startup: ET Startup Awards 2022: India could ride global storm

Indian startups with a strong unit economy will fare better than their overseas counterparts amid global turmoil, according to founders, investors and policymakers attending the eighth edition of The Economic Times Startup Awards, India’s most coveted accolade for entrepreneurial excellence. Despite shaky global markets, India has emerged as a bright spot compared to advanced economies like the US and Europe, he said.

In the elite gathering of more than 350 guests from all over the country’s vibrant start-up and business community, guests honored Piyush Goyal, minister for trade and industry, consumer affairs, textiles and food & general distribution; Ashwini Vaishnaw, minister for railways, communications, electronics and information technology and Karnataka chief minister Basavaraj Bommai presented the awards to the winners at a grand ceremony in Bengaluru on Saturday.

“Despite many global challenges, optimism about India’s future is widespread and contagious,” said Nandan Nilekani, non-executive chairman of Infosys, who attended the powerful event.

Online payment company
Razorpay won the prestigious Startup of the Year award, with an all-star cast of jury members after picking a Bengaluru-based startup on the strength of its technology and product stack with the potential to take some of its global business. The company – which is the most valuable fintech in the country today having raised more than $500 million in funding last year – joins a distinguished list of previous winners including food delivery startup Zomato, brokerage firm Zerodha, logistics and supply chain services firm Delhivery and hospitality platform . Oyo hotel & house. Previous winners include food delivery major Swiggy, enterprise software maker Freshworks, and ride-hailing app Ola, which took top honors at the inaugural edition in 2015.

This year’s winners include Falguni Nayar, founder and CEO of Nykaa, who
picked up the newly launched CEO of the Year award. Shekhar Kirani, partner, Accel, won
Midas Touch Award for Best Investor has created Freshworks-registered Nasdaq with a $1 million seed check leading to multibagger returns if it goes public.

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Awards for
Bootstrap Champ went to Noisesmart wearables brand with sizable income and benefits while gifts for
Top Innovator went to Eyestem, a Bengaluru-based cell therapy company. Cloud telephony platform
Exotel was chosen as the winner in the Comeback Kid category and Solinas Integrity, a deep technology firm founded at IIT Madras that develops robotic solutions for the plumbing and sanitation industry,
nominated as Best on Campus.

Smita Deorah, co-CEO, lead, an edtech company, that
winner in the Woman category ahead. When starting plastic recycling
Banyan Nation is a champion of Social Enterprise.

In line with prevailing sentiment, startup founders and top CEOs discuss the need for companies to reassess their business plans, valuation expectations amid a deepening funding crisis even as India looks better than other countries.

“I was pleasantly surprised at the level of positivity for India in the discussion. At the same time, themes such as the need to build a sustainable business are very relevant,” said Ananth Narayanan, founder and CEO, Mensa Brands, an ecommerce brand aggregator unicorn.

In the panel discussion: ‘The Great Reset: Tracking the Profitability versus Growth Conundrum Amid the Tech Winter’, Sumer Juneja, managing partner, India and EMEA, SoftBank Investment Advisers, said the startup valuation is set to be adjusted. “I think 2023 will be tough, companies that sort out their unit economics and have an appreciation of what’s going on and realize very quickly what needs to be done will be in a better position,” he said.

Amrish Rau, CEO of payments firm Pine Labs, said the sentiment around India is certainly emerging as positive amid the global headwinds. “In the long run, it will help Indian startups even if there is a short-term funding crisis,” he said.

As in previous editions, this year too, ETSA serves as a key platform to facilitate dialogue between policy makers and the startup community. Some hot-button issues happening in the industry were discussed on the sidelines of the ceremony.

“The Startup Awards continue to be the leading celebration of startups in India and this year’s event not only celebrates great achievements in entrepreneurship in various categories, but also offers direction to startups across the country on how to deal with the current volatile environment. market,” said Kunal Bahl, cofounder and CEO, Snapdeal.

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

Panelist Harsh Jain, cofounder and CEO, Dream Sports, also mentioned the bullishness in India and said that India is poised to grow with the help of government initiatives and it is not just following the footsteps of the US market.

The brimming confidence in the Indian startup community was on full display for investors this term as the time they have been waiting for – digital India at scale.

“Scalability is now proven across the sector, Profitability is also not far behind unlike what we expected. There is a group of players – founders, regulators, investors – who are there for the long term, to build institutions that stand the test of time,” said Vikram Vaidyanathan , managing director at Matrix Partners India.

The Economic Times Startup Awards 2022 is presented by IDFC First Bank. Sponsors of the event include knowledge partner Tracxn, hospitality partner The Leela Palace, Bengaluru, and broadcast partner ET Now.

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