The "Entrepreneurs 40 under 40" 2023 is an annual list compiled by the Times of Startup India to recognize and honor the top 40 entrepreneurs under the age of 40 who are making a significant impact in the Indian startup ecosystem. This prestigious list features young entrepreneurs who have shown exceptional talent, creativity, and vision in building and scaling successful businesses across various industries. These entrepreneurs are not only creating innovative solutions to address societal and business challenges but are also creating job opportunities and contributing to the growth of the Indian economy. The "Entrepreneurs 40 under 40" list serves as a source of inspiration and motivation for aspiring entrepreneurs and a celebration of the achievements of the young and dynamic entrepreneurs who are shaping the future of India.
Co-Founder & CEO, Vanity Wagon
An experienced E-Retailer with over 7 years of operational experience, Prateek Ruhail is an MBA from the University of Oxford, with a background in Project Finance (Legal) and Business Management experience. His 12-year-long career is centered around expertise in business strategy and core management, having worked closely on Mega Infrastructure Project Financings and SME Core Strategy, thereby understanding the nuances of financial management in India and overseas.
With his expertise, he started Vanity Wagon, India's first and largest clean beauty platform centered on information and community building. It is today, one of the finest information-oriented beauty marketplaces, that pledges to bring only toxin-free and natural beauty products to its consumers. Both in beauty and personal care, VW pledges to bring the safest and most effective solution-based products to the doorsteps of Indian Consumers. Prateek's vision is to create a robust, global e-commerce platform that sets the bar high.
Swapnil Srivastava, Founder of Kidbea, has studied Entrepreneurship in Emerging Economies and specialized in business analysis. He is an empowering entrepreneur who, with his determination and desire to be an industry leader, is taking the D2C industry by storm! NITI Ayog has appointed him as a mentor for change, and he was recognized as the Indian ambassador for the Global Startup Awards.
Together with two of his friends, he successfully launched Kidbea, a sustainable kidswear brand, in October 2021. His expertise in entrepreneurship has helped the brand acquire 5 lacs+ customers across the country in less than 12 months with an Annual Turnover of more than 12 crores+. In addition, the brand has onboarded 10+ renowned investors and Venture Capitalists from India and Dubai. The brand has been featured in YourStory, Startup India, Inc42 Media, and Amazon Smbhav #TOP30 Startups.
CEO & Founder, Power Gummies
Divij Bajaj is known as the gummy man of India who brought the eureka idea of introducing scientifically backed chewable vitamin gummies to India, taking away the fear of pills. Power Gummies came into existence in 2018 with a simple belief - health is the foundation of life. An alumnus of Kirori Mal College, University of Delhi, and IP University came up with this mind-boggling idea of curating vitamin gummies with his personal life experience of his mother hating bland and bitter-tasting supplement capsules.
Power Gummies took the charge to be the provider in the journey of millennials and adults with ‘Effective Nutrition’ amidst their fast-paced life, rising awareness for clean nutraceuticals, concern for self-care and preventive healthcare, and pill fatigue. Power Gummies has touched over 10,00,000+ lives to discover their happier and healthier version with a sustainable and eco-friendly brand ethos. Divij is unconditionally committed to category-creating business by changing the shape of the Indian nutraceutical industry with Power Gummies’ galactic performance over the four years of their operations, introducing six variants - Gorgeous Hair & Nail vitamins, The Beach Body Gummies, That Time of the Month Gummies, Jaw Dropping Gummies, Blissful Sleep Gummies and Dapper Hair and Beard Gummies.
CEO, OYO Rooms
With more than 23,000 hotels under its belt, 8,50,000 rooms, and 46,000 vacation homes spread throughout the globe, OYO has undoubtedly made its imprint on the travel industry. The successful low-cost hotel rental spaces were founded by Ritesh Agarwal, a 27-year-old. In 2013, he started this business.
Agarwal had a passion for entrepreneurship from a young age. At the age of 17, he dropped out of college and started his first business, Oravel Stays, which provides affordable accommodations for budget travelers. As a young entrepreneur, he was awarded a Thiel Fellowship in 2013, which provides mentorship and funding. Ritesh Agarwal is the only Asian resident to get a Thiel fellowship.
