As the curtain closes on another exciting year, we at Inc42, like always, pause for a while to look back, contemplate, analyse, predict and come up with our series of year-end stories that would perfectly sum up the past year, offer near-perfect predictions for the next year (our predictive algorithm is top-notch), and progress reports. This article is a part of this endeavour.

Justin Bieber once famously said, “Now that I’m on top, everyone wants to bring me down. Everyone’s trying to tug at me and take my spot.” You don’t have to be a “Belieber” to realise that staying on the top can be tough. You sacrifice precious blood, sweat and tears to reach the pinnacle but, it takes much more than that to sustain your position. There’s competition around every corner, eyeing your coveted position. Last year, we came up with our list of the top 15 startup picks of 2014. These startups proved their mettle last year and therefore claimed the top positions.

This year, we revisit these startups to understand if these startups kicked ass this year or fell flat on their asses. This article is a progress report of the top 15 startups that proved their mettle in 2014 – let’s see how they performed in 2015.

AdPushupadpushup

AdPushup optimises ads allowing publishers & bloggers to make more money from their existing website traffic without the need for any coding skills. It helps websites overcome banner blindness and monetize impressions lost to ad blocking software.

Founded: 2013

Current Stage: Operational

Funding: $632k in Angel funding in October 2014

Increase in Revenue in the past one year: According to Ankit Oberoi, co-founder of AdPushup, “The company has started monetization and had great success – we’ll share a blog post on this soon.”

Current team strength vs. last year’s: Team strength has doubled.

Founders: Atul Agarwal, Ankit Oberoi

TripotoTripoto

Rejoice to all befuddled travellers who are burdened by the choice of places to visit. There has been an increase in people’s desire to unravel something new, to travel to offbeat places and they are no longer mollified by the same-old-vanilla ‘Agra tours’ or ‘Golden Triangle tours’. Tripoto brings together travellers from around the world to share and discover travel stories. It has quite a hefty list of itineraries from all over the world. Next time, before making a trip, do check what’s worth to see and what’s not.

Founders: Anirudh Gupta, Michael Lyngdoh

Founded: 2013

Funding: Raised $400k in November 2014 led by Outbox ventures, with Palaash Ventures and Angel investors including Kunal Bahl and Rohit Bansal of Snapdeal, Nikunj Jain of Frankly.me and others. This year it raised two rounds  – Pre Series A in March (undisclosed) led by IDG Ventures India and existing investors Outbox Ventures and Series A in October (undisclosed) led by IDG Ventures & 500 Startups.

Current Stage: Operational

Increase in Revenue in the past one year: The company declined to comment on its revenue.

Growth in terms of clients/users acquired since 2014: “30+ new brands have advertised on our platform in 2015. These include resorts, hotel chains and tourism boards. We also have tied up with the leading hotel providers and OTA in 2015 and look forward to building upon these partnerships in 2016,” said Anirudh.

The company’s userbase has grown more than 5x in the last 1 year from 400,000 to close to 2 Mn.

Current team strength vs. last year’s: From 15 in 2014 to 30 in 2015.

Instamojoinstamojo

It is evident that B2C ecommerce is on its rise and will keep on rising. However, C2C ecommerce has not seen that much growth. Instamojo is about to bring a revolution in this segment. It empowers creator of all kinds to sell their creations across social platforms. After an item is sold they take care of hosting, bandwidth, payment process and more. It is as easy as counting 1,2,3 as it requires no coding, no setup, no maintenance.

Instamojo launched a new feature called Instapay, this May, which allows merchants receive money from users via simple usernames.

It also launched two new features this year for simplifying payment options. It’s new features – ‘Request A Payment’ and ‘Bulk Requests’ helps people and businesses to collect money with ease, without going through the hassles of sharing bank account details.

Founders: Sampad Swain, Harshad Sharma, Akash Gehani,

Founded: 2012

Funding: Undisclosed amount in angel funding from Rajan Anandan & Sunil Kalra in July 2012. $500k in seed round from Blume Ventures, 500 Startups and others in May 2013. Raised a $3 Mn Series A round led by Kalaari Capital, with existing investors participating in it as well.

Current Stage: Operational

Increase in Revenue in the past one year: Y-o-Y revenue growth has been at 14X – 1400%.​

Growth in terms of clients & users acquired since 2014: Y-o-Y user growth has been at 700% – 7X.​

Current team strength vs. last year’s: From 15 in 2014 to 45 in 2015.

