For unicorn hunters in India — in the context of startups, of course — things have been going well this year. People who have been tracking the rise of these companies with a billion-dollar-plus valuation in India will tell you that 2018 and this year so far have been a great time for growth stage companies looking to reach unicorn status.
Startups valued over $1Bn are termed as unicorns. India is home to 31 Unicorns today, with consumer service startups leading the charts.
According to Inc42 DataLabs, 2018 was a bumper year for Indian startups which saw the creation of 10 unicorns, the first time the ecosystem crossed the double-digit mark in a financial year. It was a great achievement considering the previous best year (2014) delivered just four unicorns.
The Startup Unicorn Landscape In India
This calendar year seems to be on track to beat 2018’s record-breaking tally. Since the start of 2019, seven startups have reached unicorn status already to take the total to 31 unicorns in India. Here’s a sector-wise look at the unicorns.
1. Consumer Services
Consumer services as the name suggests refers to startups in the hyperlocal and food delivery space. One of the hottest sectors of the Indian startup ecosystem. In Q3 2019, consumer services startups raised $176 Mn overall with 33% of the deals coming in FMCG startups. Here’s a look at the unicorns of the sector:
Launch Year: 2008 Founders: Jiby Thomas, Pranay Chulet Headquarters: Bengaluru Total Funding: $430 Mn Key Investors: Kinnevik AB, Brand Capital, Tiger Global Management, NGP Capital, Warburg Pincus Unicorn Since: 2015
Launch Year: 2008 Founders: Deepinder Goyal, Pankaj Chaddah Headquarters: Delhi NCR Total Funding: $775 Mn Key Investors: Sequoia Capital, InfoEdge, Temasek Holdings, Ant Financial, Vy Capital, Info Edge Unicorn Since: 2015
Launch Year: 2012 Founders: Kavin Bharti Mittal Headquarters: Delhi NCR Total Funding: $261 Mn Key Investors: Bharti SoftBank, Tiger Global Management, Tencent Holdings, Foxconn Technology Group Unicorn Since: 2016
Launch Year: 1995 Founders: Sanjeev Bikhchandani Headquarters: Delhi NCR Funding: Public Company Unicorn Since: 2014
Launch Year: 2011 Founders: Abhinay Choudhari, Hari Menon, Vipul Parekh, VS Sudhakar Headquarters: Bengaluru Total Funding: $1.02 Bn Key Investors: Alibaba Group, Helion Venture Partners, Paytm Mall, Helion Venture Partners, Bessemer Venture Partners, LionRock Capital, Abraaj Group Unicorn Since: 2019
Launch Year: 2014 Founders: Nandan Reddy, Rahul Jaimini, Sriharsha Majety Headquarters: Bengaluru Total Funding: $1.27 Bn Key Investors: DST Global, Naspers, Bessemer Venture Partners, Norwest Venture Partners, Accel, SAIF Partners Unicorn Since: 2018
The ecommerce sector remains one of the most crucial in the Indian market from the point of view of startups as plenty of other sectors have relied on the growth of the ecommerce sector for their own growth — with hyperlocal and logistics being prime examples. Over 21 deals in Q3 2019, ecommerce startups raised $381 Mn, according to the analysis by DataLabs by Inc42.
Launch Year: 2007 Founders: Sachin Bansal, Binny Bansal Headquarters: Bengaluru Total Funding: $7.3 Bn Key Investors: SoftBank, Naspers, Tiger Global Management, Microsoft, Tencent, eBay, Steadview Capital, DST Global, Accel Partners Unicorn Since: 2012
Launch Year: 2010 Founders: Kunal Bahl, Rohit Bansal Headquarters: Delhi-NCR Total Funding: $ 1.8 Bn Key Investors: SoftBank, RuNet Holdings, Alibaba, Kalaari Capital, Foxconn Tech, Blackrock Unicorn Since: 2014
Launch Year: 2016 Founders: Vijay Shekhar Sharma Headquarters: Delhi-NCR Total Funding: $ 645 Mn Key Investors: Softbank, Alibaba Unicorn Since: 2018
Launch Year: 2016 Founders: Sujeet kumar, Vaibhav Gupta, Amod Malviya Headquarters: Bengaluru Total Funding: $ 285 Mn Key Investors: DST Global, Lightspeed Venture Partners, Yuri Milner Unicorn Since: 2018
Launch Year: 2011 Founders: Radhika Aggarwal, Sanjay Sethi Headquarters: Delhi NCR Total Funding: $ 255 Mn Key Investors: Helion Venture Partners, Nexus Venture Partners, Tiger Global Unicorn Since: 2016
3. Enterprise Tech
Enterprise tech startups refers to startups working in SaaS and ERP solutions to companies. Many SMEs are leveraging SaaS and to optimise their overall performance. While Zoho and Freshworks dominate the SaaS game, the new kids on the block include Druva and Icertis.
