Media sources indicate that Sidharth Rao, who co-founded Webchutney, one of India’s earliest and leading digital companies, has gone suddenly.
He passed away on Friday night. His left his wife and parents behind. He founded Webchutney at the age of 19, and it was the Indian agency that won the most awards at the 2019 Cannes Lions International Festival of Creativity.
He founded Network Play under Webchutney in 2008, and in less than three years it grew to be the biggest brand ad network. Bertelsmann AG eventually purchased it. Dentsu Aegis Network, a Japanese global media network, purchased Webchutney in 2013.
Read for more details: What is Webchutney
He was named head of the India division of dentsuMB, the company’s reorganised worldwide creative network, in 2021 while continuing to lead Webchutney.
Together with serial entrepreneur Madhu Sudan, Rao left his position as group CEO of DensuMB India in 2022 and co-founded Punt Partners, a new business in the marketing technology (MarTech) sector.
One of India’s most successful digital advertising businesses, Webchutney, co-founder and former CEO Sidharth Rao went suddenly died on Friday after a deadly heart attack. Rao, 43, co-founded the marTech company Punt Partners with co-founder Madhu Sudhan last year. He is survived by his wife and parents.
“We announce the demise of our founder and friend, Sidharth Rao, with great grief.
On April 21, he had a sudden heart attack at his Karjat house. We ask for everyone’s respect while we take some time to mourn the loss of Sid, our dear friend, son, brother, husband, and colleague. Sid’s untimely death has shocked us all.
Rao founded Webchutney in 1999, at the age of barely 19. Rao continued to lead Webchutney as its CEO when Dentsu Aegis Network purchased it in 2013 and would later move on to lead the India division of dentsuMB, the worldwide creative network of the Japanese multinational media network, in 2021.
Sidharth Rao Major recognition
When Dentsu Webchutney was named Agency of the Year at the Cannes Lions International Festival of Creativity in 2022, it received one of the most prestigious prizes in the advertising industry. It was recognized for the work it completed for Vice Media’s “The Unfiltered History Tour,” a project that Rao approved. However, he had left Dentsu himself a month before to the award.
He co-founded Punt Partners in 2022, a company funded by well-known figures in the media, advertising, and marketing fields. In December, a number of angel investors led the initial round of funding for the marketing technology firm. Ashish Hemrajani, Deep Kalra, Kunal Shah, Santosh Desai, and Rajan Navani are some of its investors.
On Saturday, condolences flooded in from all directions. “Lost a very dear friend,” tweeted Anand Jain, co-founder of Clevertap. I have no words to express how much Sidharthrao means to me.
“Sidharth brought a digital first mindset to Indian advertising at a time when mainstream agencies saw digital purely as an amplification medium for television and print creative,” stated angel investor and business strategist Lloyd Mathias. He was a genuine disruptor in that regard. He was devoted, enthusiastic, and never stopped questioning the current quo.
Rao was a prominent angel investor himself. Among the companies in which he invested were ScoopWhoop, VS Mani, MojoCare, LoanZen, Invideo, and CoHo.
He also penned the book “How I Almost Blew It,” which included the stories of some of India’s top businesspeople.
Rao, an angel investor, had supported Pepper Content, Mojocare, and ScoopWhoop. The experiences of some of India’s most successful businesspeople, including Deepinder Goyal, Sanjeev Bikhchandani, Girish Mathrubootham, and others, are described in his book “How I Almost Blew It.”
Since early on Saturday (April 22), condolences from industry stalwarts like Anand Jain, Aakrit Vaish, and others have flooded Twitter.
I only want the best for you, Sid. Wherever you are, may your spirit find peace, tweeted Rohan Dighe, the creator of ViralMint, on Saturday.
“I lost a great buddy. Sidharth Rao, do well. Have no words to express how much he meant to me, tweeted Anand Jain, the creator of Clevertap.
Waking up to shocking news, Aakrit Vaish, co-founder and CEO of Haptik and Heyinterakt, wrote. Sidharth Rao, the pioneer of the Mumbai startup ecosystem, passed away.
Nikhil Pahwa, the founder of the media company Medianama, tweeted, “I lost a buddy today. I recently met Sidharth Rao, and he’s no longer there,” the speaker said.
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