It’s the age of startups. We all know that. Every other person we know is venturing into the startup world, starting their businesses, and frankly, why shouldn’t they? And though the number of startups is rising, there are only a few who make into the unicorn startup club.
What is the Unicorn Club you may ask? The way Unicorns are rare - yes, the mythical creature that looks like a horse and has wings, the startups that reach a valuation of over 1 Billion USD are just as rare.
The ones who make it into the unicorn startup club have a disruptive business model. Which means, these companies have a non-conventional business model, and once it gains recognition, you can’t think of a world without that service/product.
There have been some amazing startups, who have disruptive models and entered the Indian unicorn startup club. Here is a list of all current Indian startups that are still in the Unicorn club and continue to thrive in the economy.
1. Cars 24
Cars 24 is an E-commerce platform which enables its users to buy and sell used cars. It was founded by Vikram Chopra and Mehul Agarwal and is headquartered in Gurgaon. It has emerged as a Unicorn startup in 2020, with a current valuation of 1 Billion US Dollars. Asia Venture Group, Apoletto, Unbound, DST Global, Sequoia Capital India are some of the entities who have invested in Cars 24.
RazorPay is a Bangalore based Indian startup, which facilitates within the financial industry. It provides Indian businesses with a gateway for making easy online transactions. The company was founded in 2013 by Harshil Mathur and Shashank Kumar.
It crossed the valuation of 1 billion USDollars in 2020. Companies like Matrix Partners Global, Tiger Global, Sequoia Capital India, DTS Global have been funding their operations.
Gaurav Munjal kick-started this initiative as a Youtube Channel in 2010, but only in 2015 was it incorporated as a company with the help of Roman Saini and Hemesh Singh. Today, Unacademy provides courses to help students prep for UPSC, SSC, IIT JEE, CAT, and many more exams through their online platform.
This Bengaluru based company surpassed the valuation of 2 Billion USDollars in 2020. This Indian unicorn startup is being supported by companies such as Blume Ventures, Nexus Venture Partners, Sequoia Capital India, SAIF, General Atlantic, SoftBank and so on.
Postman is a Google Chrome app, which smoothes the development of API’s (Application Programming Interface). In summary, it’s an interactive software which eases the process of creating, sharing, testing and documenting APIs for developers.
The company was co-founded by Abhinav Asthana, Abhijit Kane, Ankit Sobti in 2014. They are headquartered in San Francisco, USA and Bangalore. This software service provider company surpassed the 2 Billion Dollar mark in 2020 and has successfully entered the unicorn startup club.
Postman is funded by Nexus Ventures, Charles River Ventures, Insight Venture Partners.
This online retail store has gained prominence lately as one of the leading brands in selling multi-brand beauty, wellness and fashion products. It was started by Falguni Nayar in 2012 after she quit her job in investment banking.
This Mumbai based retailer became an Indian unicorn startup in 2020 when it reported a valuation of 1.2 Billion US Dollars. Falguni Nayar’s growing e-commerce platform is being supported by investors such as Techpro Ventures, TVS Capital, Sharp Ventures, TPG Growth.
Zenoti is the latest venture to enter the Indian Unicorn startup club after raising 160 million dollars, taking their valuation to 1 Billion Dollars. Headquartered in Hyderabad, Zenoti is a cloud-based software used by salons, med-spas and spas to ease everyday operations from booking appointments to keeping track of inventory.
The software was developed in 2010, by the founder - Sudheer Koneru - who was already running a successful chain of spas and salons across India under the name - Zenoti. Today, it provides services across the globe and is funded by Accel India, Norwest, Tiger Global, Steadview Capital, Advent International.
7. Pine Labs
Catering to the needs of businesses and traders, this Indian startup provides services of a payment gateway, last-mile retail delivery, revenue generation strategies and so on. They are a merchant-platform, founded by Lokvir Kapoor, Rajul Garg, and Tarun Upaday in 1998.
They operate out of Noida and some of their key investors include - Accel India, Norwest, Tiger Global, Steadview Capital, Advent International. They reached their current valuation of 1.5Billon US Dollars in 2020.
Lenskart has gained prominence as an online retail store for eyewear (Sunglasses, Specs), but they also have 500 physical outlets across 70 cities in India. Lenskart was founded by Peyush Bansal, Sumeet Kapahi and Amit Chaudhary in 2010.
They became a Unicorn startup in 2019, with a reported valuation of 1.5Billion US Dollars. They are headquartered in Bangalore and are funded by SoftBank Corp, Kedaara Capital, TPG, Chiratae Ventures, TR Capital.
9. Ola Electric
A subsidiary of an Indian startup - Ola Cabs, Ola Electric is in the process of building a network of electric vehicles (2, 3, and 4 wheels) with swappable batteries and charging stations across India. These vehicles can be leased, a lot like their existing parent company - Ola Cabs. This initiative was undertaken by Bhavish Aggarwal, Ankit Bhati and Anand Shah.
