Gaja Capital Business Book Prize 2023 Jointly Awarded To 'Against All Odds: The IT Story Of India' And 'Winning Middle India: The Story Of India's New-Age Entrepreneurs'

(MENAFN- ForPressRelease) Bengaluru, December 19, 2023: Against All Odds: The IT Story of India, a chronicle of the trials, triumphs, and history of the Indian IT sector over the last six decades, and Winning Middle India: The Story of India's New-Age Entrepreneurs, a detailed account of the new generation of startup founders who are catalysts for innovative products and services in India, have been announced as the joint winners of the Gaja Capital Business book Prize 2023.

The winners were selected from a diverse and compelling set of 50 nominated books from over 35 publishers, showcasing the expanding pantheon of Indian business literature. Instituted in 2019 by Gaja Capital, a leading Indian private equity firm, the Gaja Capital Business Book Prize aims to encourage Indian entrepreneurs, writers, and journalists to tell their stories to the world. It offers the largest book prize in the country, INR 15 lakh in prize money, to reward and support authors and promote high-calibre business research that would encourage and equip upcoming business owners and young entrepreneurs.

While announcing the winners, Gopal Jain, Co-Founder and Managing Partner, Gaja Capital said, "The 2023 shortlist showcased a rich tapestry of inspiring stories from diverse backgrounds. These books vividly depict the unwavering spirit of Indian entrepreneurship, highlighting the transformative impact of hard work, innovation, and risk-taking. It was a challenging decision to select two joint winners among such outstanding candidates. 'Against All Odds' and 'Winning Middle India' truly embody the essence of Indian entrepreneurial excellence and celebrate India's continued success in IT services, while also recognizing the huge potential and promise of our young start-up ecosystem. We hope these narratives will ignite the passion of the next generation of entrepreneurs, inspiring them to rise, innovate, and leave their mark on the world"

The jury for the fifth edition of the Gaja Capital Business Book Prize comprised stalwarts from the worlds of industry, investments, academia, public policy, and governance: Manish Sabharwal, Vice-Chairman at TeamLease (Chairman, Jury), Imran Jafar, Managing Partner & Co-Founder at Gaja Capital, Arindam Bhattacharya, Senior Advisor and Emeritus Partner of Boston Consulting Group, Dr. Lakshmi Venu, MD of Sundaram-Clayton (SCL), Dr. Sangita Reddy, Joint Managing Director of Apollo Hospitals, Michael Queen, Former Chief Executive of 3i, Neelkanth Mishra, Chief Economist, Head of Global Research, and member of the Board at Axis Capital, Prithvi Haldea, Founder Chairman of Praxis Consulting, Shailesh Haribhakti, Founder and Managing Partner of Shailesh Haribhakti & Associates Chartered Accountants, and UK Sinha, Former Head, RBI Expert Committee on Micro, Small, and Medium Enterprises (MSMEs) and Former Chairman of SEBI.

The jury process began with creating a short list of 5 books from a select long list of ten books. The other books from the 2023 shortlist consisted of a range of stories of enterprises and their protagonists including:

· Capture the Dream: The Many Lives of Captain C.P. Krishnan Nair (by Bachi Karkaria)

· Essentially Mira: The Extraordinary Journey Behind Forest Essentials (by Mira Kulkarni)

· The Tech Phoenix: Satyam's 100-Day Turnaround (by T.N. Manoharan & V. Pattabhi Ram)

Jury Citation

'Against All Odds: The IT Story of India' encapsulates the profound saga of the Indian IT industry. This book delves into the industry's remarkable journey, marked by challenges conquered, resilience unwavering, serendipity harnessed, foresight honed, and meticulous planning executed over the span of six decades. Distinguished by its objectivity and sharp acumen, this chronicle meticulously weaves together the firsthand accounts of over fifty distinguished individuals who have indelibly shaped the landscape of the Indian IT industry.
'Winning Middle India: The Story of India's New-Age Entrepreneurs' examines the exciting potential for enhancing the accessibility, affordability, and quality of products and services for millions of Indians. At its heart lies a new generation of startup founders who are capitalizing on technology platforms, the ubiquitous reach of smartphones, and the rapid digitization of the Indian consumer sphere. These forward-thinking entrepreneurs, unburdened by the past, are drawn to the immense opportunities presented by Middle India—a demographic encompassing the next 400-500 million Indians, positioned just below the apex of the economic pyramid. The book chronicles this highly potent force of change sweeping across India, providing invaluable insights into the strategies required to harness it and to contribute to the transformation of the nation's destiny.

