2021 Rewind: Indian Startups That Turned Unicorn This Year

2021 Rewind: Indian Startups That Turned Unicorn This Year

"Unicorns are raining in India," thanks to an unprecedented funding spree for Indian startups across sectors, which has resulted in 40 Indian startups joining the unicorn club. This year, more than $38.4 billion had been raised as of December 4, with several rounds are expected to result in Indian unicorns in 2021. Even though India has historically and culturally been a business-driven nation, the landscape has shifted significantly in the last decade and a half. Every company wants to make a positive impression at work through volunteerism, philanthropic programs, and super rewarding missions, and these companies allow you to do just that. What's more, what's better? They're all building their teams of do-gooders right now.

The unicorn companies of 2021 are among many firsts in the ecosystem, with the ecosystem witnessing the arrival of the first unicorns in health tech, social commerce, and E-pharmacy. To date, 82 Indian technology startups have joined the unicorn club.

Witnessing the growth of the current technologies getting adopted by the startups, In an interview with SiliconIndia Vishal Agrawal, MD, Avaya India & SAARC, said- "Going forward, we will see a greater emphasis on AI, machine learning, and cloud technologies being incorporated into many industries such as health tech, edutech, fintech, and other technologies, as well as automated contact centres that will improve customer experiences. Large corporations will also spend small amounts of money on infrastructure as they prepare their organisations for a hybrid workforce by digitally transforming their workforce and developing future workspaces." The digital workplace and the future workspaces break down communication barriers, positioning you to transform the employee experience by fostering efficiency, innovation, and growth, which will surely drive the companies to success by turning them into a Unicorn company. According to reports, if current trends continue, India will have more than 100 unicorns by 2022, far ahead of the previous estimate of 2023.

Indian Startups That Have Been acknowledged? into The Unicorn Club In this Year

Pharmeasy-:API Holdings had planned a merger in 2020 between its subsidiary PharmEasy and its rival Medlife in order to achieve market dominance and join the unicorn club. Following the completion of the merger in the latter part of last year, the company was able to achieve one of its goals: joining the unicorn club. The company raised $323 million in a Series E funding round at a $1.5 billion valuation. It is noteworthy that it is India's first unicorn epharmacy.

PharmEasy was founded in 2015 by Dharmil Sheth and Dr. Dhaval Shah to serve the chronic care segment, offering services such as teleconsultation, medication deliveries, and sample collection for diagnostic tests. It connects over 60K physical pharmacies and 4K doctors in 16K postal codes across India.

CRED-: With only INR 57 Lakh ($76K at current exchange rates) in operating revenue in the fiscal year 2020, Kunal Shah-led fintech platform CRED joined the unicorn club at a whopping $2.2 Bn valuation. Deals with ecommerce partners such as BigBasket, Dineout, and ixigo are currently in the works. The features were created in partnership with Razorpay and Visa. Vahdam Teas, The Man Company, Epigamia, and Man Matters, among others, participated in a pilot project with over 30 merchantsbefore launching the payment feature .

Urban Company-: Urban Company (formerly Urban Clap) is a home service company that specializes in beauty and massage, appliance repair, plumbing, carpentry, cleaning, and painting. Raghav, Abhiraj BahChandra, and Varun Khaitan founded it in 2014. Urban Company, a Gurugram-based location-based service provider, is the latest startup to join the unicorn club, reportedly valued at $2 billion in its most recent $188 million Series F funding round. The investment was led by Prosus, with DF International and Wellington Management also participating. While Urban Company has not confirmed a $1 billion+ valuation following Series F, it did raise $75 million in Series E in 2019 at a $933 million valuation. The company has so far raised more than $370 million.

ZETA-: Zeta is a Bengaluru-based company that offers a cloud-native neo-banking platform for the issuance of credit, debit, and prepaid products.Serial business owners Turakhia, Bhavin, and Ramki Gaddipati established the business in 2015. It joined the unicorn club on May 24, 2021, after raising $250 million in its Series C funding round led by Japanese conglomerate SoftBank. Notably, its valuation had increased by 4.8X since its previous round in July 2019, when the company was valued to $300 million.

