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Curious to Know about Unicorn Startups: Here is the list of Unicorns Startups in India

Indian Startup Chamber

Admin
  • July 16, 2020
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The term unicorn came into existence in the year 2013 after Aileen Lee, the founder of the Cowboy Ventures used the word first time. She used the unicorn's word to refer to the 39 startups that had a valuation of more than $1 billion. The term was basically derived to emphasis on the rarity of such startups and to define them as a unique entity. The definition of unicorn startup has remained the same since then. Unicorn startup is thus a company which has its origin after 2003 and has a current valuation of more than $1 billion. Past few years have seen a significant increase in number of startups, on an average 4 unicorns are born every year. Today there are approximately 197 unicorns across the world.

What makes these unicorn startups different from others startup is that these unicorn startups have revolutionised the sector or industry these unicorns belong to. These unicorns have changed the industry by bringing in innovation and technology into industry working. These are aimed at making things easier and more affordable for the consumers. Almost 87% of the unicorns are software based.


Position of Indian Unicorns:

With more than 9000 startups India is the third largest startup ecosystem in the world. India at present holds 30 tech unicorns today, but the most surprising fact about them is that 21 of these were created in 2018 and 2019. Bangalore and Delhi-NCR are hub for unicorn startups in India as over 75% of these firms are from these two places. India’s startup ecosystem is in a period of sustained growth and it is predicted that India will have 75-100 unicorns by 2025. Some of the large unicorns since 2018 are Swiggy and Zomato, Oyo Rooms, PhonePe, and fantasy gaming startup Dream11.


ZOMATO:


Zomato was originally started with the name ‘Foodiebay’ in 2008. Deepinder Goyal and Pankaj Chaddah, IIT Delhi graduates from 2005 and 2007 respectively got the idea of the startup while they were working as analysts for the consulting firm Bain & Company. The idea for FoodieBay sprang in Deepinder mind when they regularly felt the need of having access to paper menu leaflets of different restaurants to order food. This gave him the idea of creating an app where people can get all the restaurant paper menus at one platform. By late 2008, FoodieBay with just 6 people they became the biggest restaurant directory in the Delhi NCR region. The service, was renamed as Zomato in 2010. Zomato initially started with restaurant searching and discovery but now they have expanded their business to Table Reservations, Online Ordering, POS systems and Cashless payments.


Founder NameDeepinder Goyal, Pankaj Chaddah

Launch Year2008

Total valuation$3B

Websitewww.zomato.com

SectorFoodtech

HeadquarterDelhi NCR

Unicorn status year2015

Key Investors:


Info Edge India invested USD 16.7 million between 2010 and 2013

Sequoia Capital in November 2013, invested 20.3million.

Vy Capital raised USD 60 million for the company.

In 2015 Temasek- a Singapore based investment company invested USD 110 million.

In March 2018, Alibaba’s Ant Financial invested USD 150 million.


OLA:

The idea about Ola came to Bhavish Aggarwal when during his journey to Bandipur from Bangalore, Bhavish’s cab driver stopped the car in the middle of the journey and left him by the side of the road. It is then when he understood the problems the travellers everywhere face and saw the amount of potential cab booking service business have in India. In 2010, he changed his holiday and tour planning company to a taxi booking firm.


Bhavish Aggarwal was joined by his co-founder Ankit Bhati, and they launched Ola in December 2010 as Ola Cabs. The startup was aimed at bridging the gap between cab owners and customer by use of technology to make transportation easier. The company joined hand with drivers and cab owners to make transportation easy for customers. The company expanded its business to 50+ cities by 2015 and served 6 million riders per month, and thus the startup grew at a rate of over 40%.


Founder Name: Bhavish Aggarwal, Ankit Bhati

Launch Year: 2010

Total valuation: $6B

Website: https://www.olacabs.com/

Sector: Ride hailing

HeadquarterBangalore

Unicorn status year:  2014

Key InvestorsThe company has raised $1.1 billion from key investors including Chinese internet giant Tencent and Japan's SoftBank. Tekne Capital invested $50 million in Ola.