Despite being only 27 years old, Agarwal has a slew of accomplishments that include but aren’t limited to the following. Forbes named him one of the top 30 under 30 in the consumer tech sector. TATA First Dot powered by NEN awards named him among the 50 entrepreneurs in 2013. He was awarded the TiE- Lumis Entrepreneurial Excellence Award in 2014. He has also been recognized as a young entrepreneur by the business world. Furthermore, he holds the record as the world's youngest self-made billionaire.
Ritesh Agarwal's story of perseverance, commitment, and not losing sight of the big picture makes him successful. One of the country's most successful startups, OYO rooms solve issues related to the discovery of affordable, clean, and accessible budget hotels across the nation and abroad.
Chitra Gurnani Daga
Chitra Gurnani Daga is an entrepreneur and the founder of Thrillophilia, a travel company that offers a wide range of adventure and experiential tours in India and other countries. She started Thrillophilia in 2009 along with her husband, Abhishek Daga, with the aim of providing unique and offbeat travel experiences to adventure enthusiasts.
Chitra has a background in engineering and worked in the corporate world before starting her own venture. She was motivated to start Thrillophilia after she realized that there was a lack of organized adventure travel options in India.
Under Chitra's leadership, Thrillophilia has grown into a leading adventure travel company in India. It offers a diverse range of experiences such as trekking, camping, rafting, and wildlife safaris. The company has also expanded operations to other countries, including Nepal, Bhutan, Indonesia, Thailand, and Dubai.
Chitra has been recognized for her entrepreneurial achievements and won several awards, including the "Woman Entrepreneur of the Year" award at the Entrepreneur India Awards in 2018. She is also a member of the Indian Angel Network and actively invests in travel and hospitality startups.
CEO, SUGAR Cosmetics
Vineeta Singh, the founder, and CEO of Sugar Cosmetics is one of the most known businesswomen. She has persuaded her Master's in Business Administration from the Indian Institute of Management Ahmedabad. She started her career with an offer to be a director at Quetzal Online Private Limited, a Mumbai-based recruiting company. After five years working for Quetzal, she became the co-founder of FABBAG, which supplies beauty products.
She was only 23 when she declined a 1 crore job offer from an investment bank, to start her entrepreneurial journey. After working with a few organizations, she created her own brand Sugar Cosmetics. She gained attention within a year of launching it. After raising $85.5 million in funding and generating Rs.500 crore in revenue, SUGAR Cosmetics' co-founder knows everything about building a brand. As a leading businesswoman in India, Vineeta Singh has established businesses in 130 cities.
Founder & CEO, FS Life
Born and raised in New Delhi, a topper throughout her high school and undergraduate studies, Ayushi Gudwani, founder & CEO of FS Life, pursued her MBA from IIM Calcutta and was awarded a silver medal. In 2016, she started FableStreet, a premium western wear brand focused on providing the best fit for Indian women. It has now evolved into a multi-brand organization with Mikoto — a sterling silver and semi-precious jewelry brand that caters to women's needs for high-quality jewelry at affordable prices, and Marigold — a modern Indian wear brand reimagining traditional clothing for modern women.
Gudwani noticed the lack of professional clothing options for women when she began working for McKinsey. There were a majority of brands in this field that were international, with clothing that wasn't specifically designed for Indian women. Seeing an opportunity, she founded FableStreet, a clothing brand that caters to Indian professional women. In the past two years, the revenue of the company has grown eightfold, all the more impressive since this happened during the pandemic.
Co-founder & CEO, Porter
Pranav Goel is an Indian entrepreneur who co-founded Porter, a technology-enabled logistics platform that provides on-demand trucking services. Pranav was born and brought up in Delhi, India, and pursued his undergraduate studies in Computer Science at Stanford University.