Fin/ Now Neyya

After smart glasses and smart watches, smart rings have entered into wearable technology. They will sit inconspicuously on your finger and will let you feel like a magician. One such ring is Fin, now called Neyya. It is a tiny hardware product that you can wear on your thumb as a ring and it will make your whole palm as a gesture interface. It can uniquely recognize each segments of the fingers and can convert your palm into a numeric keypad. It is a Bluetooth enabled device that can be connected to three different digital world gadgets like Smartphones, Smart TVs, Automobiles, and Home automation devices providing multiple device compatibility. It uses Bluetooth for Communication with connected devices.

Neyya was finally launched in November this year after a long delay and partial pivot in terms of  design and functionality.

Founded In: 2012

Founders: Rohildev N

Funding: Angel funded by Dr. Ritesh Malik of Guerrilla Ventures, Raised $200k in Product Crowdfunding in March 2014 & raised undisclosed amount in Series A round from Kalaari. This year, it raised an undisclosed amount from Keyur Patel, MD of US-based Fuse Capital Inc.

Current Stage: Operational

Increase in Revenue in the past one year: NA

Growth in terms of clients & users acquired since 2014: NA

Current team strength vs. last year’s: It has a team of over 15 employees.

LetsVenture

Every startup no matter how flourishing or bootstrapped requires funding to keep doing the same. To achieve this Letsventure enable startups looking to raise see/angel money to create investment ready profiles online and connect to accredited investors. Not only this, the platform allows startups to get their business plans reviewed by experts and connect to mentors as well. They take care of closure of termsheet & shareholders agreement, and complete legal & financial process.

Founded In: 2013

Founders: Shanti Mohan, Sanjay Jha. One of the founders, Manish Singhal, left the company in September 2014.

Current Stage: Operational

Funding:  Raised $650K (INR 4 Cr.) in May 2014 from Accel Partners, Eka Software cofounder Manav Garg, InMobi cofounder Naveen Tewari , angel investor Rajan Anandan and Sharad Sharma, cofounder iSpirt among others. In October 2015, it raised  Series A funding led by Accel Partners, co-led by Anupam Mittal. Marque Investors like Nanadan Nilekani, Rishad Premji, Kunal Bahl & Rohit Bansal and others also participated in the round.

Increase in Revenue in the past one year: NA

Growth in terms of clients acquired since 2014: Investors – 107% growth, Startups – 187% growth and Deals – 124% growth

Current team strength vs. last year’s: From 12 team members in 2014 to 30  in 2015

Haptik haptik

Haptik is a  smartphone application that allows users to communicate with company experts over messaging. It acts like a WhatsApp for customer support to put an end to automated customer support machines where users can chat with experts and get help with customer support issues, FAQs and information. Users just need to send out a text and the specific company representative will get in touch with you within 1 to 4 minutes.

This year, the company launched the reminder and wake-up call feature. In February this year, it partnered with  Pune-based tablet and phablet maker, Swipe Technologies to provide on the go support to its perceptive customers.

Last month, the company partnered with Ola. With this partnership, users will be able to book Ola cabs through instant messaging on the Haptik mobile app.

Founded In: 2013

Founders: Aakrit Vaish, Swapan Rajdev

Funding: $1 Mn from Kalari Capital in seed round

Increase in Revenue in the past one year: NA

Growth in terms of clients acquired since 2014: It has 500,000 users across 102 cities

Current team strength vs. last year’s: NA

HackerEarthhacker

The hunt for talent has taken a turn to India. It’s no longer about Silicon Valley, India has multinationals and a booming startup ecosystem which require engineers(read: programmers). HackerEarth is looking to make the process of fathoming a person’s talent easier by programming challenges. They either design ‘challenges’ on their own based on skills like front-end development or hire someone to design them. The whole process is to create a profile, enter into a challenge, get an offer and get hired. It filters out best from the rest.

In  January this year, the company launched HackerEarth Sprint, a tool that allows organisers conduct hackathons easily by minimizing the effort and time required. Aadhar Hackathon conducted by HackerEarth, in association with NASSCOM, on January 10 -11, 2015 became the first event to be hosted on this platform.

Industry: Software

City: Bangalore

Current Stage: Operational

Funding: Till date, the company has raised $620K in funding – $500k from Angelprime and GSF SuperAngels in a seed round and $120K in an accelerator round. Both the rounds were raised in 2014.

