The Startup India programme is undoubtedly one of the biggest success stories of the Indian government in the last five years. As reiterated by Prime Minister Narendra Modi on several occasions, the Indian startup ecosystem is the third largest ecosystem in the world. All thanks to the increase in ease of doing business, government incentives and a desire to push for $5 Tn GDP by 2024. And the government is banking heavily on startups as it keeps watch on the tech economy.
The department for the promotion of industry and internal trade (DPIIT), which comes under the ministry of industry and commerce, has recognised over 27,916 startups, as of February 1, 2020. With such impressive innovations to choose from, even investors are aggressively trying to grab on the opportunities to invest in India and its impressive catalogue of new-age startups. But as the ecosystem expands, we are seeing startups emerging thick and fast from all nooks and corners of the country. Our goal is to bring the relatively unknown startups to the fore and highlight exactly how vast the ecosystem is.
As per DataLabs by Inc42, Indian startups raised over $11 Bn in 2019 (as of November 30, 2019), across 736 deals. Whereas in 2018, the startups had raised $9.57 Bn across 717 deals. Some of the biggest investments from last year included Paytm with $1 Bn Series G round, Ola’s $597 Mn Series J round and Delhivery’s $528 Mn in Series F funding round.
But who hasn’t heard about the big players ruling the Indian startup ecosystem? Our aim is to shine the light on early-stage startups that may have flown under the radar so far. These startups were founded in or after 2018, so they are very new when compared to some of the bigger names in the ecosystem. Most of these startups have not raised more than $5 Mn in the last six months either.
These are startups that came across our desk as part of incubators and accelerator cohorts recently, as well as those who have received early-stage funding from angel networks and VCs as well. Here’s a look at the first batch of our 30 Startups To Watch, and stay tuned for a new list every month.
30 Startups To Watch: February 2020
The list below includes startups across sectors and geographies. Overall, we found that fintech startups are coming up faster than the other sectors with seven entries, but edtech startups were close in second spot in this list with six startups coming up in our radar.
Editor’s Note: The below list is not meant to be a ranking of any kind. We have listed the startups in alphabetical order.
Mumbai-based Aadar is an ayurvedic wellness and lifestyle consumer brand that develops products for common chronic ailments and other lifestyle disease segments. Aadar’s product line includes herb-based products for ailments like protein deficiencies, blood sugar, indigestion, cholesterol, and obesity, among others.
Bijak is a B2B agritech trade platform that allows traders, wholesalers and food processors to keep a track of transactions, access pricing and logistics, and improve working capital cycles. The company was founded in 2019 by Daya Rai, Jitender Bedwal, Mahesh Jakhotia, Nukul Upadhye and Nikhil Tripathi. The company aims to tackle the lack of accountability in the agritech sector, especially when it comes to procuring goods. Bijak has also been a part of Sequoia India’s accelerator programme Surge.
Crysta is an end-to-end pregnancy and fertility platform that offers several diagnostic and screening services, along with regular counselling and clinical data management. The company plans to gradually scale its operations to include all aspects of mother and child health care. Crysta is a part of Delhi-based Redcliffe Life Sciences. The company recently raised $1.4 Mn for market research and enhancing its tech capabilities.
Expertrons is an AI video-powered platform that offers tips and mentorship on cracking interviews. The platform captures the interview experience of experts and professionals in a 30 to 40-minute video format. The company claims to have 10K minutes worth of content. The platform also assures that the mentorships are available 24×7 for queries, the user just has to pay for one-on-one paid consultation with mentors, who have cracked expansion for Fortune 500 companies and eminent institutes in India. The company us founded by Jatin Solanki and Vivek Gupta.
Founded in 2018 by Shruthi Nithin, Floap is a consumer services platform for pet owners that allows users to book several services for pets ranging from veterinarians, dog walkers, groomers, pet sitters and many more. This month, Floap has decided to expand its operation to pan India.
GetVantage is a smart alternative funding platform built for entrepreneurs to raise growth capital without diluting ownership, and for investors to invest more sustainably. The company relies on a proprietary machine-learning based credit decision engine and an all-cloud deal management system (DMS). The company recently raised seed funding from Samyakth Capital and Venture Catalysts.
