Asish Mohapatra, Bhuvan Gupta, Nitin Jain, Ruchi Kalra & Vasant Sridhar


The eight-year-old b2b e-commerce venture OfBusiness, praised for its value proposition and focus on SMEs, which are regarded as the backbone of India’s fast-growing economy. Currently valued at nearly $5 billion, OfBusiness is set to have posted revenue of ₹15,200 crore with profits of ₹460 crore in fiscal 2023.
Commending the scale achieved by the company, it was more akin to a corporation rather than a startup. OfBusiness enables users (buyers and suppliers) access to over one hundred raw material product categories such as steel, iron, and chemicals. Its marketplace has 1.3 million SMEs. OfBusiness is backed by the likes of SoftBank Vision Fund, Alpha Wave Global, Matrix Partners India and others. The company said it recorded group revenue of ₹15,200 crore, net of GST, showing 2X growth, while profits jumped from ₹ 201 crore in FY22 to ₹460 crore in FY23. This includes its lending business housed under Oxyzo. Cofounder Ruchi Kalra is the CEO of Oxyzo. Vasant Sridhar– another cofounder of OfBusiness– also spends time in running Oxyzo. Bhuvan Gupta and Nitin Jain are the other two cofounders of OfBusiness. Mohapatra and Kalra are married to each other. OfBusiness, since its inception in 2015, has raised around $891 million. The firm integrates technology into SMEs’ buying behavior to make better products available at better prices and in better timelines to customers with online and offline support. It provides SMEs access to cash flow-based financing for buying raw materials through Oxyzo – which has its own NBFC and other lending partners too.

Vinod Kumar & Ezhil Subbian

String Bio

String Bio has successfully converted environmentally harmful gases into end products consumable by animals, plants and humans. At the heart of String Bio’s business, Vinod Kumar and his cofounder and life partner Dr Ezhil Subbian, are using fermentation to reduce harmful gases from the environment. Kumar said that they took a bold bet nine years back to build technology that can enable global transition to a low carbon economy. Having returned to India after 15 years in the US, the couple decided to build massive fermenters that could convert methane and other harmful gases into biomass at an industrial scale. This biomass can then be converted into animal and plant feed and be fit for human consumption. Fermenters are enclosed and sterilized vessels that maintain optimal conditions to carry out the process of fermentation. The Bengaluru-based startup, which was founded in 2013, is now planning to commission a 35-kilolitre fermenter, and in four years, the plant will be able to produce enough biomass to help String Bio generate an annual revenue run rate of $65-70 million. The company caters to both business-to-business (B2B) and the business-to consumer (B2C) segments. It works with agro distributors to sell its plant feed, which can be used in paddy cultivation. Interestingly, the produce, which can be used as animal feed and plant feed, can also be tweaked to make it fit for human consumption.

Seema Prem

FIA Global

FIA Global is a platform that helps people in some of the most remote areas of the country avail of formal financial services, from opening a bank account and taking a loan to invest in mutual funds and buying digital gold. Seema Prem, founder of FIA Global has achieved a profound period of growth and resilience marked by valuable lessons learned during challenging times.
Launched in 2012, FIA Global has 35,000 outlets that function as mini bank branches. Equipped with a laptop, biometric device and printer, the facilities are manned by local micro-entrepreneurs. These are connected with the partner bank’s core banking solution, enabling customers to walk in and conduct basic financial transactions in real-time. The Gurugram-based company aims to expand the number of its outlets to 200,000-250,000 by 2025. Seema Prem said that the company’s focus will be on empowering individuals towards financial well-being in the coming year.

Rashi Narang

Heads Up For Tails

Rashi Narang’s venture Heads Up for Tails, acknowledges the difficulty of building a brand in a category like pet care and supplies in a market like India. The company’s offline strategy with focus on the customer was a differentiator for Narang’s omnichannel pet supplies business in a tough category. Rashi Narang said that it has been a very tough journey and it is these little highs that gives one the validation that they’re doing something right in the right way. Starting off with two popup kiosks in New Delhi, Narang has scaled Heads Up for Tails to a ₹200-crore annual turnover brand, operating over 80 stores across the country. The firm offers products across categories like food, treats, beds, grooming, and accessories. Almost 50 out of the 80 stores run by the firm also provide pet spa services, employing 200 pet groomers trained in-house. The company is appreciated for its customer loyalty and centricity that is built over the years is extremely difficult to achieve.Narang’s idea for Heads Up for Tails came after she could not find non-synthetic and non-plastic toys and other products for her pet dog Sara. When the firm started in 2008, the first few products could only be made with a tailoring unit — toys, bedding, clothing, soft furnishing, and breathable toys for pets. The firm slowly expanded to factories, where products like bowls, brushes, and elevated diners for senior dogs could be manufactured. Heads Up for Tails now has over 5,000 stock keeping units (SKUs), catering to pets across their lifecycle and offering products like folding ramps and orthopaedic beds for older animals. The curation of products by Heads Up for Tails is expansive, the positioning and the unique branding of the stores makes it easily stand out.The firm was bootstrapped for the first eight years of its existence, after which it opened itself up to venture funding for further growth. Narang divided her time between Singapore and Delhi as she ran the business during the early years.

