Unveiling The Economic Times Startup Awards 2022 high-powered jury


Hi there, it’s Samidha.

After multiple delays due to the spread of the Omicron Covid variant, we finally hosted The Economic Times Startup Awards (ETSA) 2021 in a physical ceremony this March. Just a few months later, we began work on this year’s edition of the awards. Despite how hectic it has been for the ETtech team, the excitement of the process of filtering the best of entrepreneurship in the country makes up for all those late nights in the newsroom.

Unmatched prestige: Now in their eighth year, the ET Startup Awards have been recognised as the most prestigious set of accolades for Indian entrepreneurs.

But a lot has changed for Indian startups since the inaugural edition in 2015. The industry has grown from infancy to one where a number of companies are publicly listed. The biggest step in that direction was taken last year when Zomato won the coveted Startup of the Year award for opening the floodgates of the Indian public markets for startups. From the highs of last year, the industry is now in the middle of a turbulence that has gripped the tech world like never before.

As we unveil the high-powered jury that will pick the winners of this year’s ET Startup Awards, it is clear that the jury members are looking to select businesses that will be resilient to macro headwinds and stay on the course through such a whiplash.

Read: Jury looks for an upstart that can go the distance

The process: ET reached out to more than 200 of the country’s top entrepreneurs, investors, industry groups and other stakeholders to compile a list of the brightest entrepreneurial talent. This was then distilled by the paper’s editorial team to arrive at the final list.

The jury will finally pick the winner after long deliberations followed by secret voting.

I want to use this day to once again reiterate that the awards are an outcome of many months of hard work by our reporters, news desk, copy editors, designers and colleagues in the marketing team.

I thank everyone for putting their best foot forward to make the awards such a stellar show every year.

Jury Dossier: The most important part for the jury meeting is a 100-page dossier we prepare in-house. This handbook, packed with information that stays confidential with the jury, goes through hundreds of checks and rechecks before it is finalised.

Today, we introduce the contenders from three categories: Bootstrap Champ, Top Innovator and Comeback Kid.

CEO of the Year & more: This year we have also introduced a new award category, CEO of the Year, in recognition of the deepening maturity of India’s startup ecosystem, which is ranked among the top three worldwide. The winner — either a founder or a professional executive helming a high-growth venture — should have demonstrated strategic decision-making and execution skills as well as the leadership traits needed to steer fast-growing ventures.

Also watch out for many under-the-radar ventures that may not be attracting big cheques but are building profitable businesses.

Stay tuned for all the ETSA 2022 coverage through the week leading up to the virtual jury meeting on October 28.

ETSA 2022: We’re looking for resilient business models say jury members

Jury collage

Who’s on the jury:

  • Salil Parekh, chief executive and managing director of Infosys
  • Sanjeev Bikhchandani, cofounder, Info Edge
  • Shailendra Singh, managing director, Sequoia India & Southeast Asia
  • Arundhati Bhattacharya, CEO, Salesforce India
  • Sriharsha Majety, cofounder & CEO, Swiggy
  • Girish Mathrubootham, founder & CEO, Freshworks
  • Satyan Gajwani, vice chairman, Times Internet
  • Hemant Taneja, managing director, General Catalyst
  • Lizzie Chapman, cofounder & CEO, ZestMoney
  • Sahil Barua, cofounder & CEO, Delhivery.

More about the jury here

ETSA jury members Shailendra Singh, MD, Sequoia India & Southeast Asia, Sahil Barua, cofounder and CEO, Delhivery, and Sriharsha Majety, cofounder and CEO, Swiggy, are unanimous about what they’ll be looking for as they evaluate the ETSA contenders this year. Their focus will be on startups that can endure storms in the short term, and have the potential to become corporate leaders in a little over a decade.

Read about their expectations from the ETSA 2022 nominees and winners here

And the nominees are…

Starting today, we will showcase the shortlisted contenders beginning 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, as well as Comeback Kid — founders who have made a successful comeback.

We reached out to the country’s top entrepreneurs, investors, industry groups and other stakeholders to compile a list of India’s brightest entrepreneurial talent.