Founded in 2018 by Sarwesh Raunak, Rohit Kumar Oli, and Prajjwal Deepraj, Gigacure is a healthtech startup that provides predictive healthcare analytics through smart IoT wearables. With its business model, the startup aims to bring revolution in the healthcare industry by integrating IoT wearables and predictive analytics to detect and prevent any life-threatening complications. Recently, the startup was shortlisted at TiECon Kolkata to present their ideas to angel investors and venture capitalists.
Founded in 2019 by Sarang Bora, Mumbai-based GoFloat specialises in developing, producing and selling smart floatation and other trackable water safety devices. It manufacturers maritime life-saving products such as GoFloat belt and Pouches. The company recently raised INR 3.5 Cr at Jain International Trade Organisation (JITO) Angel Network’s ‘Shark Tank’ event.
GroMo is a lending platform that offers loans to individuals and businesses — home, education, business, personal and education among other loans. The company is also looking to get into insurance and other financial products as well. It offers its services to underserved and unpenetrated Tier 2 cities and beyond. Till now, the company has raised $576.7K from Ramakant Sharma, cofounder, Livspace and Utsav Somani of AngelList India.
Harappa is an edtech startup that enables professionals to learn life skills at scale, leveraging digital learning technologies and online pedagogical tools. The Delhi-based company was founded by Pramath Sinha and Shreyasi Singh in 2018. The company was James Murdoch-led Lupa Systems’s first investment in India.
Instoried is an artificial intelligence-powered startup that provides end-to-end solutions to content marketers. It allows users to target particular emotions after identifying the emotional quotient in the brand’s content. The app provides tailor-made recommendations of words and phrases for the target audience. The Bengaluru-based company recently raised $500K seed funding from Venture Catalysts.
Neobank Juno is a mobile payment platform that relies on Ethereum blockchain and Nuo protocol, bringing the platform under decentralised banking segment. With this technology, the platform aims to decentralise lending and borrowing of digital assets. Moreover, the company is looking to create high yielding accounts for its customers, which will allow them to grow their savings by 5.5% annually. The company bagged $3 Mn in seed-stage funding round led by Polychain Capital and Sequoia Capital India’s accelerator programme Surge.
Kaarva is a young workers credit platform that offers allows customers to access a part of their salary on any day of the month, based on their requirement. The workers can borrow against the unearned income for the days worked in the month so far. Kaarva then gets the repayment through a deduction or funds transfer from the customer. Khushboo Maheshwari and Agam Goyal launched Kaarva in October 2018.
Founded in August 2019 by Anurakt Jain and Ishita Verma, Klub is a fintech startup that provides growth capital to new-age brands across F&B, direct-to-consumer brands in fashion, lifestyle, and FMCG, and consumer internet brands. Klub was also a part of Sequoia’s accelerator programme, Surge.
Noida-based edtech startup Konfinity is an artificial intelligence (AI) powered platform that offers six-month-long courses in software programming, web development, data science and UI/UX. The company has partnered with over 12 colleges, serving over 2K students. Besides training, Konfinity also prepares students to get placed in a next-generation tech company, without any upfront cost. The company currently offers courses in. The company is now looking to add animation, graphics, IoT and DevOps and other courses to its list.
Mera Cashier is a cloud-based mobile app that allows small and medium enterprises keep records of their credit transactions. It also has other transaction features like adding and managing customers and tracking per-customer transactions. The Noida-based startup also sends push notifications and SMSes to remind users of daily payments and other functions. The platform was founded by Suneel Kumar, Sucharita Reddy, Gaurav Tomar and Akhilesh Nigam in 2019.
Health and wellness platform misters.in provides knowledge resources for men’s sexual health and wellness, and offers products that are delivered at users’ doorstep. Moreover, the platform claims to help men improve their sexual health and wellness through interactive quizzes. The company has been planning to expand across India and offer Hindi and English interface.
Founded in 2019 by Abhishek Bhayana and IIT Roorkee alumnus Himanshu Garg, Noida-based NearPe is a fintech startup that allows customers to pay for digital services at their nearest store. The platform works like a regular payment gateway, with a focus on customers that are sceptical about going digital.
New Delhi-based personal care brand Power Gummies is a vegetarian and gluten-free chewable dietary supplement brand that helps to enhance hair and nail growth. The company was founded in 2018 by Divij Bajaj. In its second fundraising, Power Gummies got investment from DSG Consumer Partners. Previously, the company had raised $100K from Dhianu Das’ Alfa Ventures.
