How many of us got into tech not because we loved to code, but because we saw a problem and had an idea? These sisters take the founder’s path into tech. Some of them have prior technical experience and some don’t. But they all have passion for their idea and a drive to make it happen.
Insha Tazeen, is in the middle of that path. In today’s episode, she discusses the projects she’s working on and what she’s doing to overcome her non-technical background.
Listen to Insha’s Story
Key lessons from this episode
- Deciding to get a Master’s degree in AI (4:30)
- Co-funding Bound Security, a cybersecurity consultancy (5:30)
- “The more I’m challenged, the more I feel motivated” (12:30)
This transcript was auto-generated by Descript and is not 100% accurate
[00:00:00] Grace Witter: As Salaam-Alaikum, you’re listening to tech sisters stories. tech sisters is a community that connects you with other sisters who share your story experiences and goals. So you no longer have to feel like the only one like you on your team. My name is grace and I get to interview the amazing women in our community, share their stories and the lessons they learned.
[00:00:22] Grace: today on Tech Sisters stories, we are very happy to have Insha Tazeen. Insha is an entrepreneurial visionary who is driven by enthusiasm with her diverse range of skills. She works on bridging the divide between technology and people. She’s on a mission to become a youthful leader in the realm of developing technologies.
She’s actively involved in the Islamic space and is currently establishing one for the Muslim youth, in addition to radiating love for her interests. She enjoys spending time with her family and friends and going for leisurely walks and parks to observe the natural world. Thank you so much for joining.
[00:00:57] Insha: Welcome. Thank you for having.
[00:01:01] Grace: So how did this all start for you? How did you first get into tech?
[00:01:06] Insha: Well, this happened when I was at my final year of bachelor’s. I happened to come across a social media. Post regarding a Startup bootcamp event, which is going to take place during my final year. I had a looked at, looked at it, and it sounded so exciting that I couldn’t stop myself from registering for the event.
So after I attended the event, I got explored to many different tech topics that were covered in the bootcamp. And it was so challenging for me to dive into. Tech topics, which is very new and interesting for my skillset. So they had this challenge to develop a basic uh, M V P using some of the basic tech tools.
And I happened to develop a very cute M V P for babies and toddlers in the UAE region. And it inspired me so much because this is a topic which is very close to my heart. Just experiencing the building of M V P and experiencing the different tech topics, which we learned in the startup bootcamp.
I ended up starting an internship at the tech startup through the challenge. So this is how I first landed into the tech space.
[00:02:14] Grace: You had a good bootcamp and you went for it and you had that visionary experience. I’d like to hear more about your Baby and Toddler app. That sounds really cute.
[00:02:22] Insha: Yeah, so basically it was called nutri Set app providing like right kind of meal plans for babies and toddlers. As you can see, like growing demand for unhealthy habits is rising nowadays. due to junk food and many other things. So we thought like why not develop. an app to combat those challenges, why not develop a healthy meal plan for babies and toddlers so that it’ll be really helpful for their mothers to develop a meal plan at the home.
So this is how the idea came into picture.
[00:02:56] Grace: Yeah, mashAllah, so you’re describing yourself as an entrepreneurial visionary. So what aspects of the startup culture, maybe this kind of took seed in this bootcamp, but what aspects of startups really are appealing to you.
Is it the problem that you’re trying to solve or is it the tech stack? Is it you know, just the opportunity that’s there? What, what’s drawing you to these? To these
[00:03:20] Insha: Right. So it’s the problem that we are going to solve as we say that the problem is much bigger than the solution. So we are looking to solve the problem of unhealthy like lifestyle for babies and toddlers and providing them a healthy meal plan with a healthy meal set in the future as future development plans for the app.
[00:03:40] Grace: Oh, fantastic. And you said after the bootcamp that you went in right into an internship. So how was that experience for you?
[00:03:48] Insha: So, yeah, that was an brilliant experience. I was exposed to different areas of tech since it was early uh, childhood startup as well. They made me explore different areas from development of the child through how the process is taking place into tech and how they’re developing different websites and different apps for the children out there.
So it. Brilliant experience, not only tech, even operations management and marketing. I was exposed to different dimensions of those startups. So it, it was an extensive internship journey. I could say
[00:04:24] Grace: That’s great. It sounds like it was a natural progression of what you’ve learned from the bootcamp then,
[00:04:30] Insha: exactly a hundred percent.
