Top 10 Most Valuable Startups in India

Preeti Sharma

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Several unicorns have emerged from India in recent years, and their successes have had a lasting impact on the global business community. India's vibrant startup scene and romantic entrepreneurs make this a hotspot for innovative startups. These startups have broken new ground, reshaped markets, and garnered a worldwide reputation among The Top Startups in India.
As of May 2022, there were 100 Indian unicorns, collectively valued at ₹27,691,452,750,000.00 Indian Rupees (INR). This is a significant achievement in the present-day fast-paced and dynamic economy, and Indian unicorns are thriving. These startups are also building groundbreaking solutions and technologies, but they're also fueling essential job development.

Source: SAFALTA.COM

In India, there were 111 unicorns with a total valuation of $349.67 billion as of October 3, 2023.

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In India, unicorns are seen as game-changers in their respective industries, with the potential to reshape markets or build new ones. In this article, we'll discuss several of India's top startups, ranging from technology giants to disruptors in diverse industries. Some well-known unicorn startups include Swiggy, OYO Rooms, Ola Cabs, Paytm, Zomato, Nayka, Flipkart, etc.



Table of Contents:
What is a unicorn startup?

Tops Unicorn  Startups Overview

 

What is a unicorn startup?
 

A unicorn startup is a term used to describe a startup with a valuation of over one billion dollars. The term was coined by Aileen Lee, a venture capitalist, who chose the mythical animal to portray the statistical rarity of such achieved ventures for Companies that fall under The Top Startups In India. Unicorn startups are frequently innovative and disruptive industries that deal with different sectors, such as technology, e-commerce, finance, healthcare, and more. They typically come across rapid growth and attraction of critical investment from venture capitalists and other investors. 45 unicorns with a total turnover evaluation of $102.30Billion which were recorded in 2021 and 22 unicorns were recorded in 2022 with a total valuation of $29.20 billion. Thus, Zepto was the new emergence and latest Unicorn Company in 2023.
Industries that frequently adopt more advanced technologies, trade models, or industry techniques in an attempt to gain an edge over their competitors are known as 'peripheral' industries. They must often make large disclosures to conform to industry standards.
 

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Tops Unicorn  Startups Overview: 

 

Unicorns in India are seen as game changers in their respective industries and have the potential to reshape markets or build new ones. Some famous unicorn top startups in India include Swiggy, Zomato, OYO Rooms, Paytm, Nayka, Flipkart, and Ola Cabs.


Ola:

Ola, a transportation company founded by Bhavish Aggarwal and Ankit Bhati, has disrupted the transportation industry in India. This ride-hailing service offers accessible and affordable transportation options for millions of Indians. With offerings varying from Ola cabs to auto-rickshaws and electric vehicles, Ola has become an integral component of urban and rural mobility, proposing to commuters a dependable and effective way to get around.

Ola Cab one of The Top Startups In India needs no introduction. The first Indian cab Service Company that has made using cabs an easy experience. It is owned by ANI Technologies Pvt. Ltd. and was previously known as Ola Cabs. Ola was launched in December 2010 by two IIT Bombay graduates. Ola has been a pioneer in the Indian cab industry and has bridged the gap between cab owners and commuters very well.


Rather than owning and renting its cars, Ola partners with various taxi drivers and owners to provide a taxi service. This lets individuals book cabs using the Ola app. Ola has users in over 250 cities in India and employs 2.5 million+ driver-partners.
Recently, Ola has ventured into the auto-bookings segment as well. They have also started off a bike-sharing service called 'Ola Pedal' in 2017 to help last-mile connectivity.

Read more: Discover the 12 Most Impactful Startup Statistics for India in 2023



Paytm:

Paytm, started by Vijay Shekhar Sharma, In India, Paytm is a leading player in the digital finance space. This company pioneered the use of digital payments in India and has built a large following enabling users to make secure transactions like pay bills, and even invest in mutual funds. With its user-friendly interface and robust features with security, which has made it a trusted name in the digital finance industry?  Paytm comes under The Top Startups In India list.


Origin of Paytm

Paytm was founded in 2010 by Vijay Shekhar Sharma in Noida, a suburb of New Delhi. Sharma started the company with the hidden speculation of $2 million.

