According to consulting and business research firm Praxis Global Alliance, 35 startups in India have the potential to reach a billion-dollar valuation. These ‘soonicorns’ as the research firm calls them, include startups in fintech, healthcare, ed-tech and also other fields such as retail and textiles.
While healthcare startup Practo is on its way to becoming the next unicorn, with a current valuation of $904 million, payments startup BharatPe is close with a nearly USD 900 million valuation.
Other Soonicorns include ed-tech startup Eruditus, Rebel Foods, Cure.fit, Grofers, Vedantu, Open, Ninjacart, Mswipe, Acko, MobiKwik, Capital Float, MPL, Rupeek, Licious, FreshToHome, Khatabook, among others.
Despite the gloom in the economy, April turned out to be a stellar month for the startup ecosystem as eight companies entered the coveted club in one month. April also saw history being made as six new startups turned unicorns in a span of four days. This year saw representation from hitherto unrepresented sectors such as healthcare, social commerce and insurance.
Further, Indian startups are expected to record $13.7 billion funding this year.
Let’s take a look at the 12 startups that turned unicorns this year:
Digit Insurance: Digit Insurance became the first unicorn for 2021, after raising $18 million from existing investors including A91 Partners, Faering Capital, and TVS Capita.
The company has raised three rounds of funding amounting to $140 million from Canadian billionaire Prem Watsa’s Fairfax Financial Holdings, and $84 million from three growth equity investors— A91 Partners, Faering Capital and TVS Capital.
Established in 2017 by Kamlesh Goyal and backed by Canada’s Fairfax Financial, Digit Insurance leverages cloud and AI technology to settle claims digitally.
Innovaccer: With the demand for accessible healthcare increasing because of the pandemic, 2021 saw a health tech startup become a unicorn for the first time in India. Founded by Abhinav Shashank, Kanav Hasija, and Sandeep Gupta, Innovaccer raised a total of $225 million from multiple investors including Tiger Global, M12 and Mubadala Capital.
The Noida and San-Francisco-based startup analyses healthcare data and provides actionable insights to healthcare providers, insurance companies, hospitals and other organisations and businesses.
Meesho: The Indian social commerce scene saw a watershed moment this year as Meesho entered the unicorn club after it raised USD 300 million in its new funding round led by Japan’s SoftBank Group Corp. Founded by IIT-Delhi graduates Aatrey and Sanjeev Barnwal in 2015, Meesho is currently valued at $2.1 billion.
Meesho enables small businesses and individuals to start their online stores via social channels such as WhatsApp, Facebook, Instagram. There are around 13 million entrepreneurs on the platform, catering to around 45 million customers across the country.
Infra.Market: The technology firm, a one-stop marketplace for construction material, entered the coveted unicorn club this year after it raised $100 million in a Series C round led by Tiger Global, along with existing backers Accel, Nexus Venture Partners and Sistema Asia.
The four-year-old startup took less than 20 months to reach the $1 billion valuation since its seed funding from Accel Partners in June 2019.
Founded by Souvik Sengupta and Aaditya Sharda, Infra Market is an online platform that enables construction and infrastructure companies to procure construction materials at a fair, transparent price.
PharmEasy: API Holdings, the parent company of PharmEasy raised $350 million in its series E funding to bring the company’s valuation to $1.5 billion, making it the first Indian e-pharmacy unicorn.
Founded in 2015 by Dharmil Sheth and Dr. Dhaval Shah, PharmEasy provides a range of services including medicine deliveries and teleconsultation. The one-stop medical platform connects over 60,000 brick and mortar pharmacies and 4,000 doctors across 16,000 postcodes across the country.
CRED: The Bengaluru-based fintech startup turned unicorn following the closure of its Series D funding at $215 million. The funding upped Cred’s valuation from $800 million to $2.2 billion. The round was led by Falcon Edge Capital, a new investor along with an existing investor, Coatue Management LLP. Founded by Kunal Shah, CRED, a members-only credit card bill payment platform, allows users to pay off their credit cards on time and rewards its members for that.
Groww: The online trading platform, Groww entered the unicorn club after its Series D funding led by Tiger Global, where it received $83 million. The funding round also saw investments from existing investors such as Sequoia Capital India, Ribbit Capital, YC Continuity and Propel Venture Partners.
Groww, founded by ex-Flipkart employees Lalit Keshre, Harsh Jain, Neeraj Singh and Ishan Bansal in 2017, allows user to open an account and transact in mutual funds and stocks online. Groww claims more than 1.5 crore registered users across 900 cities on its platform.
ShareChat and Moj: The home-grown social media and social networking sites, ShareChat and Moj became the ninth unicorns of the year after its parent company, Mohalla Tech, raised $502 million funding from Tiger Global, Lightspeed, Twitter, Snap and other investors. This has taken the platform’s valuation up to $2.1 billion.
ShareChat, founded by Ankush Sachdeva, Bhanu Pratap Singh and Farid Ahsan, claims to have over 160 million users in India spread across Tier I and II cities. Short video platform Moj, which was launched in June, last year, soon after the ban on Chinese apps by the Government, features 15-second 1-minute videos across genres like dancing, singing, comedy, acting, apart from special effects, emoticon stickers and short videos.
Mohalla Tech will use the fresh capital to grow its user base, improve platform safety features besides 'doubling down on tech initiatives', as per the company.
Gupshup: The Silicon headquartered conversation messaging platform, Gupshup, became the tenth startup to turn unicorn this year after it raised $100 million from Tiger Global, bringing its valuation up to $1.4 billion.
Founded by Beerud Sheth in 2004, the San Francisco-headquartered company raised its last funding of $10 million in 2011.
The platform helps small and large businesses across industries, ranging from banking to hospitality and e-commerce, engage with their customers across verticals such as WhatsApp, SMS and social media.
ChargeBee: The San Francisco based Software as a Service (SaaS) startup raised $125 million in a Series G round funding. This was co-led by new investor Sapphire Ventures and existing investors Tiger Global and Insight Venture Partners along with Steadview Capital.
The funding has taken ChargeBee’s valuation up to $1.4 billion, tripling its valuation from $500 million, in less than six months. This infusion takes the total capital raised by the company to $230 million.
The billing and revenue management startup which helps companies automate their subscriptions billing, invoice and payment, took ten years to reach the Unicorn status.
Urban Company: The latest company to join the growing unicorn bandwagon, home services startup Urban Company turned Unicorn after it raised $188-million in a Series F funding round led by Prosus Ventures (Naspers).
According to reports, the latest funding also saw participation from Tiger Global via its funds Internet Fund V, while Wellington Management and DF Capital were other investors. The company is now valued at $2 billion.
The home services firm, which provides services such as beauty and wellness, home repair and services, event and wedding services, personal services and hobbies, operates in 30 cities including across India and in Abu Dhabi, Dubai, Riyadh, Sharjah, Singapore and Sydney.