[00:04:31] Grace: And then from the internship. What was your next step
[00:04:36] Insha: yeah, so basically the internship was my first step into the tech world. So that persuaded me to take up some. Technical courses, coding lessons, and so on. I, I was immersed into the tech world and it gave me a sort of motivation to pursue something in the tech. So I thought, why not give it a try for pursuing master’s in the technology domain, like, It can be artificial intelligence or computer science.
So that’s how I was made to upskill myself. I took lots of technical courses, coding classes, and some of the online challenges. And that paved my path for taking up masters at University of Birmingham, which I’m currently studying now at.
[00:05:20] Grace: Oh Marc, that’s fantastic.
And then I see in your history with bound security as a co-founder, so where was that coming in as well? Cuz that’s quite interesting.
[00:05:31] Insha: All right. So you could see I have like combinational kind of skillset. My bachelor’s was done in business and now I’m studying for my master’s in artificial intelligence. And along with that I gained interest for cybersecurity as well. As you can see, there’s growing, growing demand of tech apps and so on.
So technical revolution is like a lot booming in this today’s world. Plus there’s also a threat of cyber security attacks.
[00:05:59] Grace: Mm-hmm.
[00:06:00] Insha: So all this gave like rise to my interest in cybersecurity. From the very beginning of my journey in masters uh, I was always interested to know what kind of attacks are vulnerable to the startups or to any businesses.
I’m studying artificial intelligence and I’ll be running my own startup. So what kind of attacks. Uh, Would my startup be having to face? I was just sitting and thinking for a while, like, why not develop something like a cybersecurity boutique for the ecosystem of startups so that they don’t face this problem.
[00:06:34] Grace: Yeah, definitely. I think in the startup particularly because the tech stack is something that is in the process of being built is particularly vulnerable when you’re just trying to build something fast and fail fast, and you’re. being very lean and everything. Security isn’t the top of the priority list cuz you’re just trying to get your product to work.
So I guess how can you use AI to improve a startup cybersecurity in a way that is very easy for them?
[00:07:04] Insha: All right. So AI can be used to deduct the attacks beforehand that will be taking place in the startups. So basically, I’m just figuring that out, like how we can use some AI ML algorithms to just notify uh, , , the users that your website is prone to attack or website is getting under attack.
[00:07:24] Grace: Like analysis. yeah,
[00:07:25] Insha: yeah, making up an analysis or maybe researching on that point of view.
[00:07:30] Grace: Okay. Yeah, mashAllah, that would be really helpful.
[00:07:34] Insha: Yes.
[00:07:35] Grace: What do you think about chat G p t and just the potentials there that have been explored a lot in the last few months,
[00:07:44] Insha: is like a big monster
[00:07:47] Grace: monster. They’re really
[00:07:48] Insha: yeah. Big monster for, I, I think almost all the sectors of businesses. It has affected education, many different kind of tech startups and even the healthcare and. So many different sectors have been affected by catGPT. On one side there are advantages, and on the other side there are dark disadvantages too.
Advantages as I can see that it’s fast moving and it gives super fast answers than the human brain. It’s like super intelligent to answer some of your question.
[00:08:19] Grace: Yep.
[00:08:21] Insha: But some of the disadvantages are also that maybe the human brain can be less productive because of excessive use of chatGPT so the creative, the creativity of the humans like will get diminished by excessive use of chatGPT. Like we are prone to use our brain more, but when chatGPT came into the picture for each and everything, design a meal plan or make a birthday card. Instead of using the creativity, we just go to chat GPT open the browser, and just tell chatGPT, design a meal plan and just gives the automated answers.
Whereas before chatGPT, even though Google was there but not so prominent as chatGPT we were actually like prone to using our brains more before chatGPT came.
[00:09:09] Grace: Yeah, fair enough. I mean, the way how I’ve been seeing it is it’s like a tool like Spellcheck and yes, throught spellcheck. My spelling has definitely gotten worse, but I also write documents faster.
[00:09:21] Insha: exactly. So in one, in one side, there are advantages that it uh, it’s very efficient for your work. But other side, if it’s like excessively used, then there are disadvantages to.
