At a virtual meeting that lasted for more than two hours on October 28, a high-powered jury led by Infosys CEO and MD Salil Parekh picked the Bengaluru-based company as the Startup of the Year for building a large-scale fintech business in a tough sector while keeping profitability in mind.
The jury chose a total of nine winners from a shortlist of 45 contenders across nine categories.
Founded by Harshil Mathur and Shashank Kumar in 2014, Razorpay joins a list of eminent winners that have previously bagged the top prize including Zomato, Zerodha, Delhivery, Oyo Hotels & Homes, Swiggy, Freshworks, and Ola.
Three of the previous winners – Zomato, Delhivery and Freshworks- are public companies showcasing the depth of the firms that have won the top award since ETSA’s inception in 2015.
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Other notable winners include Shekhar Kirani, partner, Accel, who snagged the Midas Touch award for best investor.
While Nayar’s unconventional way of building an omni-channel beauty retailing platform and taking it public last year won her the award, Kirani’s long-standing association with fundamentally strong enterprise and SaaS (software-as-a-service) companies like Freshworks – which completed a public listing in 2021- was recognised by the stellar panel of jurors.
“All the nominations for Startup of the Year (SOTY) were simply outstanding companies, and it was a really close call at the end of the day. I want to congratulate the Razorpay team for emerging winners in the category. They’ve demonstrated great growth profitably on the back of relentless customer focus, continued innovation in adjacencies, and a culture that allows them to ‘build to last’…,” said Sriharsha Majety, cofounder and CEO, Swiggy, which had bagged the Startup of the Year Award in 2017.
Profitability, sound unit economics and staying frugal were themes that met the jury’s approval as proven by the type of winners and close contestants they picked.
Browserstack, a profitable software testing platform, closely contested with Razorpay for the SOTY award.
Cloud telephony platform Exotel was chosen as the winner in the Comeback Kid category while Solinas Integrity, a deep-tech startup founded at IIT Madras that develops robotic solutions for the pipelines and sanitation industry, was adjudged as the Best on Campus.
Smita Deorah, cofounder and co-CEO, Lead, an edtech company, was the winner in the Woman Ahead category and plastic recycling startup Banyan Nation bagged top honours in the Social Enterprise category.
The jury, comprising top entrepreneurs, investors and corporate leaders from across the globe, chose winners after several rounds of discussions and voting, in what turned out to be an intensely competitive year, with more than a few tie-breakers to arrive at the final winners.
The ten-member panel was drawn from locations across India, Silicon Valley, Seattle, and Singapore.
“The breadth of categories re-enforced the growing importance and scale of the new companies in India and the ecosystem that enabled the creation of these. Among the nominees, there were so many that were special, engaged in solving problems that can have long-lasting, positive impact on India and the world,” said Parekh.
Joining Parekh on the jury were Shailendra Singh, MD, Sequoia India and Southeast Asia; Hemant Taneja, MD, General Catalyst; Girish Mathrubootham, founder and CEO, Freshworks Inc.; Arundhati Bhattacharya, CEO, Salesforce India; Sriharsha Majety, cofounder and CEO, Swiggy; Sahil Barua, cofounder and CEO, Delhivery; Satyan Gajwani, vice chairman, Times Internet; Lizzie Chapman, cofounder and CEO, ZestMoney and Sanjeev Bikhchandani, cofounder, InfoEdge.
The initial pool of candidates for the eighth edition of The Economic Times Startup Awards was created by a select group of around 200 founders, investors and other stakeholders of the country’s startup ecosystem.
ET’s editorial team worked with knowledge partner Tracxn, a research platform, to create the final shortlist.
The Economic Times Startup Awards 2022 is presented by IDFC First Bank in partnership with Knowledge Partner Tracxn.