Startups are running behind the mystical creature that is the “unicorn”. The tag of honor that every startup seeks and dreams of is the unicorn tag,THE TERM WAS COINED BY AILEEN LEE, FOUNDER OF COWBOY VENTURES.
Why did she come up with the term “Unicorn”? Unicorns are mystical magical beings and are also extremely rare. Just like a unicorn, the startups that get the unicorn tag are rare just like the magical creature, hard to find.
In the year 2021, we got to see so many unicorns in India. Already, 40 Indian startups have joined the unicorn club.
This year, well over $38.4 billion has been raised as of December 4th,2021, with several rounds of funding thus producing the India unicorns.
The unicorn saga of 2021 is a milestone for the Indian Startup ecosystem, with the ecosystem witnessing the arrival of the first unicorns in health tech, social commerce, and E-pharmacy.
To date, there have been 82 Indian tech startups that have joined the unicorn club.
At this rate, India will have over 100 unicorns by the end of 2022.
1. Digit Insurance
Founder(S): Kamesh Goyal and Prem Watsa.
Digit Insurance, a Bengaluru-based insurtech startup, was the first to join the Indian unicorn club in 2021. Digit Insurance is a technology-driven general insurance company that provides customized policies on health, auto, travel, smartphones, and commercial properties such as stores and vacation homes.
Location: San Francisco (offices throughout the United States and Asia.)
Founder(S): Abhinav Shashank, Kanav Hasija, and Sandeep Gupta
Innovaccer went on to become the first Indian unicorn in the health-tech space. The company analyses healthcare data to provide actionable insights to healthcare providers, hospitals, insurance companies, and other organizations and businesses in western markets such as the United States.
Several governments and private institutions use the product to maintain medical records for over 3.8 million patients, resulting in a $400 million savings for healthcare providers.
Over the next five years, the startup hopes to increase its current patient record count to 100 million or more and reach out to 500,000 caregivers.
Founder(S): Aatrey Barnwal and Sanjeev Barnwal
Meesho, founded in 2015 by IIT-Delhi graduates Aatrey and Sanjeev Barnwal, is an online reseller network for individuals and small and medium businesses (SMBs) that sell products through their network on social channels such as WhatsApp, Facebook, and Instagram.
The platform has approximately 13 million individual entrepreneurs, bringing e-commerce benefits to 45 million customers across India.
Founder(S): Souvik Sengupta and Aaditya Sharda
Infra.Market, founded in 2016 by Aaditya Sharda and Souvik Sengupta, is a B2B online procurement marketplace for real estate and construction materials that uses technology to provide customers with fair pricing and a smoother procurement experience.
The platform aggregates demand and connects it to the supply chain, offering wholesale pricing on materials as well as affordable credit or financing, which is not always available to small businesses in this sector.
Founder(S): Dharmil Sheth and Dr. Dhaval Shah.
PharmEasy was founded to serve the chronic care segment, offering services such as teleconsultation, medication deliveries, and sample collection for diagnostic tests. It connects over 60K brick-and-mortar pharmacies and 4K doctors across India in 16K postal codes.
In addition, the platform provides a SaaS solution for pharmacies to use in procurement, as well as delivery and logistics, support, and credit solutions. Since its inception, it claims to have served over 20 million patients.
Founder(S): Kunal Shah
Founded in 2018, CRED focuses on premium credit card users, providing them with rewards and benefits in exchange for paying their credit card bills. The startup claims to have added over 5.9 million credit card users with a median credit score of 830 in the last two years.
Last year, the company decided to try its hand at e-commerce to boost revenue and capitalize on its user base. CRED Store was its first foray into e-commerce, and in December, CRED launched CRED Pay, which allows users to use their CRED reward coins across e-commerce sites to unlock discounts.
Founder(S): Lalit Keshre, Harsh Jain, Ishan Bansal and Neeraj Singh.
Founded by Ex-Flipkartians in 2016, Groww is India’s second wealth management unicorn, only eight months after bootstrapping Zerodha was valued at more than $1 billion.
Groww allows users to invest in stocks, mutual funds, ETFs, IPOs, and gold through its tech platform, which is accessible via mobile app and web platform. For do-it-yourself (DIY) investors, the company had also launched stocks with an easy-to-use interface.