[00:09:34] Grace: Yeah, definitely. I think another disadvantage, so when we are recording this, chatGPT had an outage earlier today, so a lot of the startups that use that have products that are based off of chat G P T. Were affected because, and they couldn’t work anymore because that’s like a single point of entry, which is in the tech world that’s very bad.
you definitely don’t wanna have single points of failure.
[00:09:59] Insha: Exactly. That’s very right.
[00:10:03] Grace: So you’re working on your master’s now. You have your plan for bound security. What are your next steps, Insha?
[00:10:10] Insha: Yeah. So my next steps in terms of like the startup world and my career perspective, I have been reaching some milestones for that. And now next I would be focusing on building something for the. Islamic world. I have always been passionate about tech and Muslims and entrepreneurship, like entrepreneurship in Islam.
So that is what I focus a lot more on. So next step would be to build an application for the Muslim youth. To help them find the true purpose in their life. I, I could see that there’s a gap in the current gen Z Muslims, and I’m focusing on building something that would create a meaning for them as well as for myself and help to bridge that gap, which Muslim youths are facing right now.
So I would like to create like a balance between Dean and dunya in the next coming days.
[00:11:04] Grace: So going a bit beyond productivity Beyond a basic to-do list and going deeper into the meanings, having throughout your day, connecting it with, you know, having that relationship between the dean and the dunya. We’re very mindful of both.
[00:11:19] Insha: Yeah, so I would like to establish like a spiritual plus a productivity connection for the Muslim youth. This is something which I am like constantly working on and inshAllah in the coming days, as I mentioned, it’ll get out in the market
[00:11:34] Grace: Okay.
[00:11:36] Insha: in.
[00:11:36] Grace: inshAllah, may Allah put barrakah in all of your efforts that’s also interesting. So you’re doing this and you’re doing it from the uae. What has been your experience or maybe your anticipated experience of raising funds as a woman in that environment for a.
[00:11:51] Insha: Right. So currently we are in the ideation phase of the. Startup. So I haven’t been explored to the funding phase as of now since we are in the ideation phase. And then M V P is also under consideration. So after the M V P is done we will go for some accelerator or the incubators program in order to get the support and funds from the investors.
[00:12:14] Grace: Good. Good. And is there any like limitation or any restriction that you’ve felt so far or has it been just focus on your idea, get the MVP out there?
[00:12:24] Insha: I’m just trying to focus on my idea and get the M V P out there. And after the MVP falls into place, I will be focusing on the next steps.
[00:12:32] Grace: Fantastic. Yeah, I think that’s very reasonable. inshAllah, do you feel like there are any assumptions that people have about you or about what you’re trying to do?
[00:12:41] Insha: Yeah, there are quite few assumptions which people have about me since I’m coming from a non-technical background. There’s always the assumption that since I have transitioned myself into tech, this is going to be a very challenging journey for me, and there’s going to be like lots of hurdles which I’m going to face.
So all that I can hear from people is. Since you’re coming from non technical background, transitioning into something very technical or leading a startup in a technical aspect would be very challenging. Think twice. So this is the quote, I get to your think twice, but I see myself as a challenger.
I love taking challenges and I love taking risks. So I feel that the more I’m challenged, the more I feel motivated. So this is what is keeping me go forward in my journey.
[00:13:31] Grace: How do you feel like you’re able to, or your, what are your plans of overcoming that?
[00:13:38] Insha: Right. So overcoming the technical challenge is one aspect which I’m working on. I do have like some of my other friends who are helping me overcoming this obstacles, whereas in my personal journey I have been. Like upskilling myself. As I said previously, I’ve been looking into different courses as how I can learn different topics.
And I have also been like participating in many technical challenges physically. So that kind of experience is enabling me to overcome the technical challenges of my startup.
[00:14:11] Grace: Okay, mashAllah. That sounds really wonderful. You’re really pushing, you really are pushing yourself. Like you said, you’re feeling very motivated by the challenge.
[00:14:17] Insha: right?
[00:14:18] Grace: Yeah. I think also it’ll be interesting to see once you move past the M V P stage and you can start building the company, what you do with maybe getting a C T O or how you move, you know, hiring your first developer and those sorts of milestones will be very crucial probably, I’m assuming.
[00:14:36] Insha: Right. We are actually planning to have a C t O in the like company. So we have some steps for the C T O and what kind of experience, what kind of qualification he or she should have. So right now we are just on the planning journey of the future steps for the startup.
