Zomato, an online food delivery and restaurant discovery platform that is planning an IPO in the coming months has added five independent directors to its board of eight, four of whom are women. Until now, Zomato's board of directors was primarily controlled by investors. As a result, Zomato's board of directors now has a 50% female representation.

Zomato's new board comes as the company prepares to file it's Draft Red Herring Prospectus (DRHP) with the market regulator for a listing of its shares in the coming week, kicking off one of India's most awaited internet initial public offerings (IPOs) this year.

"At Zomato we’ve been working on multiple fronts to strengthen our own long-standing commitment to making our company more inclusive and diverse for years. Be it through initiatives such as an equal parental leave policy for – men, women, same-sex, surrogate, or adoptive parents; or period/menstruation leaves.

"And up until now, we had a largely investor-run board. But today, I’m elated to share that we have five independent members on our board of eight people, four of whom are women", Zomato co-founder and CEO Deepinder Goyal said in a blog post.

Aparna Popat, a professional badminton player, Gunjan Raj Tilak Soni, CEO of Zalora Group with a background in Myntra and McKinsey, Namita Gupta, founder of Airveda with a background in Microsoft and Facebook, and Sutapa Banerjee, who has worked at ABN Amro and ANZ Grindlays, are among the new board members.

“More than gender diversity, what we have always been gunning for is cognitive diversity across levels in our organisation. Evidence-based research shows that a key prerequisite for innovation comes from cognitively diverse people. On that note having gender diversity on our board was a baseline, not a north star. Today, it makes me truly happy to share that each of our board members come from different occupational backgrounds bringing diverse cognitive skills and perspectives to the table” said Deepinder Goyal, co-founder, and CEO, Zomato.

A number of companies start with a diverse employee base at the entry level, but it reduces significantly over time, and at senior levels. We decided to turn the paradigm on its head by introducing diversity with our Board of Directors. We’re hoping this is another small step towards building a truly lasting organizational culture where everybody belongs. And everybody thrives, he said.

Goyal added that having gender diversity on the board was a baseline, not a north star.