W Power 2024

30 Under 30: How is the Class of 2023 doing?

Our listees of the past year have continued making strides in their respective fields. A quick look back at where the last year has landed them

Published: Mar 4, 2024 12:37:19 PM IST
Updated: Mar 4, 2024 01:18:51 PM IST

30 Under 30: How is the Class of 2023 doing?Track and field athlete Avinash Sable became the first Indian to win a gold medal in the 3000m steeplechase at the Asian Games Image: Selvaprakash Lakshmanan for Forbes India

Breakout Stars

Avinash Sable
Track and field athlete

The rising star of Indian track and field has another impressive year. He became the first Indian man to win a gold medal in the 3000m steeplechase at the Asian Games in Hangzhou, China, while breaking the previous record. The win ended a 13-year medal drought in the steeplechase event. A silver followed in the 5000m event. He has now set his eyes on the 2024 Paris Olympics.

Satwiksairaj Rankireddy & Chirag Shetty
Badminton players

The story for Shetty and Rankireddy has been one of rise and rise. In 2023, they became India’s first doubles pair to win a Super 1000 event at the Indonesia Open, won the Korea and Swiss Opens and ended the year as Asian Games champions, the first Indian doubles pair to reach the milestone. The duo has also begun 2024, the year of the Paris Olympics, on a strong note, finishing as runners-up at the Malaysia and India Opens, and are currently ranked World No 1 (as of January 30).

Harsh Agarwal
Founder and creative director, Harago

In 2023, he expanded his wholesale business, was featured on the Forbes Asia 30 Under 30 list, and showed their collection during New York Men’s Fashion Week.

Forbes India impact: “The recognition was helpful for the brand in terms of getting the word out to a newer audience and get more press attention.”

UR Siddharth
Pursuing master’s in design engineering  

He is currently pursuing his master’s in design engineering at Harvard University. He was one of the top three KC Mahindra fellows to fund his education, a scholarship granted by the KC Mahindra Education Trust. At Harvard, Siddharth is at the helm of pioneering startups, collaborating with co-founders from Harvard and MIT. One of his startups is a semi-finalist in the Harvard Innovation Labs’ Presidential Innovation Challenge.  

Forbes India Impact: “I attribute a significant leap in my career trajectory to Forbes India 30 Under 30, which serendipitously coincided with my interview at Harvard, thus strengthening my profile.”

Vikram Singh
Head (operations), OfBusiness

As the company grew in size—from ₹7,140 crore in FY22 to ₹15,342 crore in FY23—Singh’s role also exploded in multiple ways. First, he has started doing more mergers and acquisitions in manufacturing, and then growing the acquired verticals. Second, he has been looking into geographical expansion into the Middle East and Southeast Asian countries. Third, he is playing a leading role in backward and forward integration across supply chains.  

Forbes India Impact: “A massive jump in visibility, opportunities and hiring of team.”

Avinash Ramanathan
Vice president, Kalaari Capital

Against a challenging funding backdrop, he helped founders of several portfolio companies finetune their business models to enable them to conserve cash, improve operational efficiency and focus on the path to profitability. He leads investments in sunrise sectors such as SaaS and Web3, and continues to map white spaces for investment opportunities.   
Forbes India Impact: “Forbes India 30 Under 30 was extremely useful in building connections and networking for sourcing deals and helping our companies raise follow-on capital.”

Click here for Forbes India 30 Under 30 2024 list

Proven Performers

30 Under 30: How is the Class of 2023 doing?Kishan Panpalia says that being part of the Forbes India 30 Under 30 list enhanced his credibility in the industry Image: Mexy Xavier

Kishan Panpalia
Head of business and founding member, Pepper Content

The last 12 months have been transformative, both personally and professionally. Pepper Content’s revenue from operations jumped 4.6x to ₹19.03 crore during FY22 compared to ₹4.16 crore in FY21, according to data accessed from TheKredible. The full-stack content marketplace focussed on crucial metrics, moved closer to profitability and expanded into the US market. The business model gained substantial validation, especially as the startup targeted upper mid-market and enterprise companies.

Forbes India Impact:
“The recognition was a personal triumph and professional endorsement. It enhanced my credibility in the industry.”

Misbah Ashraf
Co-founder and chief product
officer, Jar

From a pre-revenue stage till FY22, Jar moved into the revenue stage in FY23. Revenue from operations of the Tiger Global-backed gold savings platform stood at `8.7 crore in FY23, according to data accessed from TheKredible. The losses, though, settled at ₹123 crore. During the course of late last year, underlines Ashraf, the startup aimed to conquer two goals: Make gold SIP product sticky and become the go-to in the digital gold category.  