Bootstrap Champ:

  • Flexiple
  • Noise
  • The White Willow
  • Himalayan Organics
  • Trackier

Top Innovator:

  • Eyestem
  • Haber
  • Eeki Foods
  • Exponent Energy
  • Astrogate Labs

Comeback Kid:

  • Rapido
  • Zopper
  • Amagi
  • Exotel
  • Sugar Cosmetics

Read more here

Google to pay Rs 1,337.76 crore in penalty

Google CCI

Global tech giant Google has been “abusing its dominant position” in multiple markets with its Android mobile operating system (OS), the Competition Commission of India (CCI) held and imposed a penalty of Rs 1,337.76 crore on the search engine platform.

Regulator speak: CCI prescribed a set of about a dozen key measures that the company has to comply with. The regulator said makers of devices that run on Android shouldn’t be forced to pre-install Google services on their devices. It also asked Google to provide fair access to all stakeholders.

CCI said the onus is on dominant players such as Google to ensure their conduct doesn’t affect competition on merit. It noted that Google has perpetuated its dominant position in the online search market, resulting in denial of market access to competing apps.

Quote unquote: “Google shall not deny access to its Play Services APIs to disadvantage OEMs (mobile manufacturers), app developers and its existing or potential competitors,” said the CCI order.

“This would ensure interoperability of apps between Android OS which complies with compatibility requirements of Google and Android forks. By virtue of this remedy, the app developers would be able to port their apps easily onto Android forks.” Forks are modifications made to the code.

ET Ecommerce Index

We’ve launched three indices – ET Ecommerce, ET Ecommerce Profitable, and ET Ecommerce Non-Profitable – to track the performance of recently listed tech firms. Here’s how they’ve fared so far.

ET Ecommerce Tracker

Infy bites the moonlighting bullet, sort of

Moonlighting Infosys

Infosys has allowed its employees to take up gig work outside the company. This comes amid numerous instances of moonlighting by many Indian techies in the $227-billion IT industry coming to light.

Conditions apply: Any Infosys employee who wishes to take up gig work may do so only after obtaining prior approval from managers and human resource executives. In addition, they can take up such work only with establishments that do not compete with Infosys or its clients, an internal mail said. ET has reviewed the mail.

“…care needs to be taken to ensure that these projects comply with the company’s policy for gig work and do not breach client contracts or impact the employee’s ability to be effective in their full time job with Infosys,” the mail said.

It is learnt that the mail has been sent only to managerial-level staff.

“As an organisation, we value learnability – the ability to continuously learn new skills and gain experience. It is only natural that we are supportive of Infoscions taking up additional projects as appropriate in their personal time,” the mail said.

Zero tolerance for moonlighting: This comes after Infosys CEO Salil Parekh, in a post-earnings conference, said that the company would not tolerate moonlighting. “To be clear, we do not support dual employment. We have found in the past 12 months employees doing blatant work in two different companies where there’s confidentiality issues. We have let go of them,” he said.

Other top stories by our reporters


Delhivery stock sheds 15% after firm shares tepid guidance: Delhivery’s muted guidance pushed shares 15.6% lower on Thursday after it said high inflation would dent consumer spending and result in moderate growth in shipments for the rest of the financial year. The market’s reaction to Delhivery’s muted guidance is perhaps not surprising. The company is the largest third-party logistics player in the ecommerce space and is viewed as a proxy for online consumption and demand trends.

According to Delhivery, while shipments rose thanks to festive sales in the latter part of the second quarter, market sentiment continued to remain “broadly unchanged” from Q1. It cited muted consumer discretionary spending and high levels of inflation for the tepid sentiment.

Wipro names Suzanne Dann as head of Americas 2: Suzanne Dann has been appointed as the chief executive officer of Wipro Americas 2 geography, effective immediately. Dann will also join the Wipro Executive Board. In an exchange filing, Wipro said that Dann will focus on increasing bookings, large deal signings, and revenue in high-growth strategic areas. Dann will be taking over the Americas 2 leadership role from Angan Guha.

Prior to joining Wipro, Dann held the corporate vice president role at US-based IT services firm Avanade and had a 15-year stint at IBM prior to that. The appointment comes amid a series of top-level changes at India’s fourth largest IT firm. Capgemini veteran Amit Choudary has joined the company as president and chief operating officer and member of Wipro Executive Board earlier this month.

Global picks we are reading

■ Blackstone Earnings Sink as Private-Equity Portfolio Takes Hit (WSJ)
■ The stubborn persistence of paper in a digital world (FT)
■ Amazon facing £900m lawsuit for ‘pushing customers to pay more’ (Guardian)

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