CK Prahalad ‘Next Practice’ entrepreneur award for Nithin Kamath

CK Prahalad Foundation, the CSR arm of TVS Capital Funds, at its inaugural “next practice oration” organised in Chennai on Thursday announced Nithin Kamath as the winner of its 2023 CK Prahalad Next Practice Entrepreneur.  

The award was given away in recognition of his achievements in building Zerodha as “an exemplary Organization.” A note by TVS Capital Funds describes the aim of the Foundation to promote and encourage Prof CK Prahalad’s visionary idea of “next practices”. For this, successful next generation entrepreneurs who exemplify practising the thoughts and teachings of Prof CK Prahalad are chosen. This is by an eminent jury comprising of Prof. M S Krishnan (Accenture professor of computer information system at Ross Business School, University of Michigan), Narayan Ramachandran (Ex-Head of Morgan Stanley, India), M R Rangaswamy (Founder, Indiaspora and Sand Hill Group), D Sundaram (Lead Independent Director, Infosys) and Lakshmi Narayan (Ex CEO and Vice Chairman, Cognizant). 

The jury identified Zerodha’s “committed mission to do right by the customer by going beyond just being a trading platform, and treating all customer as the same with similar fee slabs and services levels” as some of the next practices resonating with the teachings of Prof CK Prahalad. The award was presented by the industry veteran Shri R Thyagarajan, founder of Shriram group of companies.

In addition to the award, the Foundation also organised the CK Prahalad memorial oration.

In his welcome note to the event that brought together industry veterans, professionals, academic practitioners and “who’s who” of Chennai, Gopal Srinivasan, Chairman of TVS Capital Funds, outlined the direct mentorship and guidance he had from Prof CK Prahalad. It was Prof CKP (as he was fondly known and still remembered) that prompted Srinivasan to empower the next generation entrepreneurs through TVS Capital Funds. He added that through the Foundation he aimed to propagate the teachings of the professor. He referred to a theme that CKP often spoke of, which was essentially about organizations that were going beyond best practice to identify ‘Next Practices’ which would be more futuristic and disrupt the current business practice.

This year’s inaugural address was delivered by Prof Gautam Ahuja, the Eleanora and George Landew Professor of Management at the SC Jonson Graduate School of Management at Cornell University. His lecture was a compendium of five critical lessons presented using the lens of an academic entrepreneur and connected the thoughts of Prof CK Prahalad to contemporary ideas and requirements. To quote an example, he said “entrepreneur needs to balance fiduciary responsibility to investors and debt to society, and one wouldn’t survive without other”. The speech was followed by a fireside chat with Shri Narayan Ramachandran, board member, TCF. 

The oration was preceded by an introductory address on CK Prahalad by Prof M.S. Krishnan, who described CK Prahalad as not just an author, leader, and professor, but as an educational entrepreneur who had an enduring impact on the world of management.                       

Nithin Kamath, post receiving the award, in his conversation with Naveen Unni, Managing Partner of TVS Capital Funds, while describing the award as an honour and hailed the concept of funds like TVS Capital Funds where Indian capital pools back India entrepreneurs. He said, one of his motivations to grow Zerodha was to help make this happen at a large, democratized scale which would lead to wealth creation in this country and help with inclusive growth.

According to a note issued by TVS Capital Funds, with an assets under management (AUM) of ~Rs 2000 crore, it is preparing to launch its next Growth Fund soon, building upon its mission to empower tech-driven businesses. Its third fund backs next-gen entrepreneurs piloting technology driven businesses in financial services and B2B/Enterprise services and includes some of the industry leaders like Go Digit, Five Star Business finance and Yubi (Cred Avenue).

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