After working as a software engineer at Oracle Corporation for a brief period, he co-founded Porter in 2014. Porter was designed to provide an on-demand logistics platform for small and medium businesses. The platform aimed to solve the problem of inefficient and unorganized logistics in India by providing a simple, reliable, and affordable solution.
Porter began operations in Bangalore with just a few trucks and a handful of employees. Currently, the company serves 8+ million customers across 15 cities in India.
Dr Saurabh Lall
General Manager & Head of Hospital Operations, Max Healthcare
Dr Saurabh Lall is a doctor turned astute management professional with experience across functions to optimize the value chain of business in healthcare. He started his professional journey as a clinician with the government of India but soon realized that he had a different belonging in the Healthcare Management world. As not many would have risked, he quit his role as a practicing doctor & took the start-up plunge with a new healthcare startup called 'Clove Dental'. At Clove, Dr Lall was exposed to practically all aspects of business due to a bootstrapped team that was focused on growth at a tremendous pace. This gave him the opportunity to learn across the board and take an informed call on moving into hard-core hospital operations. Post a successful stint at Clove, Dr Lall led pan-India strategic operations for a corporate network of eye care hospitals called 'Centre for Sight Group of Hospitals'. He was involved in growing the business on multiple fronts in the eye care ecosystem before he joined Max Healthcare. Currently, Dr Saurabh Lall leads Hospital Operations at the flagship unit of Max Healthcare at Saket as General Manager.
He has initiated & managed new business verticals, enhanced Market Penetration & Business Growth; supervised multidisciplinary cross-functional teams E2E. With exceptional multi-faceted experience in Healthcare Management at top-notch hospitals, Dr Lall has contributed his expertise towards Medical Excellence, Service Excellence, Quality, Sales & Marketing, Information Technology, Vendor Management, Med-Tech, Out-of-Hospital/Home Care Services, Medical Tourism, Operations Management, Brand Management, Training & Customer Service & Human Resources. As a keen observer of market trends, he has been pivotal in driving forces toward expanding markets for running profitable businesses & has been actively involved in managing business operations encompassing conceptualization & executing strategies in B2B/B2C segments.
A thorough strategist and implementer with the deftness of laying down strategies & driving teams to ensure the successful activation of hospital operations, Dr Saurabh Lall is an effective communicator with honed interpersonal, team building, negotiation, presentation, and analytical skills. He has driven Innovation & Change Management that has led to streamlined processes to forecast & drive overall operations. He has also mobilized methodologies & processes to achieve Patient Delight through excellent Service Delivery & Recovery. As part of the JCI, NABH, NABL & other accreditation core committees, Dr Lall has successfully led assessments for Hospitals & Healthcare Providers.
Co-founder & CBO, Zypp Electric
Rashi Agarwal is the CBO & Co-founder of Zypp Electric, a mother, a fitness enthusiast, an avid traveler, and a serial entrepreneur. She came from the beautiful hill station called Almora and pursued B.com from SSJ college. She was a gold medalist in B.com, followed by an MBA in Finance and Marketing from the Indian Institute of Management, Kozhikode.
She started her career 15 years back with S&P Capital IQ. Moving up as a Senior Research Associate, she has won multiple awards & recognition during her stint. She has worked at S&P Capital IQ for seven years, following which she started her own venture, LetsFlaunt, a fashion e-commerce brand which was dealing in customization offerings like t-shirts, coasters, mugs, etc.
After three years of running LetsFlaunt, she decided to embark on a new journey with Akash, her life partner, and the Co-founder & CEO of Zypp Electric with an aim to drive better EV adoption and make a contribution to the fight against climate change. At Zypp, she is responsible for the supply, procurement, efficient deployment, and redeployment of electric scooters, for all the OEMs, fintech, and leasing partnerships, and all legal and statutory compliances. Apart from that, she is closely working with the heads of HR, admin, legal, finance, sourcing, data, and operations in the CBO role.
Aman Kumar Mahto
Aman Kumar Mahto, Founder of Kidbea, is a Computer Science graduate with a specialization in Product & Development. With his expertise in finance and business growth strategy, he is partnering with two friends to start Kidbea, a sustainable kidswear brand that provides environmentally friendly, certified organic, spill-proof, anti-bacterial, breathable, and the softest kids' products. Startup India recognized him as an emerging entrepreneur.
