It’s raining Unicorn Startups Club in India. Ten startups have already made it to the list of Unicorns in the first four months of 2021. Hope more will be riding in pretty soon. India is bound to raise $13.7 Bn this year. The unicorn story of 2021 is the one with many firsts. As the ecosystem observed the entry of first health tech, first social commerce, first infrastructure technology, and first epharmacy unicorn.
As per the latest summation, eCommerce, fintech, and enterprise tech are among the popular sectors in the Indian unicorn club. There are 11 eCommerce unicorns, namely Flipkart, Snapdeal, FirstCry, Infra. Market, Udaan, Paytm Mall, and others. The fintech sector has 10 startups on the list with Paytm, PhonePe, Zerodha, Razorpay, Pine Labs being examples. Enterprise tech startups in the unicorn club involve Zenoti, Freshworks, Zoho, Druva, Icertis, and others.
Here is the list of 10 Latest Companies to Unicorn Startups Club, 2021
1. Digit Insurance
Bengaluru-based insurance startup Digit Insurance was the first startup to enter the Unicorn Startups Club in 2021. The company had raised $18 Mn (INR 135 Cr) from subsisting investors A(! PArtners, Faering Capital and TVS Capital in January, at a valuation of $1.9 Bn.
Digit Insurance is a tech-driven general insurance company, established in 2016 by Kamesh Goyal and Prem Watsa’s Fairfax Holdings. The company gives customized policies on health, auto, travel, smartphones, commercial properties such as stores and holiday homes. It declares to have recorded a 31.9% growth between March 2020 to December 2020, with 20 Lakh Indians opting for its illness insurance product which granted protection against Covid-19 and seven vector-borne diseases including dengue, malaria, and others
The strain on global healthcare due to Covid-19 was tremendous and shocking with the fear of mass infection hanging over the public. If not for the healthcare providers putting in the extra energy to ensure smooth recovery of those infected, the global tally of deaths would have been significantly higher. As the world moved into lockdown, healthcare became of utmost importance as did solutions for the sector.
Innovacer was one of the shining stars of the Indian startup ecosystem and ended up becoming the first Indian health-tech in Unicorn Startups Club. The company which produces solutions for western markets like the US analyses healthcare data to provide actionable insights to healthcare providers, hospitals, insurance companies, and other organizations and businesses.
Indian social commerce is poised to grow at a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 55%-60% to reach $16 Bn-$20 Bn gross merchandise value (GMV) by 2025. One of the biggest milestones of the section has to be Meesho’s entry into the Unicorn Startups Club, which will have an overall impact on the segment and its growth momentum.
Founded by IIT-Delhi graduates Aatrey and Sanjeev Barnwal in 2015, Meesho is an online reseller network for individuals and small and medium businesses (SMBs), who sell products within their network on social channels such as WhatsApp, Facebook, and Instagram. The platform has about 13 Mn individual entrepreneurs, bringing the eCommerce benefits to 45 Mn customers pan India.
There are very few Indian unicorns that have sustained profitability from the very beginning. This year, there was another such startup, Infra.Market, that entered the club riding on its profitability and strong growth. The company, founded by Aaditya Sharda and Souvik Sengupta in 2016, is a B2B online acquisition marketplace for real estate and construction material that leverages technology to offer fair pricing and a smoother procurement experience for its customers.
With eyes on market dominance and the Unicorn Startups Club, API Holdings had set out to forge a merger between its subsidiary PharmEasy and its rival Medlife in 2020. After the merger came through in the latter part of last year, the company was able to achieve one of its purposes — entering the unicorn club. The company raised $323 Mn in a Series E funding round, at a valuation of $1.5 Bn. Notably, it is the first Indian epharmacy unicorn.
PharmEasy was founded in 2015 by Dharmil Sheth and Dr. Dhaval Shah to the chronic care segment and offers a range of services such as teleconsultation, medicine deliveries, and sample collections for diagnostic tests. It connects over 60K brick-and-mortar pharmacies and 4K doctors in 16K postal codes across India.
With only INR 57 Lakh ($76K, at current conversion rate) as operating revenue in the financial year 2020, Kunal Shah-led fintech platform CRED entered the unicorn club at a whopping valuation of $2.2 Bn.
In the last two years, CRED claims to have added over 5.9 Mn credit card users with a median credit score of 830.
Last year, the company decided to experiment with e-commerce to shore up revenue and capitalize on its user base. It forayed into eCommerce with CRED Store and in December, CRED launched CRED Pay to allow users to use their CRED reward coins across eCommerce sites and unlock discounts.
India found its second wealth management unicorn in Groww only eight months after bootstrapped Zerodha valued itself above $1 Bn. Groww allows users to invest in stocks, mutual funds, etc. using its tech platform available via application and web platform. The company had also launched stocks with an easy-to-use interface for do-it-yourself (DIY) investors.
It raised $83 Mn in its Series D funding led by Tiger Global this week, becoming the fiftieth Indian unicorn. The company had raised $30 Mn in Series C round last September. It intends to use this capital to invest in new products, acquire talent and continue building our financial education platforms.
ShareChat has finally found its way to the unicorn club, after capturing the attention of users across Tier II and III India. The regional language social media startup has witnessed massive growth in 2020. Because of its monthly active user base grew 166% from 60 Mn to 160 Mn in one year.
ShareChat, which was founded by IIT-Kanpur alumni Farid Ahsan, Bhanu Singh, and Ankush Sachdeva in 2015. The company started as a content-sharing tool for WhatsApp with users sharing about 100K content pieces per day. It found its calling in the vernacular social media platform and has been focusing on it ever since.
ShareChat has raised $828 Mn in eight funding rounds, with $502 Mn coming in its Series E round. The funding ends speculation around the possible investment by Google in Sharechat.
San Francisco-headquartered Gupshup is the ninth startup to enter the unicorn club in 2021, after raising $100 Mn in its Series F funding round led by Tiger Global Management. The company has been valued at $1.4 Bn in the round. The company said that over 80% of its business comes from India followed by the US and Latin America.
Some of its clients include Kotak Mahindra Bank, IndusInd Bank, HDFC Bank, Ola, Zomato, and Flipkart. The 17-year-old company has so far raised $150 Mn and closed its Series E round in 2011.
Chennai-based subscription management platform. It became the tenth unicorn of 2021, after raising $125 Mn in its Series G funding round at a valuation of a whopping $1.4 Bn. Once again, the round was led by Tiger Global, along with Sapphire Ventures and Insight Venture Partners. Steadview Capital also participated in the round, which tripped the company’s valuation in less than six months.
Chargebee is an automated subscription billing software platform. It was founded in 2010 by Rajaraman S, Thiyagarajan T, KP Saravanan, and Krish Subramanian. The company integrates with payment gateways to automate payment collections, invoicing, email notifications, and customer management. Its latest product updates enable clients to optimize revenue operations, compliance, and revenue recognition. The company claims to cater to 2500 businesses across 53 countries. Chargebee’s customer portfolio includes the likes of access management company Okta, Freshworks, Calendly, Study.com, among others.