If one was to say that even during the coronavirus pandemic there would be companies that would thrive and would ultimately be valued at over a billion dollars, they wouldn’t be believed. But through hard work, insight, and unique services, there are 11 Indian startups that did so well that eventually, they earned the tag of a unicorn (a company that has a value of $1 billion).
Here’s a look at all the new companies to be entering the elite unicorn club.
- Daily Hunt
Investors: Google, Microsoft
After a decade worth of grind, Dailyhunt received the much-envied unicorn status after raising $100 million funding from the biggest tech names in the world like Google, Microsoft and more with existing investors also participating in the funding round.
Vernacular news and content aggregating platform Dailyhunt offers fresh, relevant and intuitive content every day to its users across 14 languages. This content stream is sourced from an ecosystem built from the groundup that comprises of over hundred thousand content partners and influencers.
Claiming to have more than 300 million users, Dailyhunt aims to leverage AI to provide content to its userbase based on their preferences.
Investors: Google, Mithril Capital
The newest kid in the startup town, Glance is a subsidiary of InMobi. More importantly, Glance has become the fastest unicorn by achieving the $1-billion valuation mark in less than two years of its launch, a feat that was achieved by Udaan previously.
Glance uses AI to personalize content in multiple languages and puts it on the lock screen on Android phones. But don’t let the simplistic nature of their idea fool you, for Glance is reimagining the concept of consumption over hand-held devices.
The app delivers content in multiple languages such as English, Hindi Tamil, Telugu, etc, on the lock screen. The content includes trending news that is spread across categories like politics, sports, fashion, entertainment etc. What makes Glance special is that the content is delivered to the lock screen in a visually rich format, with the app constantly updating itself through its user’s preference. The app claims to have 115 million DAUs(daily active users) that spend around 25 minutes on an average per day.
Investors: Tiger Global, Steadview Capital
Zenoti is one of the leading cloud platforms in the world that helps business providers that are active in the wellness, beauty, and fitness sector. Operational in over 50 countries in the world, Zenoti offers its services to 12,000 businesses. Despite the COVID-19 pandemic, Zenoti has claimed to have achieved 100% growth.
Zenoti’s cloud and mobile solutions serve multiple aspects of consumer engagement, including simple appointment scheduling, automatic secure payments, self-check-ins, etc. In addition to offering its core mobile and cloud solutions, the company also offers a 24*7 customer service, free training, etc.
Just a month ago, in December 2020, the company raised a sum of $160 million which raised the overall valuation of Zenoti to $1 billion.
Investors: Sequoia Capital, DST Global
Due to the coronavirus pandemic, the nation’s mass transit system completely ceased to operate due to the fear of safety and hygiene. To work around this issue Indians found a new and more viable option in the form of used cars. Cars24 turned this adversity into an opportunity and provided Indians the best used-car platform.
The numbers too paint a beautiful picture with annual transactions that exceeded over 2,00,000 units and a 4 times increase in website engagement when compared to the pre-covid era. DST Global invested $200 million in the startup thanks to which the Cars24’s valuation shot up to a billion dollars.
Founded in 2015 by Gajendra Jangid, Mehul Agrawal, Ruchit Agarwal, and Vikram Chopra, the company is now on its way to reshape the automobile industry with AI-enabled pricing, unique vehicle appraisal tech and a lot more.
Investors: Temasek, Paypal
Pinelab became the first unicorn of 2020 by being valued at over a billion dollars in January 2020. But not many people know that their journey has been longer than most companies. The company was founded in 1998, almost 22 years from today, and is one of the oldest merchant payment solutions in India.
Founded by Lokvir Kapoor, Rajul Garg and Tarun Upaday, Pinelabs was initially a card-based solution that also had a loyalty solution offering. However, as most companies do, the company pivoted in 2012 into a PoS payment provider.
Noida-based Pinelabs provides a merchant platform that makes software for PoS(Point of sale) machines. A giant in its industry, Pinelabs number can garner all the attentions and investments it needs. It processes payments worth $30 billion/year and serves around 1,40,000 merchants.
Thanks to the coronavirus pandemic, merchants that were averse to going digital also had to take to digital and thus, Pinelabs saw a jump of 67% in its monthly merchant-onboarding process.
Investors: Sequoia Capital, Softbank
Unacademy’s story is truly inspiring, especially for educators who are slowly moving to content creation to educate more people.
The EdTech startup started off in 2010 as a YouTube channel and five years later transformed into an independent online platform. Founded by Gaurav Munjal, Roman Saini, and Hemesh Singh, Unacademy has turned the idea of a complete massification of education into reality by removing barriers of geography & language and by bringing educators and students in the same room.
The company claims to be having a network of over 18,000 teachers and a subscriber base of 3,50,000 people. Across 1,50,000 live classes per month, the platform clocks almost 2 billion watch minutes.
Investors: Softbank, Valiant Capital
FirstCry achieved its unicorn status after a decade since its inception by being valued at $1.2 billion in a funding deal with SoftBank which got the online retail platform $400 million as investment
FirstCry was founded in 2010 by Supam Maheshwari and Amitava Saha and since its inception has been an inarguable leader in the baby and mothercare sector.
Firstcry claims to be offering over 2 lakh products across 6,000 brands with a user base of over 4 million. The Pune based startup registered a 65% jump in its 2020 revenue amounting to Rs. 887.5 crores.
Recently, it reported a 65.8 percent jump in its FY20 revenue to Rs 887.5 crore from Rs 535 crore during FY19.
Investors: TPG, Lighthouse, Steadview
Omnichannel lifestyle retailer Nykaa was founded in 2012 by Falguni Nyar.
Nykaa too turned the pandemic’s adversity into opportunity by delivering essentials to more than 14,000 pincodes across India and embarked on the path of turning into a unicorn. In May 2020, after raising Rs. 66.64 crore from SteadView capital, the company received the unicorn status as it was valued at $1.2 billion.
Investors: Nexus, CRV
Postman is used by over 11 million developers across the globe today. It was founded in 2014 by Abhijit Kane, Abhinav Asthana, and Ankit Sobti. The platform’s main aim is to aid software developers into exponentially increase the speed of their software development process through collaboration with stakeholders at every level.
Not just developers, but tech giants including Microsoft, Twitter, etch also uses Postman. The startup also claims that 98% of the Fortune 500 companies have used their platform at some point.
Postman began as a side project for Abhinav in 2012 but slowly grew into having its own life and ultimately raised $150 million in December at a staggering valuation of $2 billion.
Investors: Angel Investors
Zerodha is one of the most valued online stock trading platforms in India’s FinTech landscape. The company started off a decade ago as a bootstrapped startup and has never looked back ever since. Founded by Nithin Kamath who himself used to trade in Indian stock markets since he was merely 17, Zerodha’s inception was more a necessity for Indian traders according to Kamath.
Thanks to the extreme volatility the coronavirus pandemic brought, the platform saw an exponential-100 % growth of concurrent users. Since then it has been seeing an average of more than a million users a day with a stable yet impressive 50-60% growth.
Investors: Sequoia Capital, Tiger Global
RazorPay was founded in 2014 by Harshil Mathur and Shashank Kumar with the aim to make the digital payment processes seamless and simple for smaller businesses. Razorpay took seven years of hard work, tech upgrades, and a consistent understanding of their customer base to reach the Unicorn status.
During these seven years, Razorpay claims to have processed transitions worth $25 billion. In December 2020, the company also claimed to have turned cash-flow positive with up to 2.6 times growth in its revenue streams. Today the company serves various international brands like Facebook, Google, Jio Hotstar along with its intended customer base of SME owners.