ET Startup Awards 2022: India could weather the global storm

ET Startup Awards 2022: India could weather the global storm

Indian startups with strong unitary economies will fare better than their foreign counterparts amid global turmoil, say founders, investors and policymakers attending the eighth annual Economic Times Startup Awards, the accolade India’s most coveted for entrepreneurial excellence. Despite headwinds hitting global markets, India has emerged as a bright spot against developed economies such as the United States and Europe, they said.

At the elite gathering of more than 350 guests from the country’s vibrant startup and business community, guests of honor Piyush Goyal, Minister of Trade and Industry, Consumer Affairs, Textiles and food and public distribution; Ashwini Vaishnaw, Minister of Railways, Communications, Electronics and Information Technology and Karnataka Chief Minister Basavaraj Bommai handed over the awards to the winners at a grand ceremony in Bangalore on Saturday.

“Despite the many global challenges, the optimism about India’s future was pervasive and infectious,” said Nandan Nilekani, non-executive chairman of Infosys, who attended the high-profile event.

Online payment company Razorpay has won the prestigious Startup of the Year award, with a star-studded cast of judges choosing the Bengaluru-based startup for the strength of its technology and product line with the potential to take some of its activities worldwide. The company – which is the nation’s most highly regarded fintech, having currently raised more than $500 million in funding last year – joins a distinguished list of previous winners, including food delivery startup Zomato, the company brokerage Zerodha, logistics and supply chain services company Delhivery and host platform. Oyo Hotels & Homes. Previous winners include food delivery leader Swiggy, enterprise software maker Freshworks and ride-sharing app Ola, which won top honors at the inaugural edition in 2015.

Among this year’s winners was Falguni Nayar, Founder and CEO of Nykaa, who took home the new CEO of the Year award. Accel partner Shekhar Kirani won the Midas Touch Award for Top Investor after backing Nasdaq-listed Freshworks with a $1 million seed check leading to multibagger returns during its IPO.

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The Bootstrap Champ award went to Noise, a smart clothing brand with significant revenue and profits, while the Top Innovator award went to Eyestem, a cell therapy company based in Bengaluru. Exotel cloud telephony platform was chosen as the winner in the Comeback Kid category and Solinas Integrity, a high-tech company founded at IIT Madras that develops robotic solutions for the pipeline and sewerage industry, was named the best on campus.

Smita Deorah, co-CEO of LEAD, an edtech company, was the winner in the Woman Ahead category. While plastic recycling startup Banyan Nation was the social enterprise winner.

In line with the prevailing sentiment, startup founders and top CEOs discussed the need for companies to reassess their business plans, expectations on valuations amid a growing funding crisis, even as India seemed relatively better placed than other countries.

“I was positively surprised at the level of positivity for India in the discussions. At the same time, themes such as the need to build a sustainable business were highly relevant,” said Ananth Narayanan, Founder and CEO of Mensa Brands, unicorn aggregator of e-commerce brands.

During a panel discussion: “The Great Reset: Tracking the Profitability versus Growth Conundrum Amidst the Tech Winter,” Sumer Juneja, Managing Partner, India and EMEA, SoftBank Investment Advisers, said startup valuations should be readjusted. “I think 2023 is going to be tough, companies that sort out the economy from their unity and have an appreciation for what’s going on and realize very quickly what they need to do will be in a better position,” he said. declared.

Amrish Rau, CEO of payments firm Pine Labs, said the sentiment around India definitely emerged as positive amid global headwinds. “In the long term, it will help Indian startups even though there might be a short-term funding crunch,” he said.

As in previous editions, again this year, ETSA has become the key platform to facilitate dialogue between policy makers and the startup community. Several ongoing burning issues in the industry were discussed on the sidelines of the ceremony.

“The ET Startup Awards continue to be the preeminent celebration of startups in India and this year’s event not only commended great achievements in entrepreneurship across various categories, but also offered guidance to startups across the countries on how to deal with the current volatility. market environment,” said Kunal Bahl, co-founder and CEO of Snapdeal.

The event also witnessed potential collaborations between government and startups from a policy perspective. “I spoke with Minister Goyal and we discussed promoting exports to markets like UAE, Australia from Mensa Brands perspective and how it can help create more jobs,” Narayanan said.

Panelist Harsh Jain, co-founder and CEO of Dream Sports, also echoed the optimism on India and said India was well placed to grow through government initiatives and should not just follow. traces of the American market.

The overflowing confidence in India’s startup community was on full display, with investors calling it the time they’ve been waiting for – digital India at scale.

“The scalability is now proven in all sectors, the profitability is also not far away contrary to what people expect. There is a set of players – founders, regulators, investors – who are in it for the long haul, to build institutions that stand the test of time,” said Vikram Vaidyanathan, Managing Director of Matrix Partners India.

The Economic Times Startup Awards 2022 are presented by IDFC First Bank. Those supporting the event include knowledge partner Tracxn, hosting partner The Leela Palace, Bengaluru and TV partner ET Now.

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