The first phase of Ola Electric was tested out in Nagpur. Ola Electric is largely in its set-up phase but has been acquiring funding to build the infrastructure. Select investors in the company include - SoftBank Corp, Tiger Global, and Matrix Partners, who took the valuation of Ola Electric to 1.1 Billion US Dollars in 2019.
10. Citius Tech
CitiusTech is an IT company, operating within the healthcare industry. They provide IT support, specialized medical technologies and innovative solutions in the healthcare field. The company was founded by Rizwan Koita in 2005 and is headquartered in Princeton, USA and Mumbai, India.
This Indian unicorn reached a valuation of 1 Billion US Dollars in 2019. The company is funded by General Atlantic, Baring Asia.
Headquartered in Bellevue, Washington, USA and Pune, India, Icertis is a software company. They have developed a contract management software, which allows enterprises to create, execute, analyse optimum performance and so on of a contract. The company is based in 12 locations worldwide.
It was founded by Samir Bodas in 2009. The company became a Unicorn startup in 2019 when it reported a valuation of 1 Billion US Dollars. Venture Capitalists who have invested in Icertis are - Eight Roads, B Capital, and PremjiInvest.
12. Druva Software
Druva Software is a SaaS platform. They offer data protection and management across cloud applications. The company was founded in 2008 in Pune by Milind Borate, Ramani Kothandaraman, and Jaspreet Singh. Currently, it is headquartered in Sunnyvale, California, USA.
This Indian startup entered the Unicorn club in 2019 and is valued at 1 Billion US Dollars. This software company is funded by WestBridge, Nexus Ventures, and Sequoia Capital.
Rivigo is a nationwide logistics service company, who have inculcated technology in their business model to continuously improve and provide top-notch cargo service to businesses across India. It was Co-founded by Deepak Garg and Gazal Kalra in 2014 in Gurgaon.
Rivigo’s valuation stood at 1 Billion US Dollars in 2019, officially putting this Indian startup in the Unicorn club. Rivigo is funded by SAIF and Warburg Pincus.
BigBasket is an online retail grocery store which delivers daily-essentials at your doorstep. It was founded in 2011 by Hari Menon, Vipul Parekh, VS Sudhakar, VS Ramesh and Abhinay Choudhari.
They operate out of Bangalore and are funded by Ascent Capital, Helion Ventures, Bessemer, IFC, and Alibaba. This Indian unicorn’s valuation stood at 1.2 Billion US Dollars in 2019.
15. Dream 11
Dream 11 is an Indian fantasy gaming company founded in 2008. It enables its users to create fantasy cricket, hockey, football, basketball and kabaddi teams. It’s the first Indian gaming company to become a Unicorn startup in 2019 and has a current valuation of 2.5 Billion Dollars.
It was co-founded by Bhavit Sheth and Harsh Jain in Mumbai. Ventures who have invested in Dream 11 include - Kalaari Capital, Tencent, Multiples PE, and Steadview.
Based out of Gurgaon, Delhivery is a B2B and C2C logistics service provider. It’s one of India’s largest networks for courier deliveries. It was founded in 2011 by Mohit Tandon, Sahil Barua, Bhavesh Manglani, Kapil Bharati, and Suraj Saharan.
It became a Unicorn startup in 2019 and is valued at 1.6 Billion Dollars. This Billion dollar enterprise is funded by Nexus Ventures, Multiples PE, Tiger Global, Carlyle, SoftBank Corp, and Fosun Group.
BillDesk is an online payment gateway site, which lets its customers make all kinds of payments (Telephone, electricity, credit card, etc) from a single site. It goes forward and saves an electronic copy of the bill payments. It was co-founded in 2000 by Karthik Ganapathy, M.N. Srinivasu, and Ajay Kaushal.
They are headquartered in Mumbai and successfully entered the Unicorn startup club in 2018. They have a current valuation of 1.5 Billion US Dollars. The operations of the company are supported by SIDBI VC, TA Associates, and General Atlantic.
Girish Mathrubootham and Shan Krishnasamy started this venture in 2010 in Chennai. Freshworks developed a Customer Relationship Management (CRM) software, which they offer to businesses of all sizes as a service. They have multiple products under their wing, which concentrate on aspects such as sales, services, customer base and so on.
Freshworks is currently headquartered in San Mateo, California and is funded by Accel, Tiger Global, Google, and Sequoia Capital. They are an Indian startup who entered the unicorn startup club in 2018 and are currently valued at 3.5 Billion US Dollars.
The founders of Udaan believe that B2B is the new B2C in India, and that’s why they have created a single B2B platform for all businesses - manufacturers, retailers, traders, wholesalers. It was co-founded by Amod Malviya, Vaibhav Gupta, and Sujeet Kumar in 2016.
They are based out of Bangalore and have steady support from Lightspeed Ventures, DST Global, and Tencent. This Indian unicorn startup is valued at 2.8Billion USDollars and became a part of the Unicorn Club in 2018.
20. Oyo Rooms
Ritesh Agarwal ventured into the hospitality industry in 2011. He started with putting up budget hotels on rent, and then went on to leasing out homes and living spaces. Oyo’s operations are funded by Lightspeed Ventures, Sequoia Capital and Softbank.
