Mumbai, she faced scepticism from people she wanted to partner with.
“We have done 25 acquisitions or partnerships with pathologists, who are usually doctors in their 50s or 60s. For them, partnering with a young girl from a non-medical background was unthinkable,” Shah recalls. In 2006, when Shah wanted to raise private equity funding, a few investors asked her if she intended to abandon the venture after getting married and having children. Subsequently, marquee investors like ICICI Ventures, Warburg Pincus, Carlyle and KKR reposed faith in her.
Shah, 37, a finance graduate from the University of Texas, Austin, doesn’t face these questions anymore. She has managed to establish Metropolis as a global chain of 130 labs and 1,200 centres across six countries, employing 4,000 people. In fact, Metropolis is one of the top three path lab chains in India today.
Shah overcame gender stereotypes by building trust through a human connect with stakeholders and persisting with her chosen path. This, she says, is the learning that she imparts to young women entrepreneurs whom she mentors in her spare time.