OLA ELECTRIC


Ola Electric which is one of the world’s largest ride-hailing companies is a part of Ola company. Ola electric is based on the concept that electrification can improve outcomes for drivers, customers, and will also boost its business model. Ola Electric, was founded in 2017, it aims at making sustainable technologies cost-effective and viable in daily mobility. It is the youngest startup of India to reach unicorn benchmark.

Founder NameBhavish Aggarwal, Ankit Bhati

Launch Year2018

Total valuation$1.1B

Website: https://www.olaelectric.in/

Sector the company belongs to: Mobility

HeadquarterBengaluru

Unicorn status year2019

Key Investors:  Ola Electric key investor include Matrix Partners, Ratan Tata and Tiger Global from which the company has raised Rs 300 crore ($42.2 million). Ola Electric newest investor is SoftBank from which company raised $250 million at a valuation of $1 billion.


PAYTM MALL:


Paytm Mall is a subsidiary of Paytm which was launched in February 2017. The company came up with a Paytm Mall app that allows consumers to shop from 1.4 lakh registered sellers. The idea of the company was inspired from the B2C model of China's largest B2C retail platform TMall. The sellers selling their product under the company have to pass through Paytm-certified warehouses and channels to strengthen the customer trust for the company. Paytm Mall has about 17 fulfilment centres across India which are in partnership with 40 couriers' services.


Founder NameVijay Shekhar Sharma

Launch Year2016

Total valuation$3B

Websitehttps://paytmmall.com/

SectorE-Commerce

HeadquarterDelhi-NCR

Unicorn status year2018

Key Investors:  Alibaba Group and SAIF Partners are its key investors with an investment of $200 million.


UDAAN

Udaan was one of the youngest companies to reach the unicorn mark. It was found three-years ago and is continuously on the rise in terms of its popularity and size. Three ex-Flipkart employees Vaibhav, Amod, and Sujeet started the company with an idea to revolutionized the business industry and support all the small-time merchants. Udaan creates a single platform for manufacturers, traders, wholesalers, and retailers and help them connect better. This in turn will make the whole B2B process a whole lot easier in India.


Founder NameSujeet Kumar, Vaibhav Gupta, Amod Malviya

Launch Year:  2016

Total valuation$2.8B

Websitehttps://udaan.com/

SectorE-Commerce(B2B)

HeadquarterBangalore

Unicorn status year2018

Key Investors  The company raised $600 million from DST Global, Lightspeed Venture Partners, Yuri Milner.


SNAPDEAL

Kunal Bahl and Rohit Bansal started the company on 4th of February 2010. The business was started with the name MoneySaver in 2010, which was basically an offline daily deal website. The customers were given coupons and deal related to beauty and wellness products, travel, food which led to sale of 15000 coupons the initial 3 months. Later, when the potential in the E-commerce sector was realised by the company in 2011, they launched Snapdeal which is an online marketplace.

Founder Name: Kunal Bahl, Rohit Bansal

Launch Year: 2010

Total valuation: $6.5B

Website: https://www.snapdeal.com/

Sector: E-commerce

Headquarter: Delhi-NCR

Unicorn status year: 2014

Key Investors:   Nexus Venture Partners invested $12 million, Bessemer Venture Partners invested $45 million dollars, Softbank and Alibaba Group are the biggest investor for the company.


HIKE:

Hike Messenger, also called Hike Sticker Chat, was started by Kavin Bharti Mittal. The app worked as Indian freeware, cross-platform instant messaging (IM), Voice over IP (VoIP) application. The idea of the app was to make messaging module more interesting and funnier. When WhatsApp & Facebook were becoming popular among the people, Kavin thought of making the way of messaging cooler. Ever since its launch the app has expended to 100 countries around the world.

Founder NameKavin Bharti Mittal

Launch Year2012

Total valuation$1.4B

Website: https://hike.in/

SectorMessaging

HeadquarterDelhi NCR

Unicorn status year:  2016

Key Investors:   Bharti Enterprises and SoftBank Group ($ 21 million investment), Tiger Global ($65 million investment), Tencent and Foxconn ($175 million investment).