Forbes India Impact: “It helped in hiring. We got a lot of inbounds from small cities, and they were good candidates who could relate to my story.”

30 Under 30: How is the Class of 2023 doing?Sakshi Sindwani opened shows or walked the ramp for various leading fashion designers Image: Mexy Xavier

Sakshi Sindwani
Fashion content creator

With her content, she is changing conversations around body image and body positivity. In 2023, Sindwani either opened shows or walked the runway for legendary Indian fashion designers such as JJ Valaya, Manish Malhotra and Gaurav Gupta, to name a few. On the personal front, she got married.

Aashti Miller
Founder, MillerInk

The Forbes India recognition paved the way for a remarkable opportunity for Miller—crafting wall art for Uniqlo’s new store in Mumbai. The project not only showcased her work on a global stage but also contributed to the success of a renowned brand, further solidifying her position in the design industry. In addition, she undertook the creation of a mural for the Millerntor Gallery in Hamburg, Germany.

Forbes India Impact: “Being chosen for 30 Under 30 undeniably marked a turning point in my professional journey, unlocking doors to unforeseen opportunities. This prestigious recognition has been a catalyst for professional growth and to establish meaningful connections within the design community.”

Romita Mazumdar
founder and CEO, Foxtale

Rolled out in December 2021, the D2C skincare brand Foxtale made rapid strides last year. The startup has grown from seven SKUs to 17, and from a team size of 100, it has now swelled to 400. “We are around ₹200-crore company,” claims Mazumdar, who started as investment banker, then joined the VC world before turning entrepreneur.  

Forbes India Impact: “It was a recognition for the team and the business. It created a sense of confidence in the vision and mission of Foxtale.” 

Akshay Makar
founder, Climatenza Solar

Delhi-based Climatenza Solar, which develops and engineers concentrated solar thermal technology to generate energy for industrial applications, worked on five new projects. It also got into international collaborations with countries like Morocco, Brazil, South Africa and Mexico. It has eight projects under development in India and other countries. Cumulatively, these projects will help Climatenza save 153,330 tonnes of carbon emissions.

Forbes India Impact: “Climatenza gathered attention from industry players, wanting to learn more about our technology, and two projects are already under progress.”

Rahul Rai
co-founder, neoHumans

Rahul Rai has now co-founded neoHumans, a startup building GenAI infrastructure. He has raised capital from Google for his new venture and is building a cutting-edge AI team out of Bengaluru.

Forbes India Impact: “This recognition has added credibility and helped me build relationships with like-minded peers.”

Niyati Rao
head chef, Ekaa; co-founder Ekaa and KMC
Sagar Neve
Co-founder, Ekaa and KMC

Ekaa, a restaurant built on food interpreted and inspired by people, cultures and ingredients, is ranked number 93 on Asia’s 50 best restaurants 2023 list. They have introduced Indian trout eggs and created a special menu called Exploration of Nagaland, which is dedicated to their travels and learnings in the region. KMC, which is a space that can be used to converse and enjoy creative comfort food, has released a new kombucha line called Kultire series with unique flavours limited to KMC.

Forbes India Impact: “I got the opportunity to meet like-minded individuals, who share similar paths, ambitions and amazing distinct visions towards the community.” - Rao

30 Under 30: How is the Class of 2023 doing? In 2023, Siva Teja Kakileti established a forum to inspire more researchers in his industry Image: Selvaprakash Lakshmanan for Forbes India

Siva Teja Kakileti
principal research scientist, director, Niramai

Siva Teja had a dynamic year, leading multiple projects focussed on developing affordable, scalable and automated health tech innovations, while also establishing a forum to inspire more researchers in his sector. Kakileti’s Niramai also tied up with Goa-based Molbio Diagnostics to accelerate the adoption of Niramai’s innovative AI-based non-invasive breast cancer screening solution, Thermalytix, in developing countries worldwide.

Forbes India Impact:
“It has been a transformative experience… it provided valuable recognition and visibility on a global scale, opening doors to new opportunities and collaborations.”

Kaushal Shetty
co-founder & CEO, Nostos Homes

Shetty is gearing up to launch The Nostos Fund, a technology-enabled alternative fund led by seasoned operators targeting the intersection of climate and AI, in addition to algorithmically identifying and investing in carbon offset-generating, assets that drive positive environmental impact.