It is headquartered in Gurgaon and has become a widely used service across all the 230 cities they have a presence in. Oyo Rooms became a Unicorn startup in 2018 and today has a valuation of 10 Billion US Dollars.
PolicyBazaar displays all the available insurance policies available, offered by different insurers and allows the customer to compare them and select the best. The enterprise was co-founded by Yashish Dahiya, Alok Bansal, and Avaneesh Nirjar. This is a financial enterprise headquartered in Gurgaon since 2008.
PolicyBazaar has been an Indian unicorn since 2018 and has a current valuation of 1 Billion US Dollars. The ventures who have funded their operations include - Tencent, Info Edge, Inventus Capital, Tiger Global, and SoftBank.
Swiggy is a widely used food ordering and delivering app. The app lists all the restaurants in the vicinity who would possibly deliver to your location and lets you place orders for the same. Swiggy was founded in 2014 in Bangalore, and today it’s functional in 100 Indian cities.
It was co-founded by Rahul Jaimini, Sriharsha Majety, and Nandan Reddy. This Indian startup has a valuation of 3.6Billion US Dollars. It entered the Unicorn club in 2018 and is backed by Accel, SAIF, Norwest, Naspers, and Tencent.
23. Paytm Mall
Paytm Mall is an online retail store which sells electronics, mobile handsets, clothing, home decor and so on. This initiative was started in 2016, by Vijay Shekhar Sharma and One97 (parent organization). This E-commerce platform became an Indian unicorn startup in 2018 and has a valuation of 3 Billion US Dollars. This Noida based venture is supported by SAIF, Alibaba, SoftBank, and eBay.
24. Byju’s Classes
Byju’s Classes is an online education technology for all grades and competitive examinations. They offer one-on-one mentorship and creative learning tools to better help in understanding. It was founded by Byju Raveendran in 2011 in Bangalore.
The company has become widely popular and is also heavily backed by ventures such as Aarin Capital, Sequoia Capital, Lightspeed Ventures, Tencent, General Atlantic, Tiger Global. It entered the Unicorn startup club in 2018 and has a current valuation of 10.8 Billion US Dollars.
Hike Messenger is an Indian startup known as a messaging/texting app, which is also familiar as Hike Sticker Chat. It lets its users chat online but also has a cross-platform offline messaging system. It was founded by Kavin Bharti Mittal in 2012.
The operations of Hike are based out of Delhi, and efforts and the future of the company are backed by Tiger Global, Tencent, and Foxconn. It became a unicorn startup in 2016 and has a valuation of 1.4 Billion US Dollars.
Zomato aggregates all the restaurants in an area, displays its menu, address and user ratings, it also delivers food from the restaurants it has partnered with. Zomato was co-founded by Deepinder Goyal and Pankaj Chaddah in 2008.
It is headquartered in Gurgaon and became an Indian Unicorn startup in 2015 and has a valuation of 3.6 Billion US Dollars. Info Edge, Sequoia Capital, Vy Capital, and Alibaba are some of its investors.
Paytm is an Indian Unicorn startup that allows for easy and instant payments to its other users through their online payment gateway system. It was founded in 2010 by Vijay Shekhar Sharma. The enterprise is based out of Noida and joined the unicorn startup club in 2015.
Today, it has a valuation of 16 Billion US Dollars. The operations of Paytm are backed by fundings from Saama Capital, SAIF, Alibaba, and Berkshire Hathway.
Ola Cabs is a ride-hailing service, which allows its users to be picked up from their doorstep and be dropped exactly where they want to be. It was developed by Bhavish Aggarwal and Ankit Bhati in 2010 and is currently headquartered in Bangalore.
They entered the unicorn startup club in 2015 and have a valuation of 6.4 Billion Dollars. This Indian startup has hooked Tiger Global, Matrix Partners, Steadview, SoftBank, and Tencent as their core investors.
29. Mu Sigma
Mu Sigma is a data analytics company which offers data services, and decision sciences for a business to make apt decisions based on the data gathered. This Indian startup was founded by Dhiraj Rajaram in 2004 and is headquartered in Bangalore.
This firm got labelled as a Unicorn startup in 2013 and has a valuation of 1.5 Billion US Dollars. The ventures who have invested in Mu Sigma are - Accel, Sequoia Capital, and General Atlantic.
InMobi is a mobile advertising firm, which allows brands, companies to advertise through contextual content via SMS and advertisement banners. It was co-founded in 2007 by Naveen Tewari, Mohit Saxena, Amit Gupta, and Abhay Singhal.
They are headquartered in Bangalore and became a Unicorn startup in 2011. Their current valuation stands at 1 Billion US Dollars. KPCB, Sherpalo Ventures, and SoftBank are some of their investors.
And that brings us to the end of the list. There have been other Indian startups which were once in the Unicorn club such as Flipkart, Quikr and Snapdeal, who in their peak had a valuation of 21 Billion USD, 1.6Billion USD, and 6.5Billion USD respectively.
All these Indian startups had something unique to offer and had an innovative way to capture the market space, which led them to become a billion-dollar enterprise.
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