Founder(S): Farid Ahsan, Bhanu Singh, and Ankush Sachdeva
ShareChat, founded in 2015 by IIT-Kanpur alumni Farid Ahsan, Bhanu Singh, and Ankush Sachdeva, began as a content-sharing platform for WhatsApp, with users sharing approximately 100K content per day. It discovered its niche in the vernacular social media platform and has been focusing on it ever since.
In 2020, the company also launched Moj, a short video platform, after the Indian government banned Chinese apps like TikTok and Likee. Moj has also captured the attention of the audience, with approximately 80 million monthly active users as of today.
Location: San Francisco
Founder(S): Beerud Sheth
Gupshup, founded in 2004 by Beerud Sheth, is a conversational messaging platform that serves businesses in a variety of industries, including banking, e-commerce, hospitality, and consumer goods. Kotak Mahindra Bank, IndusInd Bank, HDFC Bank, Ola, Zomato, and Flipkart are among its clients.
Founder(S): Rajaraman S, Thiyagarajan T, KP Saravanan and Krish Subramanian.
Chargebee is a technology platform for automated subscription, founded in 2010. To automate payment collections, invoicing, email notifications, and customer management, the company uses payment gateways. Clients can optimize revenue operations, compliance, and revenue recognition with the latest product updates. According to the company, it serves 2500 businesses in 53 countries.
11. Urban Company
Founder(S): Abhiraj Bahl, Raghav Chandra, and Varun Khaitan
Founded in 2014, The Urban Company (previously known as the Urban Clap) is a home service company that specializes in beauty and massage, appliance repair, plumbing, carpentry, cleaning, and painting.
Moglix is an e-commerce platform that sells industrial tools such as power tools, hand tools, adhesives, safety and security products, and electricals. It procures and distributes safety equipment, hardware, office supplies, and other items to various industries.
Founder(S): Bhavin Turakhia and Ramki Gaddipati
Founded in 2014, Zeta is a cloud-native neo-banking platform for the issuance of credit, debit, and prepaid products, allowing businesses to launch engaging retail and corporate products as well as digitized solutions for businesses like automated cafeteria billing and more.
Founder(S): Ritesh Arora and Nakul Aggarwal
Founded in 2011, BrowserStack is an Indian cloud web and mobile testing platform. It gives developers instant access to a cloud platform that lets them test their websites and mobile apps on 2,500+ real devices and browsers. Thus eliminating the need for teams to own and manage their own test infrastructure.
Founder(S): Rajesh Yabaji
Founded in 2015, BlackBuck is India’s largest trucking system, redefining the country’s logistics ecosystem. It offers shippers and truck drivers quick and easy availability, transparent pricing, efficiency, and trustworthiness, resulting in a seamless experience with Data Science at its core.
The startup employs technology to connect a shipper with a trucker and to facilitate price discovery. BlackBuck promises the essentials and believes in creating products that are future-ready for their customers.
Founder(S): Sandeep Agarwal
Droom, founded by Sandeep Agarwal in 2014, is an online marketplace where users can buy and sell used and new cars in India and other emerging markets. The startup offers four different marketplace formats: B2C, C2C, C2B, and B2B, as well as three different pricing options: fixed price, best offer, and auction.
Founder(S): Bhuvan Gupta, Vasant Sridhar, Ruchi Kalra, Nitin Jain, and Asish Mohapatra
OfBusiness makes raw material procurement and credit easier for SMEs in the manufacturing and infrastructure sectors. The startup combines technology with SMEs’ buying habits to provide customers with better products, at better prices, and in shorter time frames, as well as comprehensive online and offline support.
Location: New Delhi
Founder(S): Ashneer Grover and Shashvat Nakrani
Ashneer Grover and Shashvat Nakrani founded BharatPe in 2018, which launched India’s first UPI interoperable QR code for merchants and has since expanded into other financial services.
Location: San Francisco and Pune.
Founder(S): Krishna Depura, Nishant Mungali, Mohit Garg, and Deepak Diwakar
The Pune and San Francisco-based company, which was founded in 2011, claims to reduce training time for salespeople who need to be kept up-to-date on new product lines.
Mindtickle is a SaaS platform that focuses on helping businesses improve their sales function by identifying ideal sales behaviors, increasing seller knowledge and skillsets, and incorporating real-world feedback from customer meetings.
The startup also offers companies that have been using legacy learning management systems solutions for onboarding, micro-learning, skills development, and coaching (LMS).