SWIGGY

Nandan Reddy, Sriharsha Majety alumni of the BITS Pilani, came up with an idea to start a delivery management platform. They worked on this idea and started with company ‘Bundl’ in the year 2013, but in year 2014 they were forced to shut down their start-up. After their failure they understood that they could use the hyper local delivery to strengthen their business. Then they both joined hand with Rahul Jaimin who is the alumnus of the IIT-Kharagpur to start a new food ordering and Delivery Company which started its operations in August 2014. The key features which lead to the success of Swiggy is no minimum order policy, own tracking system, delivery boys, and mobile phones to make delivery faster and more efficient.

Founder NameNandan Reddy, Rahul Jaimini, Sriharsha Majety

Launch Year2014

Total valuation$3.5B

Websitehttps://www.swiggy.com/

SectorFoodtech

HeadquarterBengaluru

Unicorn status year2018

Key Investors Accel and SAIF Partners ($2 million investment), Norwest Venture Partners, Naspers ($80 million investment),  Meituan-Dianping and Naspers ($100 million investment).


SHOPCLUES

ShopClues is an Indian online marketplace that was established in July 2011 and is owned by Clues Network Pvt. Ltd. Based in Gurgaon, the company became a unicorn startup with US$1.1 billion value in year 2016.  But in 2019 the company suffered huge losses and was acquired by Singapore-based Qoo10 in an all-stock deal valued at approximately US$70 million, which was the largest meltdowns of an Indian startup.

Founder NameRadhika Aggarwal, Sanjay Sethi

Launch Year2011

Total valuation$1.1B

Websitehttps://www.shopclues.com/

Sector: Online Shopping Portal (B2C)

HeadquarterDelhi NCR

Unicorn status year2016

Key Investors:  Key investors of the company were Helion Venture Partners, Nexus Venture Partners, Tiger Global.


OYO


Oyo was inspired by the shortage of budget hotels, serviceable homes and apartments in India for travellers who move across the cities. Then Ritesh Agarwal decided to start an online homestay service which was inspired by Airbnb. He planned to make the travel experience more reliable. Oyo slowly started to make into customer hearts because of its low-budget hotels, aggregating rooms from all over the country. What made Oyo more special is that it gave customers the option of monitoring hotel standards on a host of parameters from cleanliness to Wi-Fi availability and room services.

Founder NameRitesh Agarwal

Launch Year2013

Total valuation$10B

Websitehttps://www.oyorooms.com/

SectorBudget Hotels

HeadquarterDelhi NCR

Unicorn status year2018

Key Investors:   Star Virtue Investment Ltd. ($100 million investment), SoftBank Group, Lightspeed Venture Partners, and Sequoia India made the biggest investment of $1.5 billion in the company.


DRUVA SOFTWARE


The company was found by Jaspreet Singh and Milind Borate in Pune in 2008, The startup provides solutions for management for laptop and data protection for the cloud era.  The company offers a SaaS platform for data protection across data centres, cloud applications, and endpoints.

Founder NameJaspreet Singh, Milind Borate, Ramani Kothandaraman

Launch Year2008

Total valuation$1B

Websitehttps://www.druva.com/

SectorData Management

HeadquarterBengaluru

Unicorn status year2019

Key Investors:   Viking Global Investors, Riverwood Capital, Tenaya Capital, Nexus Venture Partners.


RIVIGO

Deepak Garg and Gazal Kalra found Rivigo in 2014 with a noble idea of making the truck driving occupation more gracious and humane. The central objective of startup was to create a platform where no truck driver would drive for more than 5-6 hours per day and he could reach home daily. Today the company owns 3,000 trucks covering over 29,000 pin codes spread over the entire country and also its business has spread to 200 branches

Founder NameDeepak Garg, Gazal Kalra

Launch Year2014

Total valuation$1B

Websitehttps://www.rivigo.com/

SectorTrucking

HeadquarterDelhi NCR

Unicorn status year2018

Key Investors The company has raised $65 million from existing investors like Warburg Pincus and SAIF Partners. It has raised an investment of total of $180 million to date.


PAYTM

Vijay Shekhar Sharma is the architect of most used payment and money transfer apps used in India- Paytm despite the fact that he had no business management background. He left his MNC job and started One97 company which is the parent company of Paytm. Though when he put his idea of online payment eco-system in front of his investors, they were not satisfied but he managed to convince them and thus Paytm, ‘Pay Through Mobile’ was born.