About the books:

Against All Odds: The IT Story of India: The story of the Indian IT industry is a story of trials and triumphs, resilience, foresight, and planning. This book chronicles the history of the Indian IT industry over the last six decades. Objective and incisive, it is peppered with the personal experiences of over fifty protagonists, who have built and shaped the Indian IT industry. Conceived as a business history work, the book is a collection of unique stories that not only provides rare data of history but also offers fascinating entrepreneurial lessons. It is a book that helps readers understand the importance of collective efforts in building world-class sustainable institutions.

Winning Middle India: The Story of India's New-Age Entrepreneurs: Is there a fundamental new catalyst that can significantly enhance access, affordability and quality of products and services to hundreds of millions of Indians? This catalyst is in the form of a new generation of start-up founders who are leveraging technology platforms, access to smartphones, and rapid digitization of the Indian consumer. These young founders don't carry the baggage of the past and are attracted to the opportunity of breaking open the massive market of Middle India - the next 400-500 Million Indians just below the top of the pyramid. This book is about this new and powerful force of change blowing across India - what it takes to harness this and reshape the destiny of this country.

About the Authors:

Against All Odds: The IT Story of India
Kris Gopalakrishnan is a globally recognized business thought-leader and philanthropist. He co-founded Infosys and is one of the captains of the IT services industry worldwide. He is a recipient of the Padma Bhushan, India's third highest civilian honour.

N. Dayasindhu is an avid researcher focusing on innovations in globally distributed R&D and IT. He is the co-founder and CEO of itihaasa Research and Digital. He anchored high-impact R&D and capability development programs as an Infoscion.

Krishnan Narayanan is passionate about all things digital. He is the co-founder and President of itihaasa Research and Digital and was a member of the Infosys Labs Management Council, board member of Actyv, and President of the IIT Madras Alumni Association.

Winning Middle India: The Story of India's New-Age Entrepreneur

T.N. Hari is an angel investor, advisor and sounding board to numerous young entrepreneurs as well as startups. He is a prolific writer and has co-authored four books before this, the last being 'Saying No to Jugaad: The Making of BigBasket'. Hari studied at IIT and IIM and has worked at an executive level with multiple start-ups/scale-ups.

Bala Srinivasa is the Managing Director of Arkam Ventures. He earlier worked for Kalaari Capital as a Partner in 2015. His 21 years of work experience is spread across two successful start-ups and as a senior equity analyst covering the software technology sector.

About Gaja Capital

One of India's premier mid-market focused private equity firms, Gaja Capital provides growth capital to ambitious entrepreneurs building the future champions of the Indian economy. It has an established track record of delivering strong performance since inception and has positioned itself as a partner of choice for emerging companies in India and leading global and domestic institutional investors. Gaja Capital was founded in 2004 by Gopal Jain, Ranjit Shah, and Imran Jafar — a group of seasoned indigenous professionals with an established track record of investing and operational management in India. The high calibre of leadership, investment, and operating expertise within Gaja's core team has enabled it to deliver tangible value beyond capital to the entrepreneurs it has invested in.

About the Gaja Capital Business Book Prize:

The Gaja Capital Business Book Prize was established in 2019. It honours authors and their works which celebrate the spirit of entrepreneurship and business leadership in India. Past winners include journalist and author Harish Damodaran's "Broke to Breakthrough" (2022), a detailed and perceptive account of the rise of dairy company Hatsun Agro and its founder R.G. Chandramogan; Amrit Raj's book "Indian Icon: A Cult Called Royal Enfield," (2021) a gripping account of how a strong Indian brand became global; Mint journalist Mihir Dalal's debut book, "Big Billion Startup: The Untold Flipkart Story" (2020) and "The Tatas: How a Family Built a Business and a Nation" (2019) co-authored by Girish Kuber & Vikrant Pande.

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