Founder(S): Ronnie Screwvala, Mayank Kumar, Phalgun Kompalli and Ravijot Chugh
UpGrad is an online education startup that creates industry-relevant learning programmes. It was founded in 2015. Digital marketing, data analytics, and product management are among the skills offered by UpGrad.
Its classes reach people in over 100 cities and towns across India, including places where quality education is either unavailable or prohibitively expensive.
upGrad collaborates with a number of universities to provide higher education courses. It claims to have over 2 million students enrolled.
Founder(S): Sumit Gupta
CoinDCX, which was founded in 2018, is India’s largest and safest cryptocurrency exchange, allowing you to easily buy and sell Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies.
It runs CoinDCX Go, a cryptocurrency investment app, CoinDCX Pro, a professional trading platform, and DCX Learn, a crypto-focused investor education platform.
Founder(S): Amrit Acharya, Srinath Ramakkrushnan, and Vishal Chaudhary
Zetwerk was founded in May 2018 as a B2B software company with the goal of assisting businesses with supply chain management. It’s a manufacturing services platform that connects manufacturers with vendors and suppliers of custom products, industrial machine components, and other machinery.
23. Grofers (Now Blinkit)
Founder(S): Saurabh Kumar and Albinder Dhindsa
Grofers, an Indian on-demand online grocery delivery service based in Gurugram, was founded in 2013. This e-commerce startup platform offers a wide range of daily necessities to its customers, including groceries, bakery items, baby care items, and much more.
Customers can purchase and order products through Grofers’ mobile application at a predetermined time, and Grofers employees will deliver these items to the customers. Blinkit is currently available in over 28 cities across India.
Founder(S): Ashwin Damera, Chaitanya Kalipatnapu
Eruditus is an ed-tech platform based in Mumbai. The company, which was founded in 2010, works with leading universities around the world to make executive education more accessible. Eruditus Executive Education has partnered with more than 30 universities, offering more than 100 courses to students from more than 80 countries.
25. Mobile Premier League
Founder(S): Sai Srinivas Kiran G, Shubh Malhotra, Shubham Malhotra
The Bengaluru-based gaming platform has joined the unicorn club as the second Indian gaming startup. After Dream11’s unicorn status, the Mobile Premier League, founded in 2018, is another fantasy gaming and esports platform from India.
MPL has a wide range of games to choose from, including skill-based games like daily fantasy sports and chess, as well as casual games like 8 Ball Pool and Fruit Ninja.
Founder(S): Nirmit Parikh
Founded in 2019, Apna is a professional networking platform that enables India’s growing workforce to stay up to date on professional requirements and job openings and to apply for them at any time and from any location. Apna is currently available in 28 cities across India, helping students and blue and grey-collar workers find the best communities and jobs.
Founder(S): Vamsi Krishna, Pulkit Jain, Saurabh Saxena, and Anand Prakash
Vedantu is an Edtech platform that enables real-time personalized learning experiences through online e-learning courses and classes. Vedantu believes in bridging the gap between a student and his or her tutor so that they can benefit from one-on-one instruction in real-time.
Students can use Vedantu to get online tutoring in subjects such as math, physics, chemistry, English, French, Hindi, social studies, German, computer science, and more.
28. CoinSwitch Kuber
Founder(S): Ashish Singhal, Govind Soni, Vimal Sagar Tiwari
CoinSwitch Kuber is a cryptocurrency exchange platform that allows users to buy and sell cryptocurrencies while ensuring secure and convenient transactions.
Licious is an online meat and seafood orders startup that follows an end-to-end business. The startup so far has raised over $489 million in funding from investors, including Kotak Private Equity, Aman Gupta, Amansa Capital, Axis Growth Avenues AIF – I
30. Rebel Foods
Founder(S): Jaydeep Barman, Kallol Banerjee
Rebel Foods, also known as Faasos Food Services Pvt. Ltd., is an Indian food delivery platform that handles food delivery needs across the country, delivering food products to customers’ doorsteps.
Founder(S): Bipin Singh, Upasana Taku, Chandan Joshi
MobiKwik is a Fintech company that was founded in 2009 as a digital payments platform that provides users with phone-based payment options as well as a digital wallet. MobiKwik, based in Gurgaon, is a trusted name in the digital payments space, as well as a payment gateway and other financial services.
