Inc42 and Trell came together to kickstart the FAST42 initiative — with support from Simpl and Wigzo — and the response was simply phenomenal
We received nominations from 1,000+ D2C brands, conducted 300+ interviews and listened to dozens of pitches to identify 42 startups that have cracked the D2C formula across Growth and Emerging categories
Here’s Inc42’s inaugural list of the 42 D2C startups recognised with as “India’s Fastest Growing D2C Brands”
Over the past 2-3 years, there has been a visible change in what and how Indians consume goods and products in their daily lives. The likes of Godrej, ITC, Hindustan Unilever, Lakme, Nestle, Britannia, Parle and others have given way to D2C brands, startups and private labels. And retail and kirana aisles are now being replaced by digital shelves on apps like Dunzo, Nykaa, Purplle, Blinkit, Swiggy, BigBasket, Zepto and the larger marketplaces — Amazon India and Flipkart.
While we always knew that D2C brands and startups will have a role to play in the Indian economy, the sheer scale of India’s D2C landscape became apparent to us with the amazing reception for our inaugural The D2C Summit as well as our reports and Playbooks over the past two years. And last year, the D2C segment attracted more than $1.4 Bn across 160+ funding deals to vindicate our belief that D2C is the future.
And we took things to the next level to prove the D2C hype. In October last year, along with Trell, we announced FAST42, our initiative to identify and recognise India’s Fastest-Growing D2C Brands. And now after four months of extensive groundwork, research, vetting and talking to D2C startup founders and pitches, the list is out!
The Journey To FAST42
As the D2C model and digital-first brands become more entrenched in the Indian market, not only is this the right time to create a definitive list of the top D2C brands, but it’s also the right moment to identify the startups that have made the most of this initial momentum. Inc42 and Trell came together to kickstart this initiative — with support from Simpl and Wigzo — and the response has been phenomenal.
Not only did we invite applications from the D2C startup ecosystem, but also set off on a quest to identify the brightest brands ourselves. Having spoken to our network of startup ecosystem stakeholders, it was clear to us that we would have to spend months shortlisting the 42 finalists.
We looked into 1,000+ D2C brands, conducted 300+ interviews and listened to dozens of business pitches to identify 42 D2C brands that have cracked the D2C formula — 28 in the Growth category and 14 in the Emerging category. Inc42’s years of editorial experience and authority was backed by a jury of D2C leaders and together we picked the startups and brands that we believe are head and shoulders above the competition.
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The FAST42 Startups
Our list includes names such as TagZ Foods, Boingg, The Sleep Company, Pilgrim in the Emerging category, while startups such as Melorra, Juicy Chemistry, Kapiva, PeeSafe, Clensta and others were picked in the Growth category. The inaugural FAST42 list features a vibrant mix of D2C startups across categories such as healthcare & wellness, beauty, apparel, furniture, electronics and IoT, snacks and beverages and niche product categories that are disrupting the status quo.View The 2022 List
How We Selected The FAST42 Brands
Having spent months combing through spreadsheets and responses, we can confidently claim that this is a definitive list of the D2C startups that have not only carved a niche for themselves but also cracked the D2C model and a sustainable revenue stream. For both the Growth and Emerging categories, our jury kept a close eye on how the native online stores and apps of brands were performing among all sales channels.
The two lists i.e. Growth and Emerging have had a separate selection criteria.
FAST42 Growth Category
The growth category brands were selected based primarily on data i.e. only the D2C brands who have successfully demonstrated significant traction and growth. We ranked these brands on the basis of the fastest revenue growth rates between 2019 and 2021.
- For the final ranking, brands were ranked on the basis of a growth score – consisting of the average three-year growth in revenue (FY19-FY21) and the number of operating years for the business.
- The weightage of the two parameters was 75% & 25% respectively.
FAST42 Emerging Category
Only those brands that were founded after or in April 2019 and with at least INR 50 Lakh in revenue in any financial year after incorporation were selected for the emerging category. The average scoring from the jury was considered for formulating the final ranking of the D2C brands for the Emerging category.
The FAST42 jury consisted of A91 Partners’ Prasun Agarwal, Trell cofounder Bimal Kartheek Rebba,, Huddle founding partner Sanil Sachar, Sixth Sense Ventures founder Nikhil Vora and the Verlinvest’s Ventures’ India lead Arjun Vaidya.
These brands were finalised keeping the following factors in mind:
- Addressable Opportunity: We also paid close attention to the addressable opportunity for each of these brands in the Indian market, and in cases where the brands have ventured abroad, we looked at their global competition too.
- Disrupting Categories: Through the FAST42 shortlisting process, we were able to draw insights into how the segment is evolving — beauty and wellness was the most popular category among participating startups, and a whopping 95% of all brands told us that the pandemic has accelerated their growth.
- Gender Diversity: Unlike the overall startup ecosystem, the D2C ecosystem has a very good mix of women-led brands. While finalising the list, we were able to identify brands that are already disrupting categories and are also run by women founders.
And through this months-long process and filtering, we narrowed down our list and arrived at the final list. So, without further ado, here’s our FAST42 list of the 42 hottest D2C brands in India.