Apart from the 30 listees, we find people we couldn't ignore in nearly every category even if they didn't make the cut for the final list—these are 2023's people to watch out for
Rah Naqvi | 26 Artist The works of Rah Naqvi centre around themes of religious and societal polarisation, and advocate for social and feminist causes, including that of body positivity. Having studied Liberal Arts at St Xavier’s College, Mumbai, and earned a Bachelor of Textiles from the National Institute of Design, Ahmedabad, Rah has been a part of the De Ateliers Residency, Amsterdam, in 2019-2021, and is currently based in The Netherlands. Also read: 30 Under 30 2023: A decade of celebrating outstanding young achievers
Clean Energy & Climate Change
Aradhita Parasrampuria | 24 Head designer at Cellsense Aradhita Parasrampuria is a sustainable materials researcher and textile designer from India, based in New York. She combines synthetic biology with fashion to create climate conscious, ethical and affordable textiles to replace petroleum-based materials. She works with raw materials such as algae, Escherichia coli, and cellulose.
Devesh Joshi, 29 Founder & director | Omnia Energy Founded in 2019, Omnia Energy is a waste-to-energy startup that produces sustainable fuels from waste plastic and rubber by recovering the calorific value from waste. The company is also creating jobs in rural areas. It claims to have recycled 11,000 kg of waste, offsetting about 12 MT CO2 equivalent emissions and producing 4,200 litres of sustainable and fossil-free fuel.
Ria Rustagi | 28 Co-founder & CEO, Neuphony Ria Rustagi developed a ‘smartwatch for the brain’ after she lost her sister to a rare brain infection. Started in 2020, Neuphony is India’s first and only brain wearable headband, which claims to improve the overall health of the brain. While the band measures the electrical activity of the brain, the app based on the data recommends techniques to achieve the desired state.
Rahul Raj | 29 Co-founder & CEO, FloBiz He hailed from a middle class family in Patna, but IIT-Kharagpur made Rahul Raj dream big. He started a food delivery business in his third year, and, after graduation, Koinex, a cryptocurrency exchange. In 2019, Raj started his third venture, FloBiz, a neobank for SMEs, which has raised $41 million, and counts Sequoia Capital India and Think Investments, among its backers.
Ayan Roy | 29 & Soumyodeep Das | 29 Co-founders, VBridge The duo started VBridge with a motto to bridge the gap between architects and society, the community with the design world. They are one of the first in India to design buildings without bricks, through LGSF technology. Roy and Das have received the credentials of designing an international airport—in Paro, Bhutan—and are also the youngest duo from India to be awarded a recognition at the London Design Biennale.
Palaash Chaudhary | 29 Co-founder, soft-geometry The co-founder of furniture studio soft-geometry, Chaudhary, along with co-founder Utharaa Zacharias (30), designs and hand-makes sculptural lamps, tables and chairs that have been exhibited at several design shows across the world. At the onset of the pandemic, they conceived and curated the first virtual gallery with 11 design studios from nine countries and presented a fantasy gallery inhabited by its imagined objects.
Digital Content Creators
Vishnu Kaushal | 25 Digital content creator, actor Short, snappy and relatable comic videos are Vishnu Kaushal’s trademarks. According to content creator Kusha Kapila, one can’t help but simply watch his content. One has to share it, save it for later and probably bring it up in a conversation in the future. He has garnered close to 2.4 million followers on Instagram and 35,900 subscribers on YouTube in under two years. He worked at a beverage startup as its social media manager before he quit his job in Chandigarh to move to Delhi and explore content creation. He is now extending his creativity in merchandising with his brand Peach by Vishnu. That’s not all, the 25-year-old has recently completed two seasons of the Lionsgate Play web series titled Feels Like Home.
Ecommerce & Retail
Robin Gupta | 29 Founder & CEO, Conscious Chemist For over one-and-a-half years, Robin Gupta kept his venture bootstrapped. There were two reasons. First, founded in July 2019, Conscious Chemist started as a D2C clean beauty brand in the skincare category. During the initial phase, the startup was trying to find a product-market fit with a wide range of functional and sustainable products. Personal care and beauty products, underlines Gupta, contribute to a huge amount of landfill and water pollution. So, it was a conscious call to stay clean. Second, Gupta wanted backers who had the same vision. Then, Lotus happened. In January 2022, Lotus Herbals acquired a 25 percent stake in Conscious Chemist. “We are trying to bring about a change, one bottle at a time,” says Gupta.
