June, 27, 2017
The List
07 Apr
Posted by Prem Sivakumaran

Let me admit, I am a huge fan of Lists. I use them for fun, for learning, for improving productivity and, even, for procrastinating stuff.

I also carefully follow several of the more popular business lists – Fortune 500, Inc. 5000, Forbes 400; you get the drift.

There is no doubt that lists help us make sense of chaos. I glanced through several lists today, and each one either gave me a new perspective or fresh information.

I enjoyed going through two lists published by the daily newspaper Mint. One was a list of “5 New Early Stage VCs in India” and their investment philosophies and another was “40 People Who Matter in the Indian Startup Ecosystem”. (In fact, Mukesh Ambani featured in the latter!).

I also went through Startup Genome’s 2015 list of 20 best startup ecosystems in the world. The only city from India that featured on this list was Bengaluru; no Mumbai, no Delhi. Among the global startup ecosystems, I was surprised there was no Dublin, Ireland, one of best emerging startup hubs in Europe.

Can we find gaps in these lists? Of course. In fact, you can drastically change, make an argument and modify over 50 per cent of any of these lists. We could make an easy argument to include Mumbai and Dublin in the Startup Genome List. Mukesh Ambani’s Jio allowed India’s richest man to be called a ‘Startup Entrepreneur’. It doesn’t take too much to argue against it.

But why are these lists relevant?  From a reader perspective, it gives us ‘easy to grasp’ information in a simple format. It was easy for me to jot down the names of the five new VCs in town. I made a mental note to schedule interviews with three entrepreneurs in Mint’s 40 Who Matter… list. And, I noticed Vancouver on the Startup Genome list, so I Googled and read a couple of articles about the city’s most exciting startups.

I say it again – lists are fun, easy-to-grasp, and help us make sense of chaotic, unorganized information.

It is for this reason that we have decided to publish a collection of lists in The Smart CEO, in the coming fiscal.

Of course, our flagship list is Startup50. It is a listing of India’s 50 best startups, who’ve shown remarkable character and progress within five years of founding. Startup50 is a nuanced list, carefully put together from a nomination pool of over 250 ventures, completely decided based on data analytics and a Jury Process.

However, lists like Startup50 are time consuming to arrive at and require high-quality data crunching skills, coupled with the time commitment from senior entrepreneurs (as jury members).

But, we realized that the content we produced around Startup50 helped a lot of readers get an overall sense of India’s startup ecosystem. So, we decided that we would publish sector-specific lists, that’d not be as rigorous to publish, but would help our readers make sense of a sector, through examples. Hence, the idea of publishing Fintech35 and F&B20.

The Smart CEO-Fintech 35 List, which was published in January 2017, was representative of India’s emerging fintech ecosystem. Specifically, it gave our readers a glimpse into the various sub-categories within fintech; peer-to-peer lending, wallets, bots, SME financing, fraud prevention, financial inclusion-tech, insurance tech, etc. The list by no means was complete; However, a first-hand account of the experiences of 35 fintech entrepreneurs was very relevant.

With the F&B20 list, we hope to do the same. It is a collection of 20 narratives from food & beverage entrepreneurs. These ventures are at various stages of a company lifecycle – some early-stage, some late stage private equity backed, and some that have just pivoted to a new business model. Irrespective of the details, these 20 stories are sure to give you a perspective of what it is to build a food business in our country. And, that’s really the goal of our sector lists.

Hope you enjoy reading the F&B20 Collection.

No comments for the article
Editor's Pick
  • The Snapdeal Pivot

    In January 2013, Snapdeal had a mere US $100,000 in the bank, a small chunk left after it had burned through almost all of the US $57 million it had raised since September 2009. Th...

  • Transformation by design

    Polaris’ Arun Jain has engineered a unique strategy at the mid-sized financial technology company, incubating a robust products company from within a running services entity. He ...

  • In coffee, we trust

    Tata Starbucks is the coming together of two iconic brands. 34-year-old Avani Saglani Davda, the company’s CEO, explains to us why her game plan for Starbucks in India is to “g...

  • Where there’s traction, Money will follow

    Deepinder Goyal, founder and CEO, Zomato, shares a great working relationship with investor Sanjeev Bikhchandani of Info Edge for one simple reason: Bikhchandani is more entreprene...

  • Playing 20 Questions with Mittu Chandilya

    The AirAsia India boss discusses his interview experience with Tony Fernandes, his firm-and-fair management style and why it is crucial to be a serial innovator to win in the aviat...

  • Where ownership and management are different

    Dr. Ranjan Pai, Managing Director, Manipal Education and Medical Group, has led the professionalisation of the Group by consciously empowering his senior managers, seeding several ...

  • Building a Happy Company

    Ashok Soota-led Happiest Minds Technologies has woven happiness into its business process. Find out how you can do it too....

  • Narayana Health’s ten-year plan

    Narayana Health’s Dr. Devi Prasad Shetty wants to rewrite India’s healthcare story. His personal mantra: it is pointless talking about all the advancements in healthcare if peo...

  • Creative Dialogue on Scaling Up

    Cognizant’s Lakshmi Narayanan indulges in a creative, freewheeling chat with L. Kannan and Vijay Babu of Vortex Engineering, a solar-ATM manufacturer....

  • "Businesses don’t go anywhere, people do"

    Mindtree’s Subroto Bagchi urges entrepreneurs to think of their journey as a process of continuously creating infrastructure – physical, intellectual and emotional. He specific...