ET Startup Awards 2021: Zomato wins Startup of the Year award
went public on Indian bourses and set an example for others in the industry to chart out a similar path.
Zomato’s blockbuster listing—among the largest for the Indian capital markets—not only received major institutional capital but also stirred massive interest among retail investors.
But it wasn’t an easy decision for the jury to make, as it took note of the sheer quality of startups in the final list of nominees for the most coveted award.
Zomato’s stellar public market debut made it a strong contender, edtech major Byju’s was discussed widely for its ambitions to become a larger global player in the online education sector. It was
Byju’s fast-paced growth and acquisition spree against Zomato’s dogged execution all the way to an IPO.
After the first round of voting, the jury members noted that the Rs 9,375-crore Zomato IPO emerged as a monumental event for the Indian startup economy as it was the first big consumer internet startup to go public, that too in India. Besides the listing, Zomato’s ability to survive and thrive in a multi-faceted industry like online food delivery, which sees intense competition, found favour with the jury.
“By building an amazing business in an extremely competitive market with incredibly tough unit economics, Zomato is a business that’s not just a leader in India but is respected globally,” said Gokul Rajaram, product and business leader, DoorDash.
ALSO READ TECH NEWSLETTER OF THE DAY
Deepinder Goyal, cofounder and chief executive at Zomato, who did not participate in the discussions and the voting as he was a jury member, said, “We didn’t think we would win this, as all the other nominees are great companies. We look up to some of them for a number of things. In that light, we are thankful and humbled for winning the prestigious Startup of the Year Award. We hope to continue living up to the honour in the years to come.”
Zomato’s decade-old journey has seen its business pivot from an ad-driven restaurant discovery model to an operations-heavy delivery player.
“Bouncing back from a place where we had lost 90% of our business in the first wave of Covid to our IPO recently is a testament to our team’s resilience and focus,” Goyal said. “But most of the credit should go to our restaurant partners and delivery partners—we couldn’t have built this business without their commitment to delight customers through thick and thin.”
Zomato has continued to grow and last year pruned its cash burn as order values increased. The company,
in its earnings report for Q1 FY22, said that it clocked growth after recovering from the impact of the second wave of the pandemic.
“Through these years, Zomato has kept experimenting, scaling up its successes, learning from failures and constantly pivoting to adapt to users’ needs. With the runaway success of their IPO, 2021 will always be remembered as the year Zomato changed the Indian startup ecosystem forever,” said jury member Harsh Jain, cofounder and CEO at Dream11.
GV Ravishankar of Sequoia India and Satyan Gajwani of Times Internet recused themselves from voting in this category as both are investors in Byju’s while Sequoia India is an early investor in Zomato.
PharmEasy | Siddharth Shah, Dharmil Sheth, Dhaval Shah, Harsh Parekh & Hardik Dedhia
PharmEasy—run by API Holdings—offers medicine delivery, diagnostic services and online doctor consultation, apart from having a business-to-business pharma distribution vertical. It’s been on an acquisition spree to scale up its non-medicine delivery business with acquisitions like pathology chain
Thyrocare and hospital supply chain startup
Aknamed. The number of doctors and pharmacists on its platform has doubled in the last year.
Nykaa | Falguni Nayar & Adwaita Nayar
Nykaa’s founder and CEO Falguni Nayar.
Nykaa is an omnichannel beauty and personal care products retailer
that has filed for an IPO later this year. It would be the first profitable unicorn ecommerce firm going for a listing in India. Nykaa’s gross merchandise value jumped more than 50% to almost Rs 4,046 crore in FY21, 70% of which came from existing customers. It is also expecting strong growth in the current financial year.
Byju’s | Byju Raveendran & Divya Gokulnath
Byju’s founder Byju Raveendran
Byju’s is the largest online education firm in India as well as the most valued startup at $16.5 billion. It has seen cumulative downloads of over 100 million, with 6.5 million of them being paid subscribers. It has
spent well over $2 billion on acquisitions this year. The startup is expanding aggressively in the United States and other global markets.
BrowserStack | Ritesh Arora & Nakul Aggarwal
What it Does: BrowserStack offers a subscription-based web and mobile app testing platform. The startup was bootstrapped until 2018 when it first raised venture funding from Accel. Earlier this year,
it raised $200 million more and was valued at $4 billion. It eventually wants to do an IPO but is currently aiming to become the largest testing platform in the world with a 50% market share.