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YourStory's Top 50 NewsMakers: Indian startups who ruled the headlines in 2019

YourStory's Top 50 NewsMakers of 2019 lists startups that scaled new heights this year, and are aiming to achieve even greater milestones in the coming year. From raising investments to achieving unicorn status, these startups raised the bar in 2019, even as some of them attracted their fair share of controversy.


The Top 50 NewsMakers of 2019 were selected based on a well-defined methodology that takes into consideration key valuation metrics and leverages the YourStory team’s rich experience and knowhow in the space. As the most prominent startup ecosystem enabler in India, YourStory is rightly equipped with the qualitative data and industry insights to create the most authentic listings of its kind.


To arrive at the rankings for the Top 50 Newsmakers, YourStory leveraged an online tool to compile a list of startups that received the most mentions in the news during the year. The jury, comprising YourStory senior editorial staff, industry experts, and research and data heads, narrowed down the initial compilation to 250 startups, following which the team underwent multiple deliberations to arrive at the list of 50 NewsMakers.



After scaling new heights during the year, these 50 startups are poised to lead the Indian startup ecosystem to higher ground in the year ahead.


Read more at: https://yourstory.com/2019/12/yourstory-list-50-disruptive-startups-newsmakers-india

PAYTM

Creating an internet ecosystem in India

PAYTM

About the company


Paytm is a payment gateway that provides payment services for customers and merchants. It is owned by One97 Communications, and backed by investors including SoftBank, SAIF Partners, Alibaba Group, and Ant Financial.


Milestones


The forerunner of the digital payments revolution in India, Paytm in 2019 went for acquisitions and investments to gain market leadership in sectors like hotel booking, entertainment, wealth management and, surprisingly, food delivery.


It also made waves in Japan, finding success with its digital payment product PayPay, a joint venture with SoftBank and Yahoo Japan. The total number of users on the PayPay network stood at 19 million a year after it was launched.


In January, it acquired hotel booking platform Nightstay, launching the domestic hotel booking category on its platform. It made an investment of Rs 31.68 Crore in Paytm Entertainment, its online and movie ticketing platform. In October, it participated in a $20 million investment in Paytm First Games, its joint venture with AGTech. Through the year, it also invested more than $9 million in Paytm Money.


But what caught attention was a $6.59 million investment in corporate food catering startup Hungerbox, raising question on whether Paytm was looking at food delivery.


In August, it also won the bid and acquired sponsorship rights for BCCI's international and domestic matches for the 2019-23 home season at a winning bid price of Rs 326.80 crore.


But 2019 wasn’t just about growing existing verticals. Paytm also announced its entry into the education space, to offer test preparation content, academic loans, and more. Keen to be the “internet ecosystem in India”, in November it set aside Rs 500 crore to invest in early-stage startups that can augment and provide value to its ecosystem.


But all wasn’t hunky-dory. Losses for Paytm’s parent, One97 Communications, widened even further to Rs 4,217.20 crore in FY19. This is a 163 percent increase from FY18, when consolidated losses stood at Rs 1,604.34 crore.


Notwithstanding all that, Vijay Shekhar Sharma, Founder, PayTm, has expressed his desire to take the company public. It has the backing of Japan’s SoftBank and US global investment behemoth T Rowe Price. But, raising funds at a valuation of almost $16 billion, will India’s most valuable startup be able to turn towards ‘profitability’ before going public?


Read more at: https://yourstory.com/companies/paytm



OLA

One of the biggest cab aggregators in India, Ola is the second most-valued unicorn

OLA

About the company


Ola is India’s largest mobility platform, and one of the world’s largest ride-hailing companies, serving over 250 cities across India, Australia, New Zealand, and the UK.


Milestones


The year 2019 began with a bang for the ride-hailing unicorn. It raised Rs 650 crore from Flipkart co-founder Sachin Bansal, and ended up garnering a total $2 billion funding in January.


It also saw its EV entity, Ola Electric, join the unicorn club this year. While it did face a regulatory challenge with the Karnataka government banning its services, the ride-hailing unicorn bounced back into operations.