Founder NameVijay Shekhar Sharma

Launch Year2010

Total valuation$16B

Websitehttp://paytm.com/

SectorPayments

HeadquarterDelhi-NCR

Unicorn status year2015

Key Investors:  The stakes of the company are distributed as follows. Vijay Shekhar Sharma (14.67% share), Ant Financials (29.71% share), SoftBank Vision Fund (19.63% share), SAIF Partners (18.56% share), AGH (7.18% share), Berkshire Hathway (2.76% share) and Others (7.49% shares).


InMOBI

InMobi was started in 2007 under the name mKhoj by Naveen Tewari, Mohit Saxena, Amit Gupta, and Abhay Singhal. The company initially provided providing SMS-based search engine services. 2008 as providing SMS-based search engine services. In 2011 it was rebranded as InMobi and it became an Indian global mobile advertising technology company. It was one of the first platform that allows brands, developers, and publishers to engage consumers through contextual mobile advertising. It became the first unicorn startup of India.

Founder NameNaveen Tewari, Amit Gupta, Mohit Saxena

Launch Year2007

Total valuation$1B

Websitehttps://www.inmobi.com/

SectorMobile Ads

HeadquarterBengaluru

Unicorn status year2014

Key Investors:   Mumbai Angels ($500,000 in 2007), Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers and Sherpalo Ventures ($7,100,000 in 2008), Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers and Sherpalo Ventures ($8,000,000    in 2010), Softbank ($200,000,000 in 2011 and $5,000,000 in 2014), Tennenbaum Capital Partners ($100,000,000 in 2015).


QUIKR

Quikr was initially started as Kijiji India in November 2005 and was owned by Kijiji International. In 2008, Matrix Partners India invested in the Kijiji India and thus it became an independent company and was re-branded as Quikr. It is an Indian online marketplace and classified advertising platform that allows anyone to sell, buy, rent, or discover anything across India.

Founder NameJiby Thomas, Pranay Chulet

Launch Year2008

Total valuation$1.6B

Website: https://www.quikr.com/

SectorClassifieds advertising

HeadquarterBengaluru

Unicorn status year2015

Key Investors  The company has the backing of Kinnevik AB, Brand Capital, Tiger Global Management, NGP Capital, Warburg Pincus.


BILLDESK

BillDesk is a 20-year-old company that was founded all the way back in 2000. The company was started by American accounting firm employee Arthur Andersen M.N. Srinivasu, Ajay Kaushal, and Karthik Ganapathy, who quit their job to start a company that made it easier to pay their bills. Earlier people had to stand in long queues to pay their electricity bills and phone bills thus the company planned to bring this process to the newly-emerging medium of the internet. Today it is one of India's largest online payment gateway company.

Founder NameAjay Kaushal

Launch Year2000

Total valuation$1.5B

Websitehttps://billdesk.com/

SectorPayments (B2B)

HeadquarterMumbai

Unicorn status year2018

Key Investors:   It received its first investment from SIDBI Venture Capital Ltd and Bank of Baroda in 2000. Clearstone Venture Partners and State Bank of India ($7.5 million investment), General Atlantic, and Temasek (USD 200 million investment).


FRESHWORKS

Girish Mathrubootham is an MBA graduate from the University of Madras who laid the idea for Freshworks in 2010. The idea sparked in his mind when an LCD TV was delivered in damaged condition and he was not able to get it repaired easily as a company despite repeated complaints did nothing.  It was then that he got the idea for a customer support software. He started Freshworks to provide businesses of all sizes with customer engagement software.

Founder NameGirish Mathrubootham, Shan Krishnasamy

Launch Year2010

Total valuation$3.5B

Websitehttps://www.freshworks.com/

SectorSaaS

HeadquarterChennai

Unicorn status year2018

Key Investors: The key investors of the company are Accel, Sequoia Capital India, Tiger Global Management, CapitalG.


BIGBASKET

The company was first started as online business, Fabmart.com, in 1999. In 2001, online grocery division of this business was launched and the company grew exceptionally. After it they also started Fabmall which was a succession of grocery supermarkets in Southern India, which was acquired by Aditya Birla group in 2006, and was rebranded as More. But the founders were determined to launch something bigger in the grocery market of India and finally launched Big basket in 2011.