[00:14:51] Grace: Yeah. Yeah. It’s all very early. It’s, it’s, . I feel like one of the difficult things about having a startup is because you, there’s so many things that you have to get through. There’s so much that you need to do for to build it, but it’s so important to get that idea of stage right and to actually have a very solid MVP first.
[00:15:10] Insha: right. Exactly.
[00:15:11] Grace: Not good ahead of yourself. Yeah.
[00:15:13] Insha: Yeah.
[00:15:16] Grace: And what is something that you are most proud of?
[00:15:19] Insha: Uh, It’s all about my journey that I’m most proud of coming from like non-technical background and transitioning into tech and as well as exploring different areas of technical domain as well as like the non-technical domain. So I’m very proud of my journey. Feel proud as well as humbled, like with the help of Allah and
With the help of my parents, I have been on this journey with their support. All this is possible. So when Journey is like quite a bit of challenging as well as inspirational for me as well, they were quite a lot of ups and downs in my career as well as like uh, studying life. But overall, like I feel uh, proud of my journey as of I’m now.
[00:16:07] Grace: What kept you going during the down periods and during those challenges?
[00:16:11] Insha: Yeah. Most importantly, I guess is the long-term vision which I see for developing a more safe for the tech startups and most importantly, even for the Muslim youth which I’m working on the initiative. So the passion and the commitment which I have within myself is what’s keeping me going forward.
[00:16:34] Grace: Amazing. And what is something in your journey so far that you regret or you wish that you did differently?
[00:16:41] Insha: All right. Uh, Could see me like multitasking. Majority of the time in my work or at my house. I can be seen as multitasking different tasks at one time. So this is what I regret about and I think I should organize things in more orderly manner. So, Things fall into a place, and I don’t tend to multitask over things because I feel that when I’m multitasking, I tend to forget or miss out some of the important updates or deadlines, which are coming up and back.
When I look back at that, I just feel guilty that I should have properly organized my tasks.
[00:17:17] Grace: So I think you should ask chat g p t to help you with organizing all of your
[00:17:22] Insha: definitely it would gimme some amazing tips on organizing the tasks.
[00:17:30] Grace: Amazing. , what is something or someone in your journey that you feel very grateful for?
[00:17:35] Insha: Yeah, so that would be obviously my parents. I’m very grateful for my parents that they have supported me in my. Tech journey and especially my dad, he’s the source of inspiration since he has like a tech business and he has been through all the stages, which I’m going through. So he’s sort of like my inspiration in my tech journey from his inspirational lectures and motivational presentations.
I have seen him. To a person he’s now. So I feel very proud to say that my dad is my inspiration for the journey that I’m part of.
[00:18:15] Grace: Hmm. Marshall, I’m sure he’ll love to hear
[00:18:17] Insha: Thank
[00:18:18] Grace: That’s wonderful. And is there anything else that you would like to add?
[00:18:24] Insha: any kind of like tips or advices would be like, Be open to challenges and be bold to take risks and don’t fear the change.
[00:18:35] Grace: Hmm.
[00:18:36] Insha: Just be yourself and be good to the others. Like no matter what life throws on you, be kind and be generous and don’t let that light within you. Get dim through any difficult obstacles.
Just be yourself because the strongest power lies in you.
[00:18:56] Grace: Oh, beautiful.
[00:18:58] Insha: Thank you
[00:18:59] Grace: Yeah, we’re lucky. It’s wonderful having you on. Thank you so much again.
[00:19:03] Insha: Thank you so much, Grace, for having me on this podcast.
[00:19:07] Grace: I will stop recording now.
[00:19:10] Grace Witter: And as always, thank you so much for taking the time to listen today. If you liked it and you like what we’re doing at Tech Sisters consider following us, leaving a review, sharing this episode with any friends or even supporting us on Patrion. All of those really help us a lot. This is a completely non-profit organization. We’re just doing this for.
Sadaqua , so anything that helps more Muslim women find us and discover us and hear the stories is immensely helpful. And if you are a Muslim woman in tech, please go ahead and check out our community. It is completely free and fun and very supportive. You can join by going to our website tech-sisters.com and filling out the membership form, and you will get a link right away into our slack. So it’s really, really easy.
And that is all for me. And I’ll see you next week. As Salaam alaikum.