He believes in the effectiveness of sustainability and eco-friendly practices, which will benefit the Earth and human generations in the long run. Simple-to-use innovation that can accelerate sustainability adoption across industries and customer segments is what he advocates.
CEO, The Pant Project
Dhruv Toshniwal studied finance at The Wharton School of Business and worked as a management consultant in New York before joining his family business which has 45+ years of experience in apparel manufacturing. He branched out to start The Pant Project because he was frustrated by the lack of options for well-fitting pants in India.
The Pant Project is focused on providing the most comfortable custom-made pants for all occasions and has taken a digitally native approach, winning the Inc42 award for fastest growing D2C brand in India two years in a row. Dhruv is obsessed with operational excellence, technology innovation and constantly enhancing customer experience, and along with his co-founder and brother Udit, wants to build a brand that becomes a household go-to name for bottom-wear in India.
CEO, Ola Cabs
Like other online marketplaces, OlaCabs, more often referred to as Ola, specializes in providing taxi services. The large organization's driving force is Bhavish Aggarwal. In the world of internet business, he has always aspired to develop his own watermark.
Bhavish Aggarwal is an Indian businessman and co-founder of Ola Cabs, the most popular ridesharing and cab aggregator in that country. He earned a bachelor's degree in computer science and engineering from the Indian Institute of Technology Bombay (IIT Bombay) in 2008, and he began working for Microsoft Research India as a research intern.
By leaving his well-paid and secure job at Microsoft Research India to start an online rental cab service empire, Bhavish took a significant risk with his life. In Bangalore, Bhavish established "OLA CABS" in 2010. Currently, the company has increased the number of drivers in its network to over 1,500,000 across 250 cities.
Mohammad Hussain, Founder of Kidbea, is a serial entrepreneur who specializes in Business Analysis. KIDBEA is a sustainable kidswear brand that he builds with expertise in Business Growth Investments and organization building. With two college friends, Mohammad Hussain began his entrepreneurial journey to provide eco-friendly products and services rooted in organic principles and sustainability.
He founded Kidbea in October 2021 based on his experience in startups. Within a short period of time, the brand gained widespread recognition from investors and customers. As of now, the brand has more than 5 lakh+ customers across the country and generates monthly revenue of INR 1 Crore+. Ten+ investors from India and Dubai have already been onboarded by the brand.
Co-founder & CEO, Josh Talks
Supriya Paul is an Indian entrepreneur and the founder of Josh Talks, a media platform that aims to inspire and empower young people by sharing stories of successful individuals from various walks of life. She co-founded Josh Talks along with her husband, Shobhit Banga, in 2015.
Supriya has a background in political science and worked in the development sector before starting her own venture. She was inspired to start Josh Talks after attending a conference in the United States where she saw the impact of storytelling on people's lives. Under Supriya's leadership, Josh Talks has grown into a leading media platform in India, with a massive audience on social media and an active community of contributors and volunteers. The platform features stories of successful individuals from diverse backgrounds, including entrepreneurs, artists, activists, and social workers.
Supriya has been recognized for her entrepreneurial achievements and has won several awards, including the "Young Entrepreneur of the Year" award at the Entrepreneur India Awards in 2018. She has also been featured in various media outlets, including Forbes and the BBC. In addition to running Josh Talks, Supriya is also an advocate for women's rights and empowerment. She is a mentor to young women entrepreneurs and has been actively involved in initiatives that support gender equality and female empowerment.
Richa Kar is an Indian entrepreneur and the founder of Zivame, an online lingerie and intimate-wear platform that aims to provide women with a convenient and personalized shopping experience. She founded Zivame in 2011 with the aim of addressing the challenges that women faced in buying lingerie in India.
Richa has a background in engineering and worked in the technology industry before starting her own venture. She was inspired to start Zivame after realizing that women in India faced numerous challenges in buying lingerie, including limited options, lack of privacy, and discomfort in physical stores.