Founder NameAbhinay Choudhari, Hari Menon, Vipul Parekh, VS Sudhakar

Launch Year2011

Total valuation$1B

Website: https://www.bigbasket.com/

SectorOnline Groceries

HeadquarterBengaluru

Unicorn status year2019

Key Investors:   The key investors the company are Alibaba Group, Helion Venture Partners, Paytm Mall, Helion Venture Partners, Bessemer Venture Partners, LionRock Capital, Abraaj Group.


Delhivery

Delhivery was established in May 2011 and in the beginning, it acted as an express delivery service provider for offline stores. It focused on delivering flowers and food locally in the city of Gurgaon. Founders Barua and Tandon, who were working as consultants for Bain & Company realized the potential that the retailing and e-commerce segment had in India and thus switched completely to offering logistics services to a number of e-commerce companies.

Founder NameBhavesh Manglani, Kapil Bharati, Mohit Tandon, Sahil Barua, Suraj Saharan

Launch Year2011

Total valuation$1.6B

Websitehttps://www.delhivery.com/

SectorLogistics

HeadquarterDelhi NCR

Unicorn status year2019

Key Investors The company has gathered $781M from key investors like SoftBank, Fosun, Carlyle Group, Tiger Global, Nexus Venture Partners, Times Internet.


LENSKART


The company was started by Peyush Bansal after he returned from USA after leaving his job at Microsoft, USA. He started his own website My Campus.com which provided students information such as accommodations, books, carpool services, part-time job opportunities etc. In 2010 he started Lenskart.com for the online sale of eyewear.

Founder NamePeyush Bansal alongwith Amit Chaudhary and Sumeet Kapahi

Launch Year2010

Total valuation$1.5B

Website:https://www.lenskart.com/

SectorEyewear

HeadquarterDelhi NCR

Unicorn status year: 2019

Key Investors:  The key investor includes TPG Growth, International Finance Corp, and Adveq Management., Ratan Tata (of Tata Sons), and S Gopalakrishnan.


POLICY BAZAAR


The company was started in 2008 as an insurance comparison website and mainly focused on the insurance sector. At that time policies were mostly sold through agents and the Indian insurance industry lacked transparency. So, it initially started as an insurance price-comparison website which acted as an information portal for learning about insurance and insurance programs.  Policybazaar.com later went on to become an Indian insurance aggregator and a global financial technology startup.

Founder Name: Alok Bansal, Yashish Dahiya

Launch Year2008

Total valuation: $1B

Websitehttp://policybazaar.com/

Sector: Insurance Tech

Headquarter: Delhi NCR

Unicorn status year2018

Key Investors:  It has managed to get $ 346 Mn investment from key investors like Wellington Management, PremjiInvest, Tiger Global Management, Inventus Capital Partners.


BYJUS

BYJU’S was established by Byju Raveendran in 2011 and the app for it was developed by Think and Learn Pvt Ltd. Raveendran, was an engineer, he started teaching students mathematics. He got the idea for the startup after one of his students showed him an educational company that was teaching students through online videos. In August 2015, the firm launched BYJU’S The Learning App which was downloaded by more than 2 million students within the first 3 months.

Founder NameByju Raveendran, Divya Gokulnath

Launch Year2008

Total valuation$8.2B

Websitehttps://byjus.com/

SectorEdTech

HeadquarterBengaluru

Unicorn status year2018

Key Investors:   It has raised funding of $1.47B from key investors like General Atlantic, Tencent Holdings, Verlinvest, Sequoia Capital India, Sofina, Aarin Capital, Chan Zuckerberg Initiative.


ICETRIS


Icertis was found in 2009 by Samir Bodas and Monish Dardais which is a software company, that provides contract management software to enterprise businesses. It builds software for companies so that they can keep a record of their deals with suppliers and customers that generally require extensive contracts.

Founder NameSamir Bodas, Monish Darda

Launch Year2009

Total valuation$1B

Websitehttps://www.icertis.com/

SectorContract Management

HeadquarterPune

Unicorn status year2019

Key Investors It Raised $ 211 Mn fund from key investors like Greycroft, PremjiInvest, B Capital Group, Eight Roads, Ignition Partners.


