et startup awards 2023 jury: ET Startup Awards 2023: Stellar jury to select winners on September 12


A star-studded jury led by Kotak Mahindra Bank founder and director Uday Kotak will meet virtually on September 12 to pick the winners of The Economic Times Startup Awards (ETSA) 2023, marking the launch of the ninth edition of India’s most coveted recognition for entrepreneurial excellence.

Joining Kotak will be Ranjan Pai, chairman, Manipal Hospital; Shekhar Kirani, partner, Accel; Supam Maheshwari, cofounder & CEO, FirstCry; Deepinder Goyal, cofounder & CEO, Zomato; Kalyan Krishnamurthy, CEO, Flipkart group; Renuka Ramnath, founder, Multiples PE; Harshil Mathur, cofounder & CEO, Razorpay; Roshni Nadar, chairperson, HCLTech; Satyan Gajwani, vice chairman, Times Internet; and Arjun Sethi, cofounder of Silicon Valley-based Tribe Capital.

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Profitability and corporate governance were the most-talked-about themes in the ecosystem this past year as startups jostled to become leaner amid a massive reset in technology valuations and fundraising after years of easy money flowing into high-growth companies.

This year, with the pendulum moving away from chasing hyper-growth to focusing on profitability, unit economics and gross margins, the jury will look for businesses that have survived during this tough phase and sharpened their fundamentals.

Also read | ET Startup Awards 2023: Jury looks for startups with clear path to financial sustainability

The ETSA jury is also meeting at a time when the volatility in valuations of publicly listed companies, which began in the US in late 2021, has spilled over into the private markets, resulting in plummeting investments and significant valuation corrections.

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In the first six months of 2023, equity funding by risk investors in startups totalled $3.85 billion across 546 deals, one-fifth compared with the $18.4 billion they had invested in the same period last year, according to data sourced from research firm Venture Intelligence. It was also lower than the $4.1 billion of investment in the first half of 2020, when the Covid-19 pandemic had gripped economies worldwide and led to a halt in funding activity.As investors took their foot off the gas pedal, reduction in burn rate became a priority for startups. Among these, some withstood the headwinds while consolidating their leadership positions.

Also read | ET Startup Awards 2023: Nominees for Bootstrap Champ

Starting today, ET will unveil the contenders who have made it to the shortlist. We will begin with the Bootstrap Champ — those entrepreneurs who have built a startup without outside funding — and Top Innovators, startups with an original idea that has set them apart from competition.

We will also recognise students who have founded companies while they were on campus, women entrepreneurs in the Woman Ahead category, social enterprises that combine profits and the public good, and investors with a Midas touch. The biggest prize will be for the Startup of the Year, a startup which is on its way to becoming a blue-chip corporation.

ET reached out to more than 150 of the country’s top entrepreneurs, investors, industry groups and other stakeholders to compile a list of India’s brightest entrepreneurial talent. This was then distilled by the paper’s editorial team to arrive at the final shortlist. Tracxn was the ETSA knowledge partner.

Also read | ET Startup Awards 2023: Nominees for Top Innovator

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