We must accept finite disappointment, but we must never lose infinite hope. – Martin Luther King Jr.
Startup founders are a curious breed. Even in the face of overwhelming odds, they can’t help but stay optimistic and ambitious—they are genetically programmed to suspend disbelief and see opportunity and a path to victory. At a time when the world is steeped in darkness and battles a devastating second wave of Covid-19, we could all take inspiration from startup founders and look towards the light.
For, like the great American Civil Rights activist said, we must always hold on to hope. Which is why even in the midst of a pandemic we at SaaSBOOMi decided to announce the inaugural SaaSBOOMi 2020 Awards last November. We knew we were setting an audacious task for ourselves, but we are a community of startup founders and we are used to dealing with challenges and adversities!
But, why another set of awards?
The SaaSBOOMi Awards is the first initiative in India that is completely community-driven. It is curated and judged by fellow SaaS founders—people who have built marquee companies that have scaled to thousands of employees and hundreds of millions of dollars in revenue, people who have built hugely profitable companies without raising a rupee of investor capital, people who have set global standards in deep tech and cutting-edge innovation. As any founder will tell you, validation from their fellow founders is the ultimate badge of honour—a sign that your hard work and dedication has been recognised and appreciated. Towards this end, the SaaSBOOMi Awards is an attempt towards celebrating the best among us and we are confident that in the time to come, it will emerge as an exemplar for both SaaS startups as well as startup awards in the country.
Our hope is that these awards will demonstrate that great startups can be built at any time, even in environments that are extremely challenging in all respects. The winners who we are commending today are startups that have turned adversity into opportunity and built great brands and businesses that we are confident will stand the test of time. We are also hopeful that the success stories of these companies will serve as inspiration for other SaaS startups in the country and will launch a thousand new ventures in the future.
The SaaSBOOMi Awards Process
When we called for applications we expected a good turnout and we were not disappointed! We received over 200 applications across the eight categories we announced. From this we shortlisted five companies per category. The shortlisting was done using an objective process with a scoring system that was based on different parameters and measured on quantitative metrics.
Then came the jury’s turn. The jury consisted of Aneesh Reddy, Co-Founder and CEO at Capillary Technologies, Ashwini Asokan, Founder and CEO at MadStreetDen, Girish Mathrubootham, Founder and CEO at Freshworks, Krish Subramanian, Co-founder and CEO at Chargebee, Manav Garg, Founder and CEO at Eka Software, Suresh Sambandam, CEO at KissFlow and me (Pallav Nadhani, Co-founder and former CEO of FusionCharts). For each category, three jury members with relevant domain expertise or informed opinions were tasked with deliberating upon the shortlisted candidates to decide on the winner. For two categories, SaaS Startup of the Year and Moonshot Startup of the Year, the entire jury chose the winner.
The quality of applications were such that in many categories, the jury had a tough time picking just one winner.
Some aspects did stand out for me from the selection process.
For instance, for the Bootstrapped SaaS Startup of the Year category we were looking for companies who have achieved scale of around $10 million revenue. We did receive many outstanding applications but were at a lower scale. We look forward to seeing these startups, who missed the cut, grow and win this category in the future.
The DeepTech Startup of the Year category was a particularly hotly contested one and we saw many innovative companies in the voice assistant and chatbot assistant space.
Another highly competitive category was the Vertical SaaS Startup of the Year, with many applicants from a wide variety of verticals and industries. In the B2D SaaS Startup of the Year category, we saw amazing bottoms-up adoption numbers in a short period of time for a number of applicants. That was good to see.
For the Moonshot Startup of the Year category, we would love to see more founders and startups taking even more ground breaking bets in the future.
A few of the winners were strong contenders in other categories too, which is a clear indicator of the quality of startups coming up in our ecosystem.
Before I reveal the list of winners, I would like to say that we hope to receive a lot more applications from our wonderful and growing SaaS industry and community in the next edition of this Awards. We also hope that those who did not win this year will emerge as winners in the next year.
Hope may be a dangerous thing but may we all be audacious when it comes to dreams, ambitions and hopes!
Bootstrapped Startup of the Year – Kovai
Kovai.co is a multi-product enterprise SaaS company specializing in enterprise integration and knowledge management space based out of Coimbatore and London.
Hubilo connects the world through events run on our intuitive platform, delivering deep analytics that yield masterful understandings of audiences and insights that drive meaningful ROI. More details at https://hubilo.com/
Category Creator SaaS Startup of the Year – Accedata
Acceldata’s high-definition data observability platform provides enterprises the end-to-end visibility they need to build, operate, and scale mission-critical data, AI, and advanced analytics systems. More details at https://www.acceldata.io/
DeepTech Startup of the Year – Entropik
Entropik Tech is a leader in Emotion AI enabling global brands leverage actionable emotion insights to deliver superlative marketing, brand and product experiences.More details at https://entropiktech.com/
DevTools (B2D) Startup of the Year – Hasura
Hasura is an opensource product that accelerates API development by 10x by giving you GraphQL or REST APIs with built in authorization on your data, instantly. More details at https://hasura.io/
Vertical SaaS Startup of the Year – Cardinality
With its purpose-built platform and suite of SaaS products, Cardinality.ai brings IT modernization to US government welfare agencies in the Health and Human Services space. More details at cardinality.ai
Moonshot Startup of the Year – OkCredit
OkCredit is India’s favourite bookkeeping app that makes record-keeping hassle free for SMBs. With in-built credit reminders, OkCredit is solving the crucial problem of buying and selling on credit for small merchants across India. More details at okcredit.in
SaaS Startup of the Year – Postman
Postman is the collaboration platform for API development. Postman simplifies each step of building an API and streamlines collaboration so you can create better APIs—faster. More details at Postman.com