Zomato elevates Akriti Chopra to founder ahead of IPO


Online food-ordering and restaurant-discovery firm Zomato has elevated former chief finance officer (CFO) Akriti Chopra as founder as it gears up to go public.

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This is not the first time Zomato is elevating an employee to the position of a founder of the company. A year ago, it elevated Mohit Gupta, the CEO of its food delivery business, by making him a co-founder. Earlier, Gaurav Gupta, the chief operating officer of the company was also given the designation of a co-founder.

Chopra, who was CFO till October, according to her LinkedIn profile, left the position soon after the company got active with its initial public offering (IPO) plans.

“This was when the CFO role started becoming more of an external-facing role in the run-up to our IPO. Spotting talent, getting out of their way and actually helping them succeed is what Akriti did so super comfortably with Akshant. I only aspire to be able to do this as easily as her when it’s my time to hand over,” said Deepinder Goyal, founder and chief executive officer, in an email to the employees.

Zomato is also not the only company to do so. A handful of other companies have also done the same. Rebel Foods, for instance, elevated five senior executives as co-founders last year saying it had room for more. It elevated its global chief marketing officer, former chief executive of India Business Unit, former chief executive of South East Asia, former head of product and former chief technology officer.

Zomato filed its Draft Red Herring Prospectus (DRHP) with the market regulator in April, kicking off one of India’s most anticipated internet IPOs in a tumultuous year.

The company will offer equity shares aggregating up to Rs 8,250 crore (nearly $1.1 billion). Of this, Rs 7,500 crore will be a fresh issue, while Rs 750 crore will be an offer for sale for its existing investor, Info Edge.

Zomato raised $250 million in its pre-IPO primary fundraising a couple of months ago, at a valuation of $5.4 billion, from investors such as Kora Management, Tiger Global, Fidelity, Dragoneer, and Bow Wave. Post this, Info Edge, one of Zomato’s earliest investors, said its effective stake in Zomato is 18.4 percent.

Zomato was founded by Deepinder Goyal and Pankaj Chaddah as Foodiebay in 2008 and was renamed Zomato on January 18, 2010.

Chopra and Founders Program

Chopra joined Zomato in November 2011 as a senior manager of finance and operations. Over the years, she got elevated to the role of vice-president (finance) and then to the CFO in April 2019.

Besides setting up the finance processes of the company, she is also credited with playing an important role in the international expansion of Zomato. She also used to head the government relations practice for the company.

In October, she exited from her position as CFO to lead the learning and development segment of the company, where she was responsible for setting up growth modules for people across leadership and training etc.

Zomato runs a Founders Program, under which it is always on the lookout for people who have a ‘founder mindset’. It is a way to show gratitude to select employees for how they have been important for the company. This trend is quite rare in the Indian startup ecosystem.

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