  • Paytm began as a prepaid mobile and DTH recharge platform and later added debit card, postpaid mobile, and landline payments in 2013.
  • The company achieved a market capitalization of Rs 1,527 crore. 1st Nov 2021 - The much-awaited Paytm IPO was released with a tag group of ₹2,080-2,150 per disclose. The company achieved a market capitalization of Rs 1,527 crore.
  • 13th October 2021 -The Digilocker Mini App is now available for use on Paytm, and it allows users to store their Aadhaar, driver's license, and insurance documents. This app is also useful for users who are offline or have low connectivity, as it allows them to access these documents even when they're not connected to the internet.
  • 8th October 2021 -Paytm is hoping to enlist as an anchor investor in its upcoming IPO, with Ruler Fortune being one of the companies that they are most eager to partner with. Ruler Fortune is one of the companies that Paytm is most eager to partner with.
  • 5th October 2021 - In October of last year, Swiss RE may have joined Paytm's insurance business board.
  • 3rd October last year - Paytm acquired a 100% stake in Credit Mate, a Mumbai-based digital lending startup.



Flipkart:

Flipkart started as a small online store in 2007, and then in 2018 Walmart bought it for $16 billion. This made Flipkart one of the largest e-commerce companies in India, and it also has a strong presence in rural areas. It offers a variety of products, from electronics to fashion, and it also has a strong customer base in rural areas, Flipkart is one of the unicorn startups and also falls under the top startups In India.

  • Flipkart began as an online bookstore but now sells a wide variety of products, including electronics, fashion, house essentials, groceries, and cosmetics. Over one billion people have shopped with Flipkart, making it the leading e-retailer in India.
  • Flipkart has subsidiaries like Myntra, eBay, Ekart, Jeeves, and more. Flipkart also released Shopsy on July 2, 2021, which is designed to motivate the nation's entrepreneurs to reap all the benefits of digital commerce without investments.
  • Today, Flipkart has over one hundred million registered users, one hundred thousand sellers, and twenty-one advanced technologies warehouses.
  • Flipkart is one of the world's largest ecommerce companies with over 10 million daily sheet visits and over 8 million shipments per month. It is currently a subsidiary of Walmart.
  • The current CEO of Flipkart Group is Kalyan Krishnamurthy.
  • Flipkart acquired a 100% stake in Walmart India, which operates the Best Price cash-and-carry business.
  • Flipkart Wholesale, the company's wholesale arm, will begin operations in August and will initially focus on selling groceries and fashion items. The online retail industry is valued at around $60 billion. It is expected to grow to $200 billion by the year 2026. The Indian and global e-commerce industries are experiencing exponential growth thanks to the introduction of high-speed web.
  • Before the pandemic, the Republic of India was one of the most appealing eCommerce markets globally, expected to provide a 30% growth over a six-year time horizon, as per information from a RedSeer meeting.


Flipkart

 

Flipkart-- Founders and Team                                 

Education
Sachin Bansal
 
Bachelor of Engineering in Computer Science and Engineering from Indian Institute of Technology Delhi (IIT Delhi)
Binny Bansal Bachelor of Engineering in Computer Science and Engineering from Indian Institute of Technology Delhi (IIT Delhi)
 


Zomato

Zomato is a meal delivery and restaurant finding program, which has helped change the way Indians bid for meals and has also expanded its footprint internationally. Zomato's success mirrors the changing consumer preferences and the flourishing food tech industry in India.

  • Zomato, co-founded by Deepinder Goyal and Pankaj Chaddah in 2008
  • Zomato, worth $5.4 billion on Feb. 22, 2021, saw its current funding turn on as the company raised $250 million from a group of investors led by Kora, Fidelity Investments, Tiger Global Management, and others.
  • Zomato is a meal delivery startup that under the category of Top Startups in India, aggregates information about restaurants in various cities. It offers menus, user reviews, and meal delivery features from partnered restaurants.

Zomato - Founders & Team

The founders of Zomato are Deepinder Goyal and Pankaj Chaddah. Both are IIT graduates and were working with Bain & Co. in New Delhi before they came together to launch Zomato.

Zomato - History | How was Zomato Started?