Increase in Revenue in the past one year: The company’s revenue has grown 10 times.

Growth in terms of clients acquired since 2014: From 20 large enterprise customers in 2014, the company has acquired over 100 customers in 2015. “The total number of recruiters who signed up on HackerEarth have gone from 1000 to more than 2500,” said Sachin.

Current team strength vs. last year’s: From 25 team members in 2014 to 70 in 2015

Founders: Sachin Gupta, Vivek Prakash

Founded In: 2012

KartRocket kartrocket

Ecommerce has turned taller than Burj Khalifa, metaphorically. After giving cutthroat competition to brick & mortar shops, these offline sellers have found a boon. SMEs can now open their own ecommerce website and to do so Kartrocket works for them. It is a provider of DIY ecommerce platform. Kartrocket provides storefront designs, domestic as well as international payment options integrated with logistics. It helps these SMEs sell across mobile and web devices. The platform is already integrated with eBay, Amazon and Snapdeal to allow multi-channel sales.

Industry: SaaS

City: New Delhi

Current Stage: Operational

Funding: Undisclosed amount in Angel funding on 23 July 2013 from 5ideas and 500 Startups, $2 Mn in Series A Round on 21 October 2014 from Nirvana Venture Advisors, 500 Startups and others. No news rounds this year.

Increase in Revenue in the past one year: The revenue is grown six times.

Growth in terms of clients acquired since 2014: The number of clients has doubled.

Current team strength vs. last year’s: From 50 team members in 2014 to 130 members in 2015.

Founders: Sahil Goel, Gautam Kapoor – the management is intact.

Founded In: 2012

Akosha/ Now Helpchat helpchat

There were days when customers were left unheard in case of a complaint lodged by them. Times Change! Consumer awareness helped them redeem their status in the market which led to formation of Consumer Forum. Akosha is a consumer awareness and complaints website which helps customer in resolving their problems with companies. ‘Akosha’ means to unravel things. The website claims to assist consumers in approaching the District Consumer Forums. Akosha has successfully passed the ‘baton of power’ in the hands of consumer.

In July this year, Akosha was rebranded to Helpchat – a chat-based personal assistant platform. In October, it fired over 150 employees – largely (over 70%) contractual employees and consultants in brand management, who work from home on monthly-payment basis – as part of this business transformation.

It acquired a hyperlocal delivery platform, Niffler in September 2015.

Founder: Ankur Singla

Founded In: 2010

Funding: INR 1 Cr. from Sequoia in seed round in 2011 and $5 Mn from Sequoia in Series A in 2014. ​It also secured funding of INR 100 Cr. in Series B from Sequoia Capital in May 2015.

Current Stage: Operational

Increase in Revenue in the past one year: Not disclosed. 

Growth in terms of clients acquired since 2014: Grew from 350K downloads to 1 million+ downloads on Android. Also launched an IOS app. From facilitating about 30,000 request sessions per day, Helpchat now manages over 80,000 requests per day, within 6 months of its launch.

Helpchat has also integrated with Brands like OLA, Uber, Cleartrip, ecommerce brands, Food brands like Mast kalandar, Brekkie, Freshmenu etc & household services companies using an API approach. We have 57 brands integrated with Helpchat using API.

Current team strength vs. last year’s: From 350 team members during Helpchat’s launch in July 2015 to 600 members currently.

EmbibeEmbibe

Internet Of Things finally engrained e-learning. With ease of access and available information all over the internet focused e-learning is important. Embibe.com provides with resources for preparation on engineering exams. It has a strong data platform and boasts of 100k students on board. It is move against brick and mortar players which are traditional money grossers in the engineering coaching sector, charging from INR50,000 to a lakh rupees annually. The database is exam-centric as it provides ways to boost speed, accuracy and time management, helping students perform to their potential.

Embibe.com has acquired 100Marks, a student guidance platforms for JEE Main, Advanced and Medical, in a cash plus stock deal in March 2015.

Founders: Aditi Avasthi

Founded: 2012

Funding: $4 Mn from Kalaari Capital & Lightbox

Current Stage: Operational

Increase in Revenue in the past one year: NA

Growth in terms of clients/users acquired since 2014: Its user base, as of June 2015 was 200,000 plus students and as of March this year, it had 700,000 unique visitors to its website. From the time it was incorporated, its user base has grown by five times.