UPGRAD-:UpGrad, a Mumbai-based startup, became India's third edtech unicorn in August 2021, after raising a total of $185 million from Temasek, IFC (International Finance Corporation, a sister organization of the World Bank Group), and IIFL at a valuation of $1.2 billion. Mayank Kumar, Ronnie Screwvala, Phalgun Kompalli, and Ravijot Chugh founded upGrad, a company that provides higher education courses in collaboration with various universities. It claims to have over 2 million students enrolled. The company helped raise INR 50 crore in debt from the IIFL Income Opportunities Fund in August of last year. In April of this year, the edtech company raised $40 million from IFC at a valuation of $850 million.

Is it possible for only startups to become unicorns?

Yes, as per the truth.

This is due to the fact that the term "unicorn" is only applied to startup companies with a valuation of more than $1 billion. Super unicorns or decacorns startups valued at $10 billion ? are the next in line. SpaceX, WeWork, and Dropbox are a few examples.

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CoinDCX-: CoinDCX, formed in 2018 by Sumit Gupta and Neeraj Khandelwal, raised $13.5 million in Series B funding in December 2020. It claims to have over 3.5 million users. It runs CoinDCX Go, a crypto investment app, CoinDCX Pro, a professional trading platform, and DCX Learn, a crypto-centric investor education platform, thus making it the first crypto unicorn in India with a $90 Mn (INR 670 Cr) Series C funding round, led by Facebook co-founder Eduardo Saverin?s B Capital Group as well as Coinbase Ventures, Polychain Capital, Block. One, Jump Capital, alongside and returning other unnamed investors.

In the modern world, the popularity of food getting easily accessible has steadily increased over time. This year another food delivery service was introduced as a Unicorn Company.

Grofers-: A publicly traded food tech company, acquired a 9.16 percent stake in Grofers India Private Limited for INR 518.2 crore, bringing the online grocery delivery company into the unicorn club.

Zomato also informed the BSE in a filing that it had completed the acquisition of Hands-on Trades Private Limited (HOTPL), a private company owned by Singapore-based Grofers International Pte Ltd that specializes in B2B wholesale trading. Zomato has paid INR 222.8 crore for a fully diluted 8.94 percent stake in Hands-on Trades. Zomato had to pay around INR 740 Cr ($100 Mn) in total for the deal.

As Gaming has taken a boost further in this pandemic. People were introduced to

Mobile Premier League-:

MPL, which was officially established in 2018 by Sai Srinivas Kiran G and Shubh Malhotra, provides a variety of gaming options ranging from skill-based games like daily fantasy sports and chess to casual games like 8 Ball Pool and Fruit Ninja. The Bengaluru-based gaming platform became the second Indian gaming startup to join the unicorn club. The esports behemoth raised a $150 million Series E round from Legatum Capital, Accrete Capital, and Gaingels LLC for a pre-money valuation of $2.3 billion. Existing investors such as Moore Strategic Ventures LLC and RTP Global also took part in the round.

This round comes months after it raised $95 million at a valuation of around $925 million.

Many startups have been unicorns due to investments from large (public) companies that focus on acquisitions to grow their business rather than investing in internal development, but the roadmap doesn't seem to be very easy as each of the companies has to face hardships.

Not to Forget the Challenges-:

Running a startup is not without its hardships.2020 was the year of pandemic, nearly every company from small to large scale in the world had been affected by COVID-19, but performance has varied widely. This year's 2021 recovery from Covid-19 has resulted in quick technological advancements and a dramatic transformation of digital experiences over several months. As organizations and lifestyles change swiftly, reliance on technology has increased, and radical alternatives have replaced traditional technology. Organizations no longer compete just based on products or services; instead, they compete based on seamless, personalized, connected, and intuitive experiences that are remembered", adds Vishal Agrawal, MD, Avaya India & SAARC.

The constant emphasis on the company's vision and the fight against these challenges are what elevates a startup to the status of unicorn over time. Although each unicorn startup is unique in terms of its concept and business model, there are some characteristics that are shared by all of them.Many startups have achieved the status of "unicorn" this year by entering a previously unknown or untargeted market. Being the pioneers in a particular industry has given them an advantage over the competition in ensuring consistent business growth. However, things are changing as startups that are not pioneers are also approaching or exceeding the unicorn threshold.