Founder(S): Amit Jain, Anurag Jain
CarDekho was established in 2007. CarDekho, based in Gurugram, Haryana, assists users in searching through a large number of vehicles to find one that meets their needs in every way. CarDekho’s platform includes all of the pertinent information about the vehicle, as well as other detailed specs, expert reviews, comparisons, and more.
All of these factors have aided in the selection of car models and are some of the factors that have contributed to the company’s growing popularity.
Founder(S): Ruchi Deepak, Varun Dua
Acko is an Indian digital insurance company that bills itself as the first to process car, bike, and health insurance without the use of paper. Acko also has a license that allows it to underwrite and distribute bite-sized insurance products. In 2021, the unicorn insurance company will become the 34th Indian company to join the unicorn club.
Founder(S): Darpan Sanghvi,Naiyya Saggi and Naiyya Saggi
MyGlamm, a cruelty-free and vegan beauty brand founded in 2017 by Darpan Sanghvi, claims to have over 800 cruelty-free and vegan beauty products in the cosmetic, skincare, and personal care categories. Apart from that, MyGlamm has over 30,000 physical retail locations.
Founder(S): Ankit Nagori, Mukesh Bansal
Cure.fit is a health and fitness company that combines online and offline experiences to promote proper nutrition, physical fitness, and mental well-being through improved yoga and meditation, as well as medical and lifestyle advice. On November 10, 2021, the Bangalore-based fitness brand became a unicorn.
36. Mensa Brands
Founder(S): Ananth Narayanan, Pawan Kumar Dasaraju
Former Myntra CEO and Medlife cofounder Ananth Narayanan and Pawan Kumar Dasaraju founded Mensa, a brand aggregator, and roll-up firm. Mensa Brands is an investment firm that works with entrepreneurs to help them build and scale digital brands.
The company uses a Thrasio-based model, in which it invests working capital and acquires equity in other D2C startups, allowing the brands’ online presence to grow.
Mensa’s platform aids in driving growth, product, merchandising, technology, supply chain, product, and access to global markets, allowing founders to profitably exit their businesses while also transforming them through a stable and successful partnership.
37. No Broker
Founder(S): Akhil Gupta, Amit Kumar Agarwal, Saurabh Garg
On November 23, 2021, NoBroker became India’s first unicorn (property technology) company. NoBroker was created with the goal of creating a brokerage-free real estate platform that would take care of a customer’s entire journey.
The startup takes care of everything from selecting a home to listing it, obtaining a mortgage, contacting packers and movers, selecting painting and other services, and so on. NoBroker is a Bengaluru-based unicorn startup founded by Akhil Gupta, Amit Kumar Agarwal, and Saurabh Garg in 2014.
Founder(S): Niraj Singh, Mohit Gupta and Ramanshu Mahaur
Spinny is a used-car buying platform that uses cutting-edge technology to make transactions in used cars more reliable and hassle-free. Spinny was founded in 2015 in Gurgaon, Haryana, India, on a full-stack business model with the goal of making the process of buying used cars simple and transparent, and ultimately assisting customers in purchasing cars that meet their needs.
At the moment, the startup operates 15 car hubs in eight cities: Delhi-NCR, Bangalore, Mumbai, Pune, Hyderabad, Chennai, Kolkata, and Ahmedabad.
Founder(S): Deepak Malhotra, Rajan Bajaj
Slice is a Bengaluru-based financial startup that focuses on payment cards/credit cards and extends them to their target audiences, which are mostly Gen Z and millennials.
Slice (formerly Slicepay) is a fintech startup founded in 2016 by Rajan Bajaj that provides credit solutions to young people aged 18 to 29.
In partnership with Visa and SBM Bank, the startup issues credit and payment cards to this segment, allowing them to build a good credit score while also receiving rewards and discounts on payments. The company offers a credit line ranging from Rs 10,000 to Rs 10 lakh.
40. Pristyn Care
Founder(S): Harsimarbir (Harsh) Singh, Dr. Garima Sawhney, and Vaibhav Kapoor
Pristyn Care is a healthcare startup that was founded in September 2018 with the goal of revolutionizing elective surgery procedures. Pristyn Care, based in Gurgaon, Haryana, India, believes in using cutting-edge technology and advanced procedures to make medical care and surgery more convenient.
Location: New Delhi
Founder(S): Nitin Agarwal and Deepak Khetan
Founder(S): Ghazal Alagh and Varun Alagh
MamaEarth is a D2C startup that sells baby and skincare products in various online marketplaces such as Flipkart and Amazon.