In India, Ola claims to have over 125 million users and more than one million driver partners. It serves as many as one billion rides every year through its platform. The next stop for the ride hailing unicorn: an IPO.


According to sources, Ola is in advanced talks to raise about $150-200 million (Rs 1,050-1,400 crore) in funding from tech giant Microsoft.


Read more at: https://yourstory.com/companies/ola



SWIGGY

Going beyond food delivery

SWIGGY

About the company


Swiggy is the leading food delivery startup in India. The foodtech unicron started operations in 2014 in Bengaluru, and acts as a bridge between customers and restaurants.


Milestones


Swiggy began the year by raising $1 billion in one of the single highest rounds by a foodtech giant. Since then, the foodtech unicorn has steadily focused on expansion and growth.


The startup reached its five-year mark in 2019. It was also the year the unicorn started expanding its services beyond food delivery. While the foodtech giant fought a battle with National Restaurant Association of India (NRAI) over discounting, it grew significantly in 2019.


It launched ‘Daily’, its subscription-based homestyle meal service, and also launched Swiggy Go, its pickup and drop service that marked its entry into hyperlocal delivery.


This year, the startup also conducted its first-ever tech conference Gigabytes, where Sriharsha Majety, Co-founder and CEO, said the company aimed to have 100 million customers transacting over 15 times a month in the next 10 to 15 years.


He also said the startup would be investing significantly in access pods. The idea is that Swiggy Access provides kitchen spaces, called pods, to restaurants partners who don’t have a presence in an area.


For example, there is no presence of biryani chain Meghana Foods in Yelahanka, Bengaluru. A Swiggy Access pod will give Meghana Foods the option of setting up a kitchen in the area, and enable delivery of food in the area through Swiggy.


“Our pods would be within 10 minutes of 99 percent of our consumers. And close to 75 percent of our demand will come from supply that doesn’t exist today,” Harsha had said.


The team is looking to expand Swiggy Go to over 300 cities and Swiggy Stores to all the major metros by 2020, ushering in a new era of convenience for consumers across India.


Swiggy has till now completed over half a billion orders. Present in over 500 cities, it has on-boarded around 147,000 restaurants, and has over 2.1 lakh active delivery partners.


Read more at: https://yourstory.com/companies/swiggy



OYO

OYO has gone from being a hotel aggregator to a hotel brand in six years

OYO

About the company


In its short life, OYO Hotels and Homes has been variously described as a hotel aggregator, an online travel agency (OTA), and even a Ponzi scheme with an unsustainable business model, but never a hotel chain.


Milestones


The Gurugram-based startup began the year as a unicorn, and continued to hit new highs in the months that followed. It started by hiring former Indigo CEO Aditya Ghosh as India and South Asia CEO, and growing its international operations. Despite a cheating case being lodged against Ritesh Agarwal, OYO continued to march ahead to capture the hospitality industry.


This year, it took its homestay vertical, OYO Homes, to Dubai, expanded its operations in Philippines, and entered the US market. Apart from expanding in China, Southeast Asia, and the US, OYO pumped in 300 million euros into the European market. It also launched hotel operations in Japan in a joint venture with SoftBank.


The startup acquired holiday home network Belvilla in Amsterdam. It also entered the $3 billion coworking market with the acquisition of Gurugram-based co-working space Innov8 for Rs 220 crore. After completing one year of OYO Life, the company looked to expand deeper into student accommodation. It also acquired Copenhagen-based data science company Danamica and expanded into Latin America markets.


The startup worked its way into the cloud-kitchen space as well with a small experiment. It is now set to launch its own coffee chain The French Press.


OYO and its founder Ritesh Agarwal have also been in news this year for buying back stake worth $1.2 billion from one of their largest investors, SoftBank.


Read more at: https://yourstory.com/companies/oyo



ZOMATO

Tasting success and spreading wings

ZOMATO

About the company


Starting up at a time when the words startup and foodtech didn’t exist, Zomato has grown into a unicorn valued at $2.3 billion, and has raised $600 million in funding. Yet, over the 10 years of its existence, the company’s focus has been just this - to make food more accessible to the consumer in every way.