Founded in 2019 by Prakash Kumar and Saksham Keshri, Rheo TV is a game streaming platform that allows users to make gaming into a professional career option in India. The platform is working towards building an entertainment ecosystem around gaming, which will allow it to drive engagement and monetisation professional gaming. The platform was also shortlisted in Sequoia India’s accelerator programme Surge.
Sabse Sasta Dukaan is a Kolkata-based online pharmacy that operates via relationship centres (RC) run by microentrepreneurs in semi-urban areas. The company delivers medicines, over the counter (OTC) drugs and other healthcare products. The company was founded in 2018 by Anant Jain and Anish Agarwal. Recently, the company raised INR 3.5 Cr from various early-stage investors at JITO Angel Network’s Shark Tank.
Seekify is a customer experience automation platform that can be easily integrated into many business customer experience software and aggregates all the data required. The company relies on its artificial intelligence and machine learning engines for the same. The platform is founded by Arihant Jain and Ajeet Kushwaha, who were also the founding team of HealthKart. The duo has also been involved in the launch of 1mg and chatbot Joe Hukum in 2015. Seekify has also been a part of Sequoia India’s accelerator programme Surge.
SmartKarrot is a Texas and Bengaluru-based software-as-a-service (SaaS) startup that allows businesses to capture real-time digital behaviour of customers across various other online platforms. The company has its presence in the US, Singapore and Canada. With its recent $1 Mn funding, SmartKarrot is planning to expand its research, development and market acquisition operations in India.
Sprinng Foods is a health food brand that offers a range of gluten-free, vegan and lactose-free baked goods in India. The company has a proprietary mix of ingredients, which is specially produced in Ireland and adhere to the UK and European FDA standards. The company imports the recipes to India and then, produces its own recipes. The company has 13 stock-keeping units (SKUs) being supplied to over 70 stores in Mumbai and Pune.
Founded by Shubham Sinha and Suruchi Gagan, Technixia is an internet-of-things (IoT)-based automation service for hospitality, commercial space, and other operational buildings. The Kolkata-based company claims that its services are completely wireless and are cost-effective than normal IoT-based automation services. It also offers its services in India, Nepal and Singapore. The company was incubated in IIM Calcutta Innovation Park (IIMCIP) and had also participated in NASSCOM Startup Hub.
With fantasy gaming gaining users’ heart, Vimobin Labs is working on enabling high-tech graphically-intensive games through the cloud on Android devices. The platform allows users to select games on the cloud gaming platform and sends a request to the server, then the server allows the user to play the game without having to download the full game to their device.
Bringing technology to kids, WizKlub offers a Higher Order Thinking Skills (HOTS) and SmartTech programmes to develop cognitive skills in children aged 5-15 years. Its programme allows children to above six years of age to create tech products based on coding, robotics, smart devices and artificial intelligence. The company has over 150 centres in Bengaluru.
YOLO is an intercity luxury bus service provider that can be booked using its mobile-app and a few online travel agencies (OTA) such as Redbus, Paytm and MakeMyTrip. The company has a fleet of 20 buses and has covered more than 800,000 km with more than 50,000 riders. Recently, YOLO raised $600K seed funding by an undisclosed VC firm and a couple of angel investors. The funding will be utilised for territory expansion, technology and marketing strategies.
Yogya’s AI-powered edtech platform is focussed towards skill development and talent capability enhancement. The platform is basically an assistant that identifies the skill gaps in their organisations and empower them to close gaps faster powered by AI. As far as the employees are concerned, Yogya is a real-time performance support system that claims to make them more productive and future-ready. The platform was founded in 2019 by Agam and Sugam Malviya. The platform was selected for the third cohort of CoWrks Foundry.
Incubated at Internet & Mobile Association of India (IAMAI) Mobile 10x Gurgaon Hub, Zimyo offers HR and payroll solutions to startups and small and medium businesses (SMBs). The platform was founded by Kumar Mayank and Ajay Kadyan in 2018. The company has over 150 clients across India for which it manages HR and payrolls for 32K employees. Recently, it raised funding from Yatra Angel Network and other angel investors.