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The Unicorn Club of India

India has been home ground to a numerous amount of startups from the wide range of industries. These startups have invaded the traditional business norms with their modern business models equipped with a strategy that was once considered difficult to implement and impossible to execute. Yet these are the same startups which have emerged victorious and are knighted as the Unicorn startups of India. We have listed down our knight in shining armors!

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Flipkart

Current evaluation: $20.8 Billion

Before the Walmart acquisition, the e-commerce giant gave a tough competition to the global maestro, Amazon. Founded in 2007 by Sachin Bansal and Binny Bansal in an apartment in Bangalore, the startup initially focused on selling books and later expanded into electronics, fashion, and lifestyle products. Flipkart has also acquired some of the leading websites such as Jabbong, Myntra and owns phone payment application, Phone Pe.

Paytm

Current evaluation: $10 Billion.

The widespread e-wallet of India, PayTm backed by SoftBank, entered the Unicorn CLub in 2015. The founder, Vijay Shekhar Sharma founded Paytm with an initial investment of $2 million. What many do not know is that the e-wallet started off as a  prepaid mobile and DTH recharge platform, and later added data card, postpaid mobile, and landline bill payments in 2013. The milestone in the history was when the user base of the company grew from 11.8 million in August 2014 to 104 million in August 2015. Eventually, the app became India’s only and the first payment app to cross over 100 million app downloads.

Ola Cabs

Current evaluation: $3 Billion

The Indian cab service founded by Bhavish Aggarwal and Ankit Bhati, the network is present in most of the states and recently started providing its service in Australia, currently at Melbourne and Sydney. In order to strengthen its presence in the country, Ola acquired the Bangalore based taxi service TaxiForSure, also diversified by acquiring Foodpanda and made its second acquisition with Ridlr. The current statistics suggest that Ola has over 60% market share and has an average of more than 150,000 bookings per day.

Renew Power

Current evaluation: $2Billion.

Perhaps the only startup who is away from the limelight and was in good condition while the startup community was facing a tough time, Renew power was founded by Sumant Sinha in 2011. The company started with three employees constantly making investor pitches and eventually hit the jackpot when they scored a funding of $200 million (Rs. 1,300 crores) from Goldman Sachs and a bigger hit when they raised $740 million from investors such as Abu Dhabi Investment Authority and Asian Development Bank. The company is known for installing the tallest hybrid wind towers in India.

Hike

Current evaluation: $1.4 Billion.

The biggest competitor of Whatsaap, Hike was one of the youngest startups to be a part of the Unicorn Club in just 3.7 years after launch in 2016. Launched on 12 December 2012, Hike raised $175 million in a round of funding led by Tencent & Foxconn. After raising this round Hike reached the valuation of $1.4 Billion. The application is known for its wallet, the interactive stickers, and the interactive features. The founder Kavin Bharti Mittal is confident about the application having a strong future in India since the country is going through a digital revolution.

Swiggy

Current valuation: $1.3 Billion.

The Zomato Rival, Swiggy had recently strengthened the Indian venture ecosystem when it acquired a funding of $210 million in its latest round of funding with Russian billionaire Yuri Milner’s DST Global. Swiggy acquired the unicorn club status immediately after 4 years of its launch half the amount of time Zomato had taken. Swiggy is leading in the Indian food delivery market with about 11 million monthly orders. The founders Rahul Jaimini, Shriharsha Majety, Nandan Reddy are all known for their strong networking skills which have played a major role in determining the position of the Swiggy at the current level.

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Shopclues

Current evaluation: $1.1 Billion.

Founded by Sanjay Sethi, Sandeep Aggarwal, and Radhika Aggarwal, Shopclues is a household name amongst the Indian audience. The company claims it has 6 lakh merchants and 2.8 crore products on its platform and serves over 32,000 pin codes across the country. The major investors of the E-commerce website are  Tiger Global, Helion Ventures, and Nexus Venture Partners. A major reason why ShopCLues was well received amongst the retailers is that it promotes regional brands. The funding of USD 100 million from Tiger Global Management landed the e-commerce website straight into the Unicorn club.

InMobi

Current evaluation:$1 Billion.

Initially founded as mKhoj by Naveen Tewari, Mohit Saxena, Amit Gupta and Abhay Singhal in 2007, InMobi is now a global mobile advertising and an exclusive discovery platform that reaches over 1.5 billion unique mobile devices worldwide. Originally the app was known for providing SMS-based search engine services which later turned to mobile advertising. After strengthening their presence in emerging markets such as Asia, Africa, InMobi entered the US in 2009 which was an achievement. InMobi is in the news for its international collaborations and acquiring  Los Angeles based Aerserv for the US $90 Million in cash and stock to create the world’s largest programmatic video platform for mobile publishers.

Snapdeal

Current evaluation: $1 Billion

Another e-commerce website based in Delhi, Snapdeal was started by Kunal Bahl and Rohit Bansal in February 2010. The e-commerce website, when started was a  daily deals platform but expanded in September 2011 to become an online marketplace. Eventually, the company grew and now has 300,000 sellers, over 30 million products across 800+ diverse categories and a reach of 6,000 towns and cities across the country. Amongst all its acquisitions Snapdeal acquired FreeCharge for $400 million made the news.

Quickr

Current evaluation: $1 Billion.  

The Indian classified advertising platform was founded by Pranay Chulet and Jiby Thomas in 2008. Originally launched as Kijiji India in November 2005 owned by Kijiji International, an eBay Inc subsidiary, when the Mumbai based venture capitalist, Matrix Partners India, invested in the Kijiji India, following which Kijiji India was hived off Kijiji International and restructured as an independent company and re-branded as “Quikr”. In January 2016 Quickr had acquired the real estate portal commonfloor.com in a $200 million all-stock deal. Quickr is backed by a group of investors including Quikr is backed by Kinnevik, Matrix Partners India, Omidyar Network, Norwest Venture Partners, Nokia Growth Partners, Warburg Pincus and eBay Inc.

Zomato

Current evaluation: $1 Billion.  

The restaurant search and discovery application founded in 2012 is not restricted to India but now caters to the global audience. The services are available in 23 countries including Australia and the United States. What started as Foodiebay in July 2008 was rebranded as Zomato in November 2010. The founders Deepinder Goyal and Pankaj Chaddah in a company’s blog had explained the concept of cloud kitchen, the first ever idea which will help the restaurants to expand their presence without incurring any fixed costs. The major investors of Zomato include a set of four investors: Info Edge, Sequoia India, Vy Capital, and Temasek Holdings.

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