Launch Year: 1996 Founders: Sridhar Vembu Headquarters: Chennai Total Funding: Bootstrapped
Launch Year: 2010 Founders: Girish Mathrubootham, Shan Krishnasamy Headquarters: Chennai Total Funding: $ 249 Mn Key Investors: Accel, Sequoia Capital India, Tiger Global Management, CapitalG Unicorn Since: 2018
Launch Year: 2004 Founders: Dhiraj Rajaram Headquarters: Bengaluru Total Funding: $ 211 Mn Key Investors: Sequoia Capital, General Atlantic, MasterCard Unicorn Since: 2013
Launch Year: 2008 Founders: Jaspreet Singh, Milind Borate, Ramani Kothandaraman Headquarters: Bengaluru Total Funding: $ 328 Mn Key Investors: Viking Global Investors, Riverwood Capital, Tenaya Capital, Nexus Venture Partners Unicorn Since: 2019
Launch Year: 2009 Founders: Samir Bodas, Monish Darda Headquarters: Pune Total Funding: $ 211 Mn Key Investors: Greycroft, PremjiInvest, B Capital Group, Eight Roads, Ignition Partners Unicorn Since: 2019
With 22% contribution to the total funding amount, fintech emerged as the most funded sector in Q3 2019. One of the most promising sectors for the Indian startup ecosystem, fintech has been on an upward swing with 36 funding deals and investment amount of $688 Mn. Lending tech is on the rise in the Indian fintech ecosystem, with 42% of all funding in the previous quarter coming for lending tech startups. Here’s a look at the fintech unicorns in India:
Launch Year: 2010 Founders: Vijay Shekhar Sharma Headquarters: Delhi-NCR Total Funding: $ 2.5 Bn Key Investors: SoftBank, Alibaba, Berkshire Hathaway, SAIF Partners, Intel Capital, and SAP Ventures Unicorn Since: 2015
Launch Year: 2015 Founders: Burzin Engineer, Rahul Chari, Sameer Nigam Headquarters: Bengaluru Total Funding: $ 291 Mn Key Investors: Flipkart Unicorn Since: 2018
Launch Year: 2008 Founders: Alok Bansal, Yashish Dahiya Headquarters: Delhi NCR Total Funding: $ 346 Mn Key Investors: Wellington Management, PremjiInvest, Tiger Global Management, Inventus Capital Partners Unicorn Since: 2018
Launch Year: 2000 Founders: Ajay Kaushal Headquarters: Mumbai Total Funding: $257 Mn Key Investors: Clearstone Venture Partners, State Bank of India, Visa Unicorn Since: 2018
Touted to touch $307 Bn by 2020, the Indian logistics sector in recent years has become the backbone of the ecommerce, agritech and hyperlocal sector in India. In fact, ecommerce can be said to be the pillar which fuelled the growth of the sector in the country. Add technology to the mix and logistics has redefined movement of goods like never before and this is the reason that logistic startups have mushroomed like never before in the country. Take a look at the unicorns from the logistics sector:
Launch Year: 2011 Founders: Bhavesh Manglani, Kapil Bharati, Mohit Tandon, Sahil Barua, Suraj Saharan Headquarters: Delhi NCR Total Funding: $670 Mn Key Investors: SoftBank, Fosun, Carlyle Group, Tiger Global, Nexus Venture Partners, Times Internet Unicorn Since: 2019
Launch Year: 2014 Founders: Deepak Garg, Gazal Kalra Headquarters: Delhi NCR Total Funding: $ 216 Mn Key Investors: SAIF Partners, Warburg Pincus Unicorn Since: 2018
6. Transport Tech / Mobility
Transport systems today are built on emerging and futuristic technologies and the companies operating within the segment are changing the mobility game by facilitating transportation in a quick and seamless way through on-demand cab services, bike taxis, carpooling and more. The growing segment of electric vehicles is only contributing to the optimism around mobility or transport tech.