Milestones


The year 2019 was a mixed bag for Zomato. Late last year, a viral video of a delivery executive eating food from an order made waves, after which the foodtech giant immediately took measures to launch tamper-proof packaging.


This year, Zomato also locked horns with the National Restaurant Association of India (NRAI), over discounting. The startup was trending on Twitter for a while with #UninstallZomato movement, after a resident of Madhya Pradesh made a fuss over a non-Hindu delivery boy being assigned to deliver food.


All that notwithstanding, the Gurugram-based unicorn began the year by raising $40 million led by US-based private investor Glade Brook. The funding was part of Zomato’s larger $1 billion round. It also made headway by experimenting with different modes of delivery. Last year, Zomato acquired drone startup TechEagle, and successfully tested delivery via drones in 2019. It also joined the green movement by beginning deliveries on bicycles.


Zomato also launched an experience centre for delivery partners. The startup also shut down its loyalty programme, PiggyBank, and its Infinity Dining Option (which it had started in July).


In September, Zomato forayed into the world of video streaming. It aims to launch 18 original shows over the next three months; these shows will be available under a new “Videos” tab in the Zomato app.


The startup also announced results for FY19. As per documents filed with the Registrar of Companies (RoC), the company’s revenue for this year soared to Rs 1,397 crore, marking a 188 percent jump from the revenue of Rs 485 crore reported for the previous financial year.


Read more at: https://yourstory.com/companies/zomato



CRED

Cred offers rewards for paying credit card bills on time

CRED

About the company


Cred is the second venture of FreeCharge co-founder Kunal Shah. It lets credit card holders pay bills through an app, and gives them benefits via Cred coins and gems. These virtual coins can be redeemed across coffee shops, movie theatres, ecommerce sites, etc.


Milestones


Owned and operated by Dreamplug Technologies Pvt Ltd, Cred secured Series B funding of $120 million in August this year, led by fintech fund Ribbit Capital, DST Global’s Gemini Investments, as well as existing investor Sequoia Capital (through its fund SCI Investments V).


This was one of the largest funding rounds for a less-than-a-year-old Indian company. With this round of funding, the total valuation of the startup stood at around $450 million.


The funds are being used for international expansion as well as to develop newer products in partnership with banks. Other investors participated in the round include Russian tech fund RTP Global (earlier Ru-Net), Asia based investment management firm HillHouse, Tiger Global, Greenoaks Capital, as well as DF International. US-based General Catalyst and Dragoneer also participated in the funding round.


Read more at: https://yourstory.com/companies/cred



BIGBASKET

India’s first online grocery unicorn

BIGBASKET

About the company


Bigbasket is India's largest online food and grocery store that delivers products to customers' doorstep.


Milestones


In May this year, Supermarket Grocery, which operates Bigbasket, received $150 million in funding led by South Korea’s Mirae Asset-Naver Asia Growth Fund, UK’s CDC Group, and existing investor Alibaba. The company’s valuation surpassed $1 billion, making it India’s first online grocery startup to enter the coveted unicorn club.


Despite intensified competition, Bigbasket enjoys the first-mover advantage and has managed to ward off competition from Amazon with its multiple grocery delivery models and stayed ahead of Grofers, which is funded by the likes of Tiger Global and SoftBank.


In 2019, Bigbasket continued to focus on three new businesses: BB Daily, BB Instant, and BB Beauty Store. It upped sales with BB Star, a membership programme for customers.


Bigbasket’s private label business also grew, driven by lower prices and higher margins. About 35 percent of its revenue comes from private labels. On the B2B side, the startup served its private label to more than 1,000 kiranas, corporates, and HoReCa (hotels, restaurants, cafes).


The startup claims to have generated Rs 3,200 crore in revenue in FY19.


Read more at: https://yourstory.com/companies/big-basket



INDIAMART

One of the first online B2B marketplace to go public

INDIAMART

About the company


IndiaMart is an online B2B marketplace for business products and services, connecting buyers with suppliers. The company focuses on providing a platform to Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs), large enterprises, as well as individuals.