Richa has been recognized for her entrepreneurial achievements and has won several awards, including the "Young Woman Entrepreneur of the Year" award at the Entrepreneur India Awards in 2015. She has also been featured in various media outlets, including Forbes and Business Today. In addition to running Zivame, Richa is also an advocate for women's empowerment and has been actively involved in initiatives that support women entrepreneurs and leaders. She has been a mentor to several young women entrepreneurs and has spoken at various events and conferences about the importance of gender diversity and inclusion in the workplace.
CEO, Treebo Hotels
Siddharth Gupta is a young entrepreneur and the co-founder of Treebo Hotels, a budget hotel chain based in India. Siddharth Gupta's journey as an entrepreneur began in 2015 when he and his two co-founders, Rahul Chaudhary, and Kadam Jeet Jain, identified a gap in the Indian hotel market for standardized budget hotels. They saw that there were limited options for travelers seeking comfortable and reliable budget accommodations, and this led them to create Treebo Hotels. The company focused on providing a consistent experience across all its properties, including amenities such as clean linens, complimentary breakfast, and free Wi-Fi.
Siddharth Gupta and his co-founders used their industry experience and knowledge of technology to create a brand that resonated with the needs of their customers. They also raised funds from top investors which enabled them to expand their business rapidly. Siddharth Gupta's journey as an entrepreneur with Treebo Hotels is a testament to the importance of identifying market gaps, building scalable technology platforms, and providing a consistent and quality experience for customers.
Founder & CEO, InMobi
Naveen Tiwari is an Indian entrepreneur and the founder and CEO of InMobi, a global mobile advertising and discovery platform. Naveen Tiwari's journey as an entrepreneur began in 2007 when he founded InMobi, originally known as mKhoj. At the time, mobile advertising was still in its infancy, and Naveen saw the potential of the industry and identified a gap in the market for a mobile advertising platform that was both user-friendly and effective.
The company provides advertising solutions for mobile devices, including smartphones and tablets, and has since grown to become one of the world's largest mobile advertising platforms. Under Naveen's leadership, InMobi has become a unicorn startup, with a valuation of over $1 billion, and has expanded to over 15 offices worldwide. Today, InMobi is a leading player in the mobile advertising industry, and Naveen Tiwari is recognized as one of India's most successful tech entrepreneurs.
Founder & CEO, DeHaat
Shashank Kumar is an Indian entrepreneur and the co-founder of DeHaat, an agri-tech startup that provides end-to-end agricultural supply chain solutions to farmers in rural India.
In 2012, Shashank co-founded DeHaat with his childhood friends. The company aims to address the challenges faced by smallholder farmers in India, such as lack of access to markets, finance, and information. DeHaat provides farmers with a range of services, including access to high-quality inputs, personalized advisory services, and market links. The company has developed a network of over 2,500 rural distribution centers across six states in India, serving over 400,000 farmers. Under Shashank's leadership, the company raised $30 million in a Series C funding round led by Prosus Ventures and saw its valuation surpass $350 million.
Sumit Kumar, the founder of AskmeIdentity, has developed websites and web apps since his high school days. He as a hobby created a few apps back then. This always kept him curious about how he could distribute his app to the masses.
His college was affiliated with the Wadhwani foundation at that time where he used to have a week of entrepreneurship activities and students could talk about their ideas. He presented his apps to teachers and professors and got some attention there which gave him hope that he could scale and be an entrepreneur himself.
With the experience of about 8 years in Cybersecurity and IAM, he realized the potential of developing business-oriented custom solutions that bigger companies do not provide or have a hefty fee for. While freelancing for small clients, Sumit met his other founders. This collaboration worked well and helped them reach where they are today. AskmeIdentity serves clients in the US, UK, and India, and soon will he expand to a lot of geographies and verticals. The major focus of the business is to provide identity as a service, integration of applications, and security analysis.
Sumit has the vision to become one of the top Indian IAM service providers internationally with this company.