Forbes India Impact: “It was an incredible source of validation as we continue to scale up our impact.”  
30 Under 30: How is the Class of 2023 doing?Actor Anna Ben is set to make her debut in Tamil films with PS Vinothraj’s Kottukkaali Image: Ajay Kumar for Forbes India

Anna Ben

She had only one release, the romcom Trishanku, last year. The Malayalam star is now set to make her Tamil debut with filmmaker PS Vinothraj’s Kottukkaali. The rural drama co-starring Soori will premiere at the 74th Berlin International Film Festival.  

Kalidas Jayaram

The actor continued his streak of appearing in a mix of interesting and big budget films. He starred in the Malayalam Tamil bilingual thriller Rajni. His upcoming films include the lead role in Bejoy Nambiar’s Por, and a role in Kamal Haasan’s ambitious Indian 2.

Arun George, Nikhil NP, Rashid K, Vimal Govind MK
co-founders, Genrobotics

The year 2023 was eventful for Genrobotics, a Kerala-based startup that has developed a robot scavenger ‘Bandicoot’ to combat the outlawed practice of manual scavenging that still claims lives in India. The company has taken Bandicoot from 18 to 25 states over the last year. It continues to provide solutions for health care, sanitation, and the oil and gas sectors, intending to build robots for all cleaning requirements.

Forbes India Impact:Forbes India Impact: “Genrobotics achieved significant milestones, especially after being listed in Forbes India 30 Under 30.” – George  

30 Under 30: How is the Class of 2023 doing?Rithika Pandey held her first solo exhibition in India at Chemould CoLab, followed by a multimedia installation at Sassoon Docks Image: Mexy Xavier

Rithika Pandey

The year 2023 witnessed some significant developments in Pandey’s practice and presence in the art world. Her first solo exhibition in India was held at Chemould CoLab, followed by a multimedia installation at Sassoon Docks for the Mumbai Urban Arts festival by St+art india foundation. She also participated in group shows at Pictorum Gallery, London and Chemould CoLab, Mumbai, followed by a greatly successful social project in Cardiff, Wales with the Turner Prize nominated art collective Gentle/Radical.

30 Under 30: How is the Class of 2023 doing?Musician Anuv Jain’s ‘Husn’ entered global charts with over 100 million streams Image: Mexy Xavier

Anuv Jain

Over the last year, Jain achieved a lot with his ‘Guldasta India tour’ being completely sold out as well as hitting 1 million subscribers on YouTube and crossing 1 million followers on Spotify. The 28-year-old also released ‘Husn’ which was an instant hit, and has entered global charts, with over 100 million streams. He has a number of international shows coming up, including in Dubai, Australia and the UK.

Forbes India Impact: “It’s one of the most significant things that has happened to me. More than the external benefits, it gave me a lot of confidence that I was on the right path.”

Ambika Nayak aka Kayan  

Over the last year, Nayak has been busy—from ‘Plenty’ and ‘Stop Calling Me’ to ‘Count The Stars’ and ‘No Shade’, she released six new singles in 2023. Additionally, she has been playing live gigs at festivals such as Asia Song Festival, Lollapalooza 2023, and many more.

Forbes India Impact: “Something like this pushes an artist or creator like me to get recognised by more people. It’s something I hold close to my heart.”

30 Under 30: How is the Class of 2023 doing?Pulkit Baldev saw team size at Metalbook grow almost three times Image: Madhu Kapparath

Pulkit Baldev
MD & CEO, Metalbook

In the last year, Metalbook saw its team size almost treble to 120 people. From an annual revenue of ₹800 crore, Baldev says they have moved to an annual run rate of ₹1,500 crore. In addition, Metalbook has also gotten into adjacencies like aluminium, stainless steel, zinc etc. And there has been a Series A capital raise led by Rigel Capital.

Forbes India Impact:
“We were able to connect with others who have been on the list in the past and we recently ventured into metal recycling.”

Nikita Tiwari
Co-founder and director, NeerX
Harsh Agrawal
Founder and director, NeerX

NeerX experienced remarkable growth, expanding its operations to collaborate with more than 100 organisations and impacting 40,000 farmers. Additionally, NeerX has successfully entered three international markets, exporting its Shool sensor and application to contribute to global agricultural advancements.

Forbes India Impact: “It has propelled us into a community of exceptional minds and innovators. It has not only validated the impact of our work but also opened doors to unprecedented opportunities.”

Jayesh Gadewar
Co-founder and CTO, Scrut Automation

Shortly after Jayesh Gadewar, co-founder and CTO of Scrut Automation, was named on the 2023 list, the company announced it had raised $7.5 million in a fresh round of funding, taking its total funding to about $11 million. Through 2023, Scrut released new products such as ReguSense, for fintech clients.

(This story appears in the 23 February, 2024 issue of Forbes India. To visit our Archives, click here.)

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