DREAM11

Dream11 is a platform that allows users to play fantasy cricket, hockey, football, kabaddi, and basketball on one platform. Dream11 is the first Indian gaming company to enter the ‘Unicorn Club’. Dream11 was founded by Harsh Jain and Bhavit Sheth in 2008. In 2012, they came up with freemium fantasy sports for cricket lovers in India. The company reported users grew from 1 million in 2014 to 45 million in 2018.

Founder NameHarsh Jain; Bhavit Sheth

Launch Year2011

Total valuation$1.1B

Websitehttps://www.dream11.com/

Sector the company belongs to: Gaming

HeadquarterMumbai

Unicorn status year2019

Key InvestorsCompanies like Steadview Capital, Kalaari Capital, Think Investments, Multiples Equity have invested $ 100 Mn in the company.


Mu SIGMA

Mu Sigma was found by Dhiraj Rajaram who before worked as a strategy consultant at Booz Allen Hamilton and PricewaterhouseCoopers, in 2004. The company acted as a decision sciences firm that offered offers data analytics services

Founder NameDhiraj Rajaram

Launch Year2004

Total valuation$1.5B

Websitehttp://www.mu-sigma.com/

SectorData Analytics

HeadquarterBengaluru

Unicorn status year2013

Key Investors of the company:  Sequoia Capital, General Atlantic, MasterCard have invested $ 211 Mn in the company.


FLIPKART

In 2007, Flipkart was launched, the Indian e-commerce industry by Sachin Bansal and Binny Bansal, initially the company only focused on the sale of books but it slowly expanded its business to consumer electronics, fashion, home essentials & groceries, and lifestyle products.

Founder NameSachin Bansal, Binny Bansal

Launch Year2007

Total valuation$21B

Websitehttps://www.flipkart.com/

SectorE-Commerce

HeadquarterBengaluru

Unicorn status year2012

Key Investors of the company:   US retail chain Walmart in 2018 acquired a 77% controlling stake in Flipkart for US$16 billion. The other investor of the company is SoftBank, Naspers, Tiger Global Management, Microsoft, Tencent, eBay, Steadview Capital, DST Global, Accel Partners.


CITIUS TECH


Citius Tech was found in 2005, the company provided solution for healthcare technology services. The company works on various digital technologies like Business Intelligence, mobility & IoT, Big Data, Cloud Computing, Predictive Analytics & Data Science.

Founder Name:  Rizwan Koita and Jagdish Moorjani

Launch Year: 2005

Total valuation$1B

Website: https://www.citiustech.com/

SectorIT-Healthcare

Headquarter: Mumbai

Unicorn status year: 2019

Key Investors:  Baring Private Equity Asia bought the company for a little over $1 billion.


PINE LABS


The company was found in 1998, it started as a petroleum automation retail solution and soon made transition into a payment's products and services firm for merchants. It has over 100,000 merchants in India and other Asian countries.

Founder NameLokvir Kapoor, Rajul Garg, Tarun Upaday

Launch Year: 1998

Total valuation$1.6B

Websitehttps://www.pinelabs.com/

SectorMerchant financing

HeadquarterNoida

Unicorn status year2020

Key Investors:  In 2020 the investment from Mastercard helped the company to join the unicorn club of startups. Before it the key investors for the company was Temasek Holdings and PayPal, Actis Capital.


POSTMAN


Abhinav Asthana and Ankit Sobti, the co-founders of Postman initially worked at Yahoo. The two were working on the front-end architecture of an app for which they had to use APIs. While working they felt that tools to support API development were missing. They then tried to solve the problem and wrote codes to solve the issue and posted it on the Chrome Webstore. API (application programming interface) is a code that enables one software to interact with others in a better way. Soon the solution code turned into an idea of a full-fledged business and an API management company. Today the client of the company includes Netflix, Cisco, Microsoft, Sony and PayPal.

Founder Name: Abhinav Asthana and Ankit Sobt

Launch Year: 2014

Total valuation$2 billion

Websitehttps: //www.postman.com/

Sector: Software as a Service (SaaS)

HeadquarterBangalore

Unicorn status year2020

Key InvestorsInsight Partners, CRV and Nexus Venture Partners are the key investor for the company



This article is written by Saransh Pandey. Saransh is an intern with Chamber of Startups.

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