Gaja Capital Business Book Prize 2023 Winner Announcement

Winner Poster Mumbai, 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-caliber business research that would encourage and equip upcoming business owners and young entrepreneurs.

While announcing the winners, Gopal Jain, Co-Founder and Managing Partner, of 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 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 contribute to the transformation of the nation’s destiny.