When Deepinder Goyal and Pankaj Chaddah were working in their office in New Delhi, they saw too many people waiting for a long time just to capture a picture of their card. At that exact moment, the idea of starting a company was planted in their minds, and that led them to release Zomato, previously known as ‘Foodie Bay’.
Zomato turned thirteen this July 2021 and celebrated its birthday in approach on July 10, last year. Pramod Rao, who represented Zomato as the VP of Marketing and also has a big give in constructing the marketing squad and scaling up the processes of the sign shared his message congratulating the sign alongside a cheerful video of the sign at work on July 10, 2021, via his LinkedIn profile.
After uploading the faint copies of the cards on the website, everyone in the office began using them, which led to many time-saving for them. Subsequently, this enhanced the traffic on their website and soon enough they expanded their website to make it accessible to everyone.



OYO Rooms:

What is OYO Rooms?

OYO Rooms is a hospitality chain of franchised hotels, located around the world. The company was founded in 2013 and began as a budget hotel chain. Recently, the company has expanded internationally and now operates thousands of hotels around the world.

Who Founded OYO Rooms?

Ritesh Agarwal is an Indian entrepreneur and the founder and CEO of OYO Rooms. He has traveled extensively throughout India throughout his teenage years and noticed that there are few quality budget hotels available for individuals familiar with the country.
He has been nicknamed the "world's second youngest billionaire" after Kylie Jenner, although Forbes and Commerce Insider have never listed him as a billionaire.

How Ritesh Agarwal did start OYO Rooms?

  • In 2013, when Ritesh Agarwal was in California, he started a company to help administer a hotel where he had worked over Oravel's remains. The hotel is located in New Delhi, and it was renamed OYO. 
  • Agarwal enhanced the rooms and arrived out to budget-minded travelers, who were seeking hotel reservations online. This boosted the hotel’s occupancy rates from 19% to 90% in its 1st month itself.


How did OYO Succeed?

Agrawal's expertise in technology-assisted him in getting his sign to a bigger audience. Ritesh Agarwal has enhanced the pricing machine of OYO for budget-friendly customers. OYO staff used to adjust rates for one million guestrooms over 50 million times each day, by his estimates. In the rear, OYO has associated all asset's staff. For example, the sign has a committed app that allows the staff of the hotel to know that the chamber has to be serviced. They tracked how much time the housekeeper spent tidying the rooms and how clean the guest had reviewed the room to be to the management.

“If they clean it quickly and get five-star feedback, they could get paid up to 25% more... And if he or she gets paid more, we can hire less. We don't need to hire as many people because ... they are incentivized to be more efficient because they get paid more.” -said the CEO

What makes Oyo’s business model unique?

OYO's commerce machine is unique in the hospitality sector; as a result, it offers high-quality standardized offerings. OYO heavily focuses on user experience, rather than only on the availability of chambers and low prices. OYO's trade algorithm is said to be similar to a franchise machine. In exchange for providing technology, branding, and operational assistance to autonomous hotel owners, OYO receives a percentage of the income earned by the hotel.
OYO provides comprehensive hotel management solutions, including acquiring and managing properties, marketing and customer acquisition, and technology solutions such as an app, a reservation system, and a payment gateway.
OYO is a company that provides affordable services to travelers and offers a favorable investment opportunity for hotel owners. Their technology-driven advances have enabled them to rapidly grow their services and extend into new markets, transforming them into one of the biggest hospitality chains in the universe.

Read more: Top 10 Case Studies on Entrepreneurship In India


Nykaa:

Nykaa, a company founded by Falguni Nayar, has become one of the leading players in the online beauty industry in India. The program provides a wide choice of beauty products, skincare essentials, and makeup, transforming it into a go-to destination for beauty enthusiasts. Nykaa's achievement legend displays the capability of e-commerce in the beauty industry.
Nykaa stands as a leading company in the cosmetics and personal care market, which is estimated to reach $33.33 bn by 2027. 
Nykaa is a leading player in the cosmetics industry and on the list of The Top Startups In India, with a wide range of beauty, fashion, and wellness products that are accessible to both physical and digital customers. Nykaa is also planning to gain a leading position in the private concern space with its release of Nykd and GLOOT.
The market was last valued at $24.53 bn in 2022 and is currently growing at a CAGR of 6.32%.