Launch Year: 2010 Founders: Bhavish Aggarwal, Ankit Bhati Headquarters: Bengaluru Total Funding: $ 3.8 Bn Key Investors: SoftBank, Tencent Holdings, Tekne Capital Unicorn Since: 2014
Launch Year: 2018 Founders: Bhavish Aggarwal, Ankit Bhati Headquarters: Bengaluru Total Funding: $306 Mn Key Investors: Ratan Tata, Matrix Partners India, SoftBank, Tiger Global Unicorn Since: 2019
Startups in India are working to bring eco-friendlier solutions for the major problems such as rising energy consumption. With climate change and global warming becoming a major problem to solve for countries around the world, many Indian startups today are supporting the government’s objective of generating and storing energy with a focus on renewable and sustainable production.
Launch Year: 2011 Founders: Sumant Sinha Headquarters: Delhi NCR Total Funding: $ 1.6 Bn Key Investors: Goldman Sachs, Franklin Templeton India, JP Morgan, L&T and more Unicorn Since: 2017
As per an IBEF report, the online travel space will likely account for 40% to 50% of total travel transactions by 2020. And to take a bite of this pie many startups have risen in the traveltech sector in India. These startups have changed how consumers make their travel plans, and have changed the game for hotel owners and the hospitality industry as well.
Launch Year: 2010 Founders: Deep Kalra, Keyur Joshi, Rajesh Magow Headquarters: Delhi NCR Total Funding: $ 548 Mn Key Investors: Ctrip, Tiger Fund, Helion Venture Partners, Sierra Ventures Unicorn Since: 2010
Launch Year: 2013 Founders: Ritesh Agarwal Headquarters: Delhi NCR Total Funding: $ 1.7 Bn Key Investors: SoftBank, Greenoaks Capital, Huazhu Hotels Group, Sequoia Capital, Lightspeed Venture Partners Unicorn Since: 2018
9. Media & Entertainment
The Indian media and entertainment industry is projected to touch $39.68 Bn by FY 2023, with the OTT and gaming sub-sectors contributing heavily to the growth estimates. With the rise of gaming unicorns in India as the rapid penetration of OTT players, the media and entertainment industry is poised for rocket growth in the next few years.
Launch Year: 2011 Founders: Harsh Jain; Bhavit Sheth Headquarters: Mumbai Total Funding: $ 100 Mn Key Investors: Steadview Capital, Kalaari Capital, Think Investments, Multiples Equity Unicorn Since: 2019
By integrating technology with traditional education patterns, Indian edtech startups are working to provide affordable education for one and all across geographies, and solving the problem of access to schools through online learning and courses. Edtech startups have redefined how one can learn any skill or topic and democratised learning in many ways.
Launch Year: 2008 Founders: Byju Raveendran, Divya Gokulnath Headquarters: Bengaluru Total Funding: $819 Mn Key Investors: General Atlantic, Tencent Holdings, Verlinvest, Sequoia Capital India, Sofina, Aarin Capital, Chan Zuckerberg Initiative Unicorn Since: 2018
With mobile advertising growing by leaps and bounds in the Indian market, adtech solutions that give marketers and businesses the right analytics and digital tools for optimising these digital ads have also mushroomed.
Launch Year: 2007 Founders: Naveen Tewari, Amit Gupta, Mohit Saxena Headquarters: Bengaluru Total Funding: $ 320 Mn Key Investors: SoftBank, Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers, Tennenbaum Capital Partners, Sherpalo Ventures Unicorn Since: 2014