Liyas Thomas | 26 Founder and ceo, Hoppscotch The founder of Hoppscotch wrote the first version of his eponymous software, an API testing tool on the web, in hours. And when he open-sourced it, putting it on Github, it notched up some 10,000 users in quick time. A year down the line, by December 2020, about 500,000 developers were using it, he recalls. Today, Liyas Thomas is leading a team of 12, from Kochi, building Hoppscotch into a provider of API development software, with $3 million funding from OSS Capital.
Shivam Singla | 28 Founder and ceo, Leegality A National Law School India University graduate, and his co-founders, Prakhar Agrawal and Sapan Parekh, built Leegality into a provider of a software solution that makes e-signing and e-stamping a hassle-free process. Leegality eliminates physical documents, with 15 kinds of e-signing options. It has 1,500 customers, including eight top banking groups, Singla says. Founded in 2016, the Delhi-based company has raised $6.63 million from investors like India Infoline and Mumbai Angels. Rama Krishna | 25 Co-founder and ceo, EndureAir Rama Krishna and his co-founders Abhishek, Chirag Jain and Mangal Kothari are building EndureAir with the aim of being an end-to-end UAV solutions provider. The IIT Kanpur-incubated venture offers systems designs, develops and manufactures indigenous and customised UAVs. It focuses on vertical take-off and landing capabilities for UAVs. Founded in 2018, it has raised $1.69 million in funding from investors like Asian Paints and IIT-Kanpur’s Startup Incubation and Innovation Centre.
Kartik Kumra | 22 Creative director, Karu Research With a degree in economics from the University of Pennsylvania, Kumra started Karu Research in 2020. The artisanal fashion brand is based in New Delhi and its core tenet is to reintroduce humanness into their clothing. Each item has some handmade element to it. The shirting and quilts are produced on handlooms, and dyed with plants and herbs, and the embroideries are done by hand. The product is available at 23 stockists around the world, including Mr Porter, Ssense, Selfridges, 10 Corso Como Milan, B Shop Japan and End Clothing.
Food & Hospitality
Chetan Kanani | 28 Co-founder and chief executive officer, Alpino Health Foods Private Limited Started in June 2016, Alpino Foods’ mission is to solve Indians’ protein deficiency problem with peanuts. They started with peanut butter, but now have 30-plus products such as muesli, peanut butter oats, peanut butter powder and peanut butter cookies. Also a Forbes Asia 30Under30 listee, Kanani’s plans for the company are to grow exponentially and reach `500 crore in terms of net revenue by adding multiple products to the portfolio, extend the distribution network, and begin sales in other countries.
Jui Keskar | 16 Founder, editor, Beat the Tremor Foundation Jui Keskar has developed JTremor-3D, a wearable device that enables tracking of tremors in a person’s body. That data is stored in a cloud database and shared with doctors who can then decide on the course of medication. The profiling device is embedded with sensors, accelerometers and gyro meters. Keskar had developed the device during the nationwide lockdown in 2020, after seeing her uncle who had been suffering from tremors. In 2022, she won the Pradhan Mantri Rashtriya Bal Puraskar (2022) for Innovation.
Sahil Sharma | 27 Musician Sahil Sharma, or Zaeden, is an indie artiste who started making music as a teenager. The DJ-turned-musician had played at Tomorrowland, the world’s most famous EDM festival, and opened for J Balvin by the time he was 23. He first debuted in 2019 with his original, ‘Tere Bina’, and recently released his first Punjabi single, ‘Lagda Na’. Zaeden has 2.5 million monthly listeners on Spotify.
Srushti Tawade | 25 Rapper Srushti Tawade rose to popularity with songs like ‘Main Nahi toh Kaun Be’ and ‘Chill Kinda Guy’. Her biggest draw is her storytelling ability, both with lyrics and style of rapping. Currently, she is a part of the rap reality show, MTV Hustle 2.0. She has close to 460,000 listeners on Spotify and has been performing at concerts and festivals, including Spoken Fest 2022 and Spotify’s Rap91.
D Gukesh |16 Chess player Dommaraju Gukesh registered eight consecutive wins at the Chess Olympiad. He became the youngest Indian and the second-youngest Grandmaster ever in 2019. In 2022, Gukesh not only became the youngest Indian to cross the 2700 FIDE rating but also became the youngest Indian to break into the World Top 100. The teenager also won a few tournaments in the year, including the Gijon Masters and the La Roda Open Chess Tournament.