Nykaa - Founder And Team


Falguni Nayar is the founder and CEO of Nykaa, a fashion portal that is currently among India's largest. The Founder and CEO of Nykaa is known as one of India's richest self-made women and is listed in the tenth situation amongst India's richest self-made women. Falguni's net worth was last registered at around Rs 57,000 crore. Her fortune grew 963% in one year to grow similar.
Nayar is an MBA graduate from the Indian Institute of Management Ahmedabad. After completing her undergraduate degree, she worked for a financial firm for eight decades. She then joined A F Ferguson & Co., a guiding investment bank in India.
Nayar was the managing director of Kotak Securities and later grew into the managing director of Kotak Investment Banking. She served the bank for eighteen extended periods, and then resigned to pursue her entrepreneurial dream: Nykaa.com.
Falguni has worked for 25 years in the corporate sector and has now started her own business. Nayar is nearing 50, so Falguni has started her business at this stage in her life.

Nykaa - How Did It Start?

  • The cosmetics industry in the Republic of India was not as advanced as in other countries, such as the French Republic and Japan. This was due to the high demand for cosmetics and the lack of free access to the products in some places. So, in response, Nykaa was created.
  • Nykaa was founded by Falguni Nayar in 2012. The company began with just three employees and has since acquired 60 orders. However, Nykaa didn't settle on its tag proposition- instead, it lowered the prices to multiply sales.

"We would rather trade the appropriate lipstick color at full price than the wrong color at half price," said the founder and CEO of Nykaa once.
Its initial onset was as an online-based company, but eventually, it transitioned to being an omnichannel approach.

  • Nykaa is a cosmetics retailer founded in Mumbai, India. The company offers a variety of products including fashion, intimate wear, and cosmetics. The main focus of the company is to make women look stunning in any aspect.


What makes Nykaa unique?

Nykaa's marketing strategy is based on the "try and buy" approach. This strategy combines the use of beauty kiosks with assistants who help first-time customers find the right cosmetics. The "try and buy" strategy provides the original selling proposition for Nykaa, which delivers a user's original shopping experience.

The startup ecosystem in India is thriving and contains a growing list of success stories. These top Indian startups have disrupted familiar industries, leveraged technology, and built new commerce models, setting the stage for a brighter and more innovative future for the Republic of India. As these startups continue to evolve and grow, the world will be watching, eager to see what groundbreaking innovations they will bring next.

What are the important factors that contribute to a startup becoming a unicorn?

A Unicorn is typically a company with high growth, industry demand, healthy leadership, accomplished funding rounds, and speedy development milestones. They frequently force sophisticated technologies, acquire a major industry share, and expose the possibility of extended sustainability and profitability.

 

Are all unicorn startups profitable?

Some unicorn companies in India prioritize quickly developing their businesses and increasing their industry reach over their short-term profitability. As a result, their profitability aspirations may differ at different stages of their startup's development.
 

Why Do Startups Fail?

One reason startups fail is that not all of them are created to address an industry need. Also, many of the "traditional" issues affecting other businesses, such as lack of money, ineffective squad management, bad marketing, and pricing problems, can also impact startups.
 

What are the costs of a Start-up?

The company's three primary focus areas are development, marketing, and employee retention. In order to promote growth, the company leases warehouse space and ships products.
 

What challenges do Indian startups face in their journey to success?

Startups in India often face intense competition, restrictive hurdles, and the need for continual creativity to remain ahead.
 

What is the Impact of covid-19 on Startups?

The COVID pandemic has had a negative impact on industries and startup ecosystems, because of the regional restrictions and problems with entry to funding and capital over venture capitalists. On a broader scale, the financial industry will take a while to recover and we are not sure how long lockdown measures will be in place. 
There are a few determined subscribers in the vertical of life with innovations concentrating on prevention, diagnostics and life adaptation offerings to combat COVID.
 

What is the Impact of a Recession on startups?

A recession is a time when the economy declines, unemployment rises, and many people turn to government assistance to try to get by. At the same time, a recession can be a good time for startups that don't rely on venture capital or have innovative ideas. They can succeed because there are more opportunities for them.

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