Mukesh Singh, Vikash Kumar & Raj Pandey


In a category where the ability to rise above failure is feted equally with success, the founders of Bengaluru based ZopSmart, emerged as the hands-down winners of the Comeback Kid category. Hailing the team of Mukesh Singh, Raj Pandey and Vikash Kumar as role models for their sheer hard work, grit and perseverance.The team draws inspiration from the likes of Thomas Alva Edison and Swami Vivekananda who have taught us to keep trying and not make the same mistake twice. Five-year-old bootstrapped venture that provides tools to build e-commerce businesses, omnichannel businesses and digital commerce for conventional retailers. It provides services across geographies from Singapore to Japan, Europe, the US, and India. However, the journey has not been easy for the gritty founders. ZopSmart, which is now a business-to-business (B2B) venture, was a grocery delivery firm ZopNow in an earlier avatar. It failed to garner enough investor interest and eventually shut down after seven years of operations. Singh, Pandey, and Kumar decided to pivot away from grocery retailing in 2018 as more prominent and well-funded competitors emerged, including SoftBank-backed Grofers (now Blinkit) and BigBasket alongside Amazon and Flipkart. They have proved to be a role model, demonstrating that you can always course correct and innovate if there is a passion to stay relevant and agile. The ZopSmart team undertook a transformation by using the core technology they built earlier for the business-to-consumer (B2C) avatar ZopNow and started deploying it for enterprise clients. Eventually, they shut down the consumer business, bought back all the equity from existing investors and transferred the intellectual property to the new entity, which was formed in 2018.In the year ended March 31, 2023, ZopSmart clocked ₹300 crore in revenue with about ₹200 crore in net profit. While in FY22, it recorded revenues of ₹190 crore with net profits of ₹137 crore. While ZopSmart’s size tipped the scales in its favour, several jurors also made a pitch for the drone maker Ideaforge Technology, which had recorded a hugely successful public listing earlier this year.

Afsar Ahmed & Govind Agarwal

GamesBerry Labs

In a year when frugality has been the rallying mantra for the technology world, taking note of the scale and profitability achieved, the Bengaluru-based firm Gameberry Labs, an online game publisher — came through as the winner for the . The Gameberry Labs with its strategy of building long-term sustainable revenue by focusing completely on international markets with its execution chops to build a business in a crowded gaming space. Founded in 2017 by Ahmad and Govind Agarwal, Gameberry Labs is a local gaming outfit building casual online games for the international markets, exporting India’s popular pastime Ludo to the global stage. With five games — Ludo Titan, Parchisi Star, Backgammon Friends, Match Star and Ludo Star — Gameberry boasts of 22 million monthly active users. It’s more than 99% of overall revenue comes from international markets such as the Middle East & North Africa (MENA), Spain, Latin America and the US. Further, at a time when India’s online gaming industry is sinking under the pressure of a 28% goods and services tax levy, Gameberry has largely insulated itself from the impact by staying away from the real-money gaming segment.

Jishnu Bhattacharjee

Nexus Venture Capital

The best investors on conviction of their bets and exits whilst the challenges for the venture capital industry as valuations and fundraising made through by The Nexus Venture Partners’ Jishnu Bhattacharjee. The Silicon Valley-based Bhattacharjee has emerged as one of the most prominent VCs specializing in cross-border SaaS (software-as-a-service) companies by his consistent track record of portfolio exits through acquisitions.
During this 15-year investing career, Bhattacharjee has clocked over 15 exits in his portfolio, including Citrix’s acquisition by, American Express’ buyout of Mezi, and Gluster’s sale to Redhat. His other unrealized gains sit with companies like Postman, an application programming interface (API) management startup valued at $5.6 billion, and Druva, a software company providing data protection and management valued at over $2 billion. The innovation and digitization catalyzed by startups is a cornerstone of today’s Indian economy, creating millions of jobs and changing lives for the better.
Bhattacharjee, one of the foremost names backing the cross-border Indian software services community, joined Nexus in 2008 and was quickly promoted to managing director by 2012. With an astute eye for spotting innovation and a commitment to nurture talent, Jishnu has played an instrumental role in shaping the success stories of many Indian SaaS firms.

Anirudh Sharma, Rahul Rawat & Tanveer Ahmed

Digantara Research &Technologies

With Chandrayaan-3’s historic Moon landing fresh in everyone’s mind, Digantara Research & Technologies is appreciated for their brilliant contribution in the complex segment from campus and for building traction in a crowded space that has recently seen a lot of entrepreneur and investor interest.
Founded in 2018 by Lovely Professional University students Anirudh Sharma (CEO) and Rahul Rawat (COO), who teamed up with aerospace engineer Tanveer Ahmed (CTO), Digantara started with the goal of creating a sustainable space environment using patented technology. It is a space situational awareness company developing end-to-end infrastructure to address the difficulties of space operations and space traffic management difficulties through its Space—Mission Assurance Platform, or Space—MAP. The startup has raised $12.5 million from Peak XV Partners, Kalaari Capital, Global Brain Ventures and Campus Fund. The passionate individuals united with a common purpose, remarkable achievements can occur, regardless of age or experience. Their journey as leaders in the space situational awareness industry is just the beginning for addressing a unique global challenge of space traffic management amid the backdrop of the rapidly expanding space economy.
At an early stage, their mission has garnered support from some of the renowned venture capital firms, enhancing their credibility in pioneering solutions for the global space industry. Digantara plans to deploy a fleet of 40 satellites, establishing them as the foundational infrastructure for monitoring objects in Earth’s orbit. Their data will play a pivotal role in supporting space missions, ensuring their success, and contributing to a more secure orbital environment.