It’s raining Unicorn Startups Club in India. In the first four months of 2021, ten startups have already reached Unicorn status. Hopefully, more riders will arrive soon. There will be $13.7 billion raised by India this year. There are many firsts in 2021’s unicorn story. This ecosystem witnessed the entry of the first health technology, the first social commerce, and the first epharmacy unicorn.
Among the sectors that are capturing the Indian unicorn club’s attention are eCommerce, fintech, and enterprise technology. On the eCommerce front, there are 11 unicorns. These include Flipkart, Snapdeal, FirstCry, and Infra. You can also find Paytm Mall, Market, and Udaan. 10 startups from the fintech sector made the list with Paytm, PhonePe, Zerodha, Razorpay, Pine Labs among examples. There are many enterprise tech startups in the unicorn club, including Zenoti, Freshworks, Zoho, Druva, and Icertis.
Here are the 10 Latest Companies to Join Unicorn Startups Club, 2021
1. Digit Insurance
In 2021, Bengaluru-based insurance startup Digit Insurance became the first unicorn startup. As part of its January funding round, the company raised $18 Mn (INR 135 Cr). This was in addition to the existing funds from A(! Partners, Faering Capital and TVS Capital.
Digit Insurance is an insurance company founded by Fairfax Holdings’ Kamesh Goyal and Prem Watsa in 2016. Provides customized health, auto, travel, and smartphone insurance, as well as commercial policies for stores and vacation properties. According to the company, it has recorded a 31.9% growth in its business between March and December 2020. It protected Covid-19, as well as seven vector-borne diseases that include dengue and malaria.
With the fear of mass infection hanging over the public, the strain on global healthcare caused by Covid-19 was tremendous and shocking. Those infected might not have been able to recover as smoothly if it weren’t for the healthcare providers’ sustained extra efforts. In the days following 9/11, healthcare solutions and healthcare services became of utmost importance.
A shining star of the Indian startup ecosystem, Innovaccer became the first Indian unicorn startup in Unicorn Startups Club. The company, which produces solutions for western markets like the US, analyzes healthcare data to provide actionable insights for healthcare services, hospitals, insurance providers, and other institutions.
Social commerce in India will grow at a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 55%-60% by 2025, reaching 16Bn-$20Bn in gross merchandise value (GMV). The entry of Meesho into the Unicorn Startups Club is a milestone that will have an overall impact on the segment and its growth momentum.
Meesho, an online reseller network for individuals and small-to-medium businesses (SMBs), was launched by two IIT-Delhi graduates in 2015 on social channels such as Facebook, Instagram, and WhatsApp.
In India, very few unicorns have sustained profitability from their inception. Infra is another startup of this kind. The market entered the club on the strength of its profitability and growth. Founded in 2016, the company aims to offer fair pricing, a smoother procurement process, and a better experience for its customers through technology. It is a B2B online marketplace for real estate and construction material.
API Holdings set out to merge its subsidiary PharmEasy and its rival Medlife in 2020 to gain market dominance and join the Unicorn Startups Club. The merger took place in the latter part of last year, allowing the company to accomplish one of its goals – entering the unicorn club. In a Series E funding round, the company raised $323 million at a valuation of $1.5 billion. It is the first Indian unicorn in the epharmacy industry.
Dharmil Sheth and Dr. Dhaval Shah founded PharmaEasy in 2015 in the chronic care segment, offering teleconsultation, medicine delivery, and sample collection for diagnostic tests.
The Kunal Shah-led fintech platform CRED entered the unicorn club with a valuation of $2.2 Bn despite only having 57 lakh rupees ($76K) as operating revenue in 2020.
As of last year, CRED reported that over 5.9 million people had credit cards with a median score of 830 for the last two years.
To boost revenue and capitalize on its user base, the company decided to experiment with e-commerce last year.
Groww is only eight months after bootstrapped Zerodha valued itself at over $1 Bn. Through Groww, users have access to stocks, mutual funds, etc. via its web and application platforms. Furthermore, Do It Yourself (DIY) investors could access stocks through an easy-to-use interface.
It became the fifty-first unicorn of India this week after raising $83 million from Tiger Global. Last September, the company raised $30 Mn in a Series C round. The company intends to deploy this capital to develop new products, hire talent, and build financial education platforms.
Now that ShareChat has captured the attention of users across Tier II and Tier III India, it has officially joined the unicorn club. The startup has experienced enormous growth in 2020. A user base of 160 million signed up in one year, an increase of 166% from 60 million.
A group of IIT-Kanpur graduates, Farid Ahsan, Bhanu Singh, and Ankush Sachdeva, founded ShareChat in 2015. Content sharing for WhatsApp began as a tool with users sharing approximately 100K pieces of content each day. The company found its niche in the vernacular social media platform and has been focusing on it ever since.
In eight rounds of funding, ShareChat raised $828 million, of which $502 million came in Series E. Google’s possible investment in Sharechat is over with this funding.
With a $100 million Series F funding round led by Tiger Global Management, San Francisco-based Gupshup is the ninth unicorn startup in 2021. In the round, the company received a valuation of $1.4 billion. More than 80% of the company’s business comes from India, followed by the US and Latin America.
The company’s clients include Kotak Mahindra Bank, HDFC Bank, IndusInd Bank, Ola, Zomato, and Flipkart. In 2011, they closed their Series E round of financing, which had raised $150 million in the past 17 years.
The platform for managing subscriptions based in Chennai. With a funding round of $125 Mn in Series G, it became the 10th unicorn in 2021, valued at $1.4 Bn. Again, Tiger Global, Insight Venture Partners, and Sapphire Ventures led the round. The round quadrupled the company’s valuation in less than a year with participation from Steadview Capital.
Subscriber billing software platform Chargebee automates the process. KP Saravanan, Rajaraman S, Thiyagarajan T, and Krish Subramanian founded it in 2010. By integrating with payment gateways, the company automates payment collection, invoicing, email notifications, and customer management. Clients can optimize revenue operations, compliance, and revenue recognition with its latest product updates. 2500 businesses across 53 countries are said to use the company’s services. Customers of Chargebee include Okta, Freshworks, Calendly, Study.com, and others.