Current team strength vs. last year’s: The company has invested in a full time content team (of about 20 people), which includes academicians and senior faculty, given the need to fully calibrate what the student is gaining. Its total team size is around 52.

WishberryWishberry

Turning your idea into reality has its own caveats. Wishberry also called as Kickstarter of India is one such platform which lets you pitch your ideas to friends, family and everyone else. Anyone who believes in your idea can contribute small amounts of money in exchange for being a part of your dream. The platform follows a rigorous curation process before approving a project. Once the project is approved, next step is to create a campaign page on its site and SWOOSH you are ready for crowdfunding.

This year, the company introduced a better technology for creators and backers, with features that can let them interact with each other. It also introduced data sciences to improve funding behavior on its platform and increase repeat funding rate.  

Founders: Anshulika Dubey,Priyanka Agarwal

Founded In: 2012

Funding: INR 4 Cr. from Rajan Anandan, Sharad Sharma, Navyug Mohnot, Deepak Goel, Dinesh Agarwal, Sunil Kalra and others.

Current Stage: Operational

Increase in Revenue in the past one year:Wishberry raised a total of INR 3 Cr during Jan -Nov 2015 in creative projects across films, music, theatre etc. (These are not revenues, these are amount raised on Wishberry for creative projects). Revenue numbers are confidential, but we charge 10% of the total amount raised, so you can make a guesstimate,” said Anshulika. The revenue amount comes to INR 300,000

The company doubled this growth from last year, when total amount raised was INR 1 Cr.  

Growth in terms of clients acquired since 2014: It has raised INR 6.6 Cr for about 250 creative projects from 11,674 backers across 60 countries.

Current team strength vs. last year’s: Wishberry has grown from 4 people (including 2 founders) in 2014 to 11 people in 2015.

Newsinshorts /Now Inshortsinshorts

The adage ‘Time Is Money’ fits perfectly in today’s world. With all this hustle-bustle around, people have to prioritize what’s important. There were times when people used to sit hours reading newspaper or listening news on radio/TV. The media industry is biased towards those who have the patience and time to read the lengthy news articles. ‘News In Shorts’ comes with the promise of delivering news articles in less than 60 words skimming straight to the facts and not one’s opinion. Time is Money, only difference is We Own It, spend wisely.

News in Shorts was rebranded to “Inshorts” in August 2015 . Post the rebranding, the app will evolve from being a news aggregator to a content discovery platform. It also launched Insiders – an exclusive community for the ‘power users’ of the application. Members of Insiders will get a first-hand experience of all new features that Inshorts will develop in the future.

In November 2015, it moved into the vernacular mobile market by launching a Hindi interface. Based on its success, Inshorts plans to expand in other regional languages including Marathi, Kannada and Tamil by the mid of 2016.

Founders: Azhar Iqubal, Deepit Purkayastha, Anunay Pandey

Founded In: 2013

Funding: Seed funding from Gaurav Bhatnagar, Ankush Nijhawan and Manish Dhingra, Times Internet and Flipkart cofounders Sachin Bansal & Binny Bansal. This year in July, it raised $20 Mn (INR 127 Cr.) Series B from existing investor Tiger Global Management. With this new round of funding the startup will focus on enhancing the user experience of the product. The new round values company at around  $90-100 Mn. In February this year, it raised $4 Mn INR 25 Cr. in Series A funding round led by Tiger Global, with its existing investors i.e. Sachin Bansal and Binny Bansal also participating. The round also saw participation of Japan’s Rebright Partners.

Current Stage: Operational

Increase in Revenue in the past one year:Currently we don’t generate any revenue from Inshorts. Our primary focus is to build an awesome product which people love. At our core we are a technology company which believes that if we build a product which people love, monetisation won’t be a major challenge,” said Amritanshu Anand of Inshorts in a Quora post. Amritanshu was the cofounder of Retention.ai – a data analytics startup acquired by Inshorts in October 2015.

Growth in terms of clients acquired since 2014: Garnered 3 Mn app downloads till November 2015  and had planned to reach 5 Mn app downloads by April 2016.

Current team strength vs. last year’s: The company had planned to hire over 100 content writers by end of this year. It had a 30-member team as of July 2015.

