ET Startup Awards 2021: Jury selects stars from India’s startup world


The seventh edition of The Economic Times Startup Awards (ETSA) – the most prestigious award for Indian entrepreneurs – will begin amid an unprecedented exuberance in the domestic startup ecosystem.

ETSA has nine categories this year, including coveted Startup of the Year, plus an additional award to recognize companies that innovated during the Covid-19 pandemic despite its severe business impact.

ET has assembled a high-profile panel of leading Indian and global business leaders, investors and entrepreneurs who will come together virtually on September 24th to select the winners.

The jury will be chaired by Nandan Nilekani, co-founder and non-executive chairman of the IT service provider Infosys and architect of Aadhaar.

“A new way of measuring startups this year would be what they learned in a Covid world. Some have managed to accelerate, have become capital magnets and have grown very quickly, while other companies are no longer on the stage. “

– Nandan Nilekani, co-founder of Infosys

The most important contenders are presented

Deepinder Goyal, Co-Founder and CEO of Zomato; Gokul Rajaram, Product and Store Manager, DoorDash; Sachin Bansal, Founder and CEO, Navi Technologies; Nithin Kamath, founder and CEO of Zerodha; Anu Hariharan, Partner, Y Combinator Continuity Fund; Amit Agarwal, Global SVP and Country Head, Amazon India; Satyan Gajwani, vice chairman, Times Internet Ltd; GV Ravishankar, MD, Sequoia Capital India; Harsh Jain, Co-Founder and CEO, Dream11 and Ankiti Bose, Co-Founder and CEO, Zilingo are the judges.


Over the past seven years, the ET Startup Awards (ETSA) have grown from strength to strength and have become by far the most prestigious award for entrepreneurs.

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Collage of all jury membersETtech

According to data provider Preqin, Indian startups had raised $ 25.2 billion as of September 9, compared to $ 11.2 billion for all of 2020.

The unprecedented inflow of capital into young and mature companies shows the potential of India’s digital economy, which has been strengthened by the disruptions in brick-and-mortar business caused by the pandemic.

This year alone, up to 27 new unicorns or startups valued at at least $ 1 billion have been born, though a number of internet companies will enter the public market, a trend that began with Zomato’s IPO in July.

Digital technologies will be more prominent than ever and that is one of the reasons investors find India attractive and flock to the table.

This year marked the trail for Indian startups that have not only made record-breaking investments, but have shown signs of maturation as they become public companies. Many of these companies have previously received the ET Startup Awards as we’ve tracked and covered their progress over the years.

Starting today, ET will present the candidates who made it onto the shortlist.

We start with the Bootstrap Champs, entrepreneurs who have built a startup without outside financing, and Top Innovators, startups with an original idea that have set themselves apart from the competition.

We also honor students who founded companies during their studies, female entrepreneurs, social enterprises who combine profit and common good, investors with a Midas touch and female founders who have made a successful comeback.

The new Covid-19 innovation category honors start-ups that drive solutions in the areas of healthcare, diagnostics and research.

ET reached out to more than 100 of the country’s leading entrepreneurs, investors, industry groups, and other stakeholders to compile a list of the brightest entrepreneurial talent.

This was then distilled by the newspaper’s editorial team, who worked with knowledge partner Tracxn to create the final list.


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