Announcing The Smart CEO-Startup50 List 2015

I write this note, one day after the completion of The Smart CEO-Startup50 Conference & Awards, held at Taj West End in Bengaluru, on Aug 28th, 2015.

We launched the event announcing the theme of “Build to last” and how we wanted to push India’s budding young entrepreneur ecosystem to build companies that create tremendous long-term value, without overtly focusing on short-term exits. We also wanted to give the professional CEOs in the audience a peek into 50 of India’s most exciting startups, founded after April 2009.

The conference session in the morning started off with a bang. Srikanth Iyer, former CEO of Pearson Education and now co-founder of, started the day with a talk on “Innovating on the go”. Next, Ameera Shah, Promoter and Managing Director at Metropolis Healthcare, delivered a candid, nuanced account of how she took the diagnostic chain global, into Africa and the Middle East.

In the Startup50 conference session, we also requested our entrepreneur speakers to deliver 20-minute, TED-style, freewheeling talks on very specific topics. Krish Subramanian, co-founder of subscription billing firm, Chargebee, spoke about “How we sell to customers we never meet”, while Rahul Singh of Beer Café spoke from the heart on how he moved from one failure to another, until he started doing well in his current avatar. Ajith Karimpana, co-founder of an online furniture renting firm, Furlenco, spoke about “life of an entrepreneur before and after raising venture capital” and going by the reaction of the audience, it resonated with almost every entrepreneur who had raised capital from outside.

As the Startup50 Award Winners joined the evening session of the conference, we had three power packed keynotes on the topic of ‘scaling up’ by T.V. Mohandas Pai, Chairman of Manipal Global Education, K. Ganesh of Portea Medical and Puneet Jetli, co-founder of Happiest Minds.

These keynotes, both entertained and educated the audience in equal measure, and of course, Pai in his usual inimitable style had the audience in splits.

The keynote talks were intertwined with the Startup50 award ceremony.

Our October edition of The Smart CEO will be dedicated to coverage of the conference, The Smart CEO-Startup50 List and finer details of how our Jury members identified 50 of India’s most exciting companies of tomorrow.

The winners of the 6 special awards will also be announced in the next edition.

A big thank you to all our Jury members, speakers, Startup50 winners, to all the companies that sent in their application for this award and very importantly, the audience, who ensured that the event was a grand success.

Special thanks to our Title Partner, Valmark; Platinium Partners, Shriram Capital and IDA Ireland; Holiday Partner, The Tamara Coorg; Silver Partners, Wealth Advisors (India) and Veda Corp; Display Partners, Tata Docomo and Bank of Baroda, and other key partners, Big FM, Woxsen Business School, Venture Intelligence, TiE Bangalore, Chennai and Mumbai.

We hope you enjoy reading this edition, featuring the story of Vidya Shah and EdelGive Foundation on the cover.

Prem Sivakumaran is co-founder & CEO of Growth Mechanics, a leadership and entrepreneurship-focused business content company in India. Growth Mechanics publishes The Smart CEO, a publication focused on enabling peer-to-peer knowledge exchange among C-level executives and board members. The platform reaches over 1.2 lakh CXOs across its website, app, print publication & CEO Round Tables, and has featured on the cover India’s leading business leaders/founders from Infosys, Mindtree, Tata Sons, ICICI Bank, Biocon, Yes Bank and several others. In addition of Smart CEO, Growth Mechanics also organises the Startup50 Conference & Awards, an annual event to recognize India’s top 50 startups every year. Startup50 Alumni include Freshdesk, Oyo Rooms, Urban Ladder, Capital Float, Paperboat Beverages, among others. Growth Mechanics’ primary business model revolves around linking CXOs and Brands around engaging content and has worked with India’s leading companies including Mahindra Group, Godrej & Boyce, BASF, Airtel, Tata Docomo, Fiat, IDA Ireland, Yes Bank, Prestige Estates, Frederique Constant, Indian Terrain

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