From Google to Microsoft, Uber to Ola and Flipkart to Paytm, they’re all part of the Fourth Express IT awards. Across nine categories and 400-plus entries, the fledglings have fought the giants, the start-ups taken on veterans. When the envelopes are opened on December 9, it shouldn’t surprise anyone if the minnows trump the big fish much like Manthan toppled Adobe a couple of years ago.
What’s wonderful about the awards is that, small or big, everyone stands a fair chance — the judges look only for good ideas. Over the years, some hidden gems like AudioCompass, Avekshaa Technologies, Foradian Technologies, Paychamp and Teamchat have been discovered. The 2016 list too should have some budding stars that angel investors might want to check out.
As in previous seasons, the innovation segment has been the most popular this time too, attracting the maximum number of entries at over 100. Mobility too is a keenly competitive segment; this time Freshdesk, Ola and Paytm are among the 50-odd contenders in this space. In the analytics segment, IBM and Microsoft will face off against each other while the likes of Adobe, Zoho and TCS are competing against one another in the software solutions category. In the fray in the e-commerce space are Flipkart, Amazon and Uber. Meanwhile,taking on each other in the start-up segment are Xiaomi, Simplilearn and Zoomcar.
It’s not just companies; the Express IT Awards have also applauded the people behind the ideas and the businesses. NR Narayana Murthy, Infosys co-founder, and S Ramadorai, former Tata Consultancy Services vice-chairman, have been recognised for their lifetime contributions to the sector. “Such recognition inspires me to work hard for the rest of my life,” Murthy had said on receiving the award. TCS CEO N Chandrasekaran and Infosys MD and CEO Vishal Sikka have picked up the trophies for Newsmaker of the Year.
With stimulating discussions and debates, the events are a venue for IT and e-commerce professionals to exchange thoughts and ideas. It was at the first awards event in 2013 that Nandan Nilekani had foreseen the promise of Aadhaar. “Much like the internet and GPS which were initiated by public spending and resulted in the creation of multi-billion-dollar companies, Aadhaar might be able to do the same,” he had said in his keynote address.
Stalwarts such as Google India head Rajan Anandan, Tata Group CTO Gopichand Katragadda, SAP Labs India MD Dilipkumar Khandelwal, Cisco India and Saarc president Dinesh Malkani, and Startup Village Chairman Sanjay Vijaykumar have all been part of the interactions at some point. Youngsters such as Zoomcar founder Greg Moran and Lookup founder Deepak Ravindran have also shared their experiences of founding and running a start-up.