ScoopWhoopscoopwhoop

Ever heard of Cracked.com? yes, then you might be knowing there were certain things which you could not relate to. To remove this discrepancy, Scoopwhoop gives you humor content injected with a strong dose of Indian Flavour. The website takes pride in its ability to create viral content out of India situations and the country’s way of life as we have a large number of netizens fiddling with their internet connected devices. Scoopwhoop has created a huge amount of buzz in just 16 months of being operational and is known for it’s Buzzfeed style of content which includes listicles, pet pictures and goofy life hacks. Your one stop shop to laugh your ass off.

It launched its sister publications Gazabpost.com (Hindi portal), Vagabomb.com (women’s portal) and its  Videos division – ScoopWhoop Talkies. It also launched its first web series titled ‘Baked’ and have tripled its growth in terms of MAUs and social engagements since last year.

Founders: Rishi Mukherjee, Sattvik Mishra.

Founded In: 2013

Funding: It raised $ 1.5 Mn from Ignite World (formerly Bharti Soft Bank) in September 2014 and recently closed $ 4 Mn in Series B from Kalaari Capital in October 2015.

Current Stage: Operational

Increase in Revenue in the past one year: The company started focusing on revenue from Q3 of 2014. “This year, our revenues have been really healthy. We will be closing FY 2015-16 at about INR 12 Cr,” said Rishi.

Growth in terms of clients acquired since 2014: There has been a 100% increase in clients since 2014. It has worked with more than a 100 brands this year

Current team strength vs. last year’s: From 20 team members in 2014 to a current strength of 100. .

GrownOutgrownout

Grownout is  a referral hiring solution that enables companies to leverage their employees’ professional network. It has a vision of solving the hiring requirements of the industry using the latest available technologies. It utilises well researched techniques of referral hiring to make candidate sourcing easier and more efficient. It manages the whole process from finding the best match to completing the hiring cycle to monitoring applicant’s status.

The company launched its referral premium product this year. It also expanded its product offerings with GrownOut XS launch – a product for startups and recruitment firms to solve their sourcing problem.Launched GrownOut Data Insight Lab and started sales operations in two cities – Delhi NCR & Bangalore.

Founders: Sumit Gupta, Harsimran Walia

Founded In: 2013

Funding: Undisclosed amount in its first institutional round from Matrix Partners India and before that it had raised undisclosed sum in funding from Outbox Ventures

Current Stage: Operational

Increase in Revenue in the past one year:We have released premium version of the product in September this year only. We have invested much of our energy experimenting and testing the waters. Now, our product offerings can serve various industry verticals with even a broader spectrum of professional skills. We have not made our revenue figures public yet,” said Sumit.

Growth in terms of clients acquired since 2014:Since our premium product launch, we have many enterprise brands like Evalueserve, India Bulls and Iris using our product. Over 100+ users/recruiters are on GrownOut platform,” said Sumit.

Current team strength vs. last year’s: It currently has a team of over 20 people.

Touchtalenttouchtalent

Touchtalent is a web based global community that allows users to display, share, appreciate and monetize their creations. It is created to promote the interest of creative groups. The site has features focusing on copyright, sharing, etc. which were designed keeping the interest of creators in mind. It has mobile app as well with over 1Mn downloads which displays the content in a fluid, dynamic and eye-pleasing manner. The website claims that users from more than 192 countries visit Touchtalent everyday to express themselves creatively.

The founders of Touchtalent have moved on to a new venture called BobbleApp.

Founders: Ankit Prasad, Mohd. Wassem

Founded In: 2012

Funding: $700k from Saif Partners, Deep Kalra, Sachin and Binny Bansal with few others.

Touchtalent is a web based global community that allows users to display, share, appreciate and monetize their creations. It is created to promote the interest of creative groups. The site has features focusing on copyright, sharing, etc. which were designed keeping the interest of creators in mind. It has mobile app as well with over 1Mn downloads which displays the content in a fluid, dynamic and eye-pleasing manner. The website claims that users from more than 192 countries visit Touchtalent everyday to express themselves creatively.

Touchtalent has been shutdown and the founders have moved on to a new venture called BobbleApp.

top-picks (1)

Stay tuned for more such progress reports in the coming days.


infocus-badgeThis is part of our special series, In Focus: 2015 In Review, wherein, we look back, contemplate, analyse, predict and come up with our series of year-end stories that would perfectly sum up the past year and offer near-perfect predictions for the next year. Stay tuned for more.