Milestones


The 23-year-old company that was set up at the height of the dot com boom and went on to survive the bust, launched its Initial Public Offer (IPO) on June 24, 2019, with a price band of Rs 970-973 to raise over Rs 474 crore. The company offered 48,87,862 equity shares in the issue, which closed on June 26.


The IPO was subscribed 51 percent on the first day of bidding, and 36.16 times on the final day.


The Rs 475-crore IPO received bids for 9,73,85,775 shares against the total issue size of 26,92,824 shares, according to NSE data. The qualified institutional buyers' book was subscribed close to 30.83 times, non-institutional investors 62.12 times, and retail individual investors 13.37 times.


Read more at: https://yourstory.com/companies/indiamart



SHARECHAT

ShareChat is India’s largest regional social media platform

SHARECHAT

About the company


ShareChat allows users to discover and share content in Indian languages. It currently offers its services in 15 Indian languages including Hindi, Malayalam, Gujarati, Marathi, Punjabi, Telugu, Tamil, Bengali, Odia, Kannada, Assamese, Haryanvi, Rajasthani, and Bhojpuri.


Milestones


In August 2019, ShareChat raised $100 million in Series D round led by Twitter. Other than Twitter, TrustBridge Partners and existing investors Shunwei Capital, Lightspeed Venture Partners, SAIF Capital, India Quotient and Morningside Venture Capital participated in the funding round. The company said it will strengthen the technology infrastructure with the latest funding.


The company also achieved the milestone of reaching 60 million monthly active users this August this year, and in September started its monetisation journey and reached out to brands that could advertise on its platform.


ShareChat’s revenue rose manifold to Rs 25.8 crore in FY19 from Rs 1.7 crore in the previous fiscal. As of 2019, the company has grown from 100 employees in December 2018 to over 300 employees. The company is planning to hire about 150-200 people in the next few months to attain a total headcount of around 400-450 people by December next year.


Read more at: https://yourstory.com/companies/sharechat



ATHER ENERGY

One of India’s most prominent EV manufacturers

ATHER ENERGY

About Company

Ather Energy is an electric vehicle company that manufactures electric scooters. It has established one of the fastest electric vehicle charging infrastructure, Ather Grid, which was built and designed in India.


Milestones


In May 2019, Ather raised $51 million in Series C funding round led by Sachin Bansal and InnoVen Capital.

Bengaluru-based Ather said it intends to utilise the fresh capital in setting up a new manufacturing facility that can produce one million EVs annually. It said it will also open 6,500 Ather Grid charging points across the country in the next five years.


The startup is now looking to expand beyond Bengaluru, and has opened pre-orders in Chennai this year. By 2023, it will further scale up its presence in 30 cities across the country. Reports project Ather Energy to hit one million in scooter sales of by 2023.


One of India’s largest EV startups, Ather is also building newer products. With over 51 patent applications, 113 trademarks, and 123 design registrations to its name, its current valuation is estimated to be about $400 million.


Its current products, the Ather 340 and Ather 450, are priced at Rs 1.1 lakh and Rs 1.3 lakh, respectively.


Read more at: https://yourstory.com/companies/ather-energy



LOCUS

Blazing ahead with new proprietary technology

LOCUS

About the company


Operated by Mara Labs Inc., Locus uses proprietary algorithms and deep learning to optimise supply chains with real-time tracking, insights and analytics, dynamic sales journey plans, efficient warehouse management, and vehicle allocation and utilisation.


ICRA Research has forecast the domestic logistics sector to grow at eight to 10 percent over the medium term with the outlook remaining largely stable.


Milestones


Locus is one of the four B2B logistics startups to have raised money this year, winning over marquee investors like Tiger Global, which has so far made significant B2C bets in the Indian startup ecosystem.


In May 2019, Locus secured $22 million in Series B round led by Falcon Edge Capital and Tiger Global Management, with participation from existing investors Exfinity Venture Partners and Blume Ventures. This round took the value of Locus to nearly $100 million.


The startup plans to enter several new markets including North America and Europe while strengthening its presence in Southeast Asia.


In August 2019, Locus also launched enhanced features that focus on improving FADR i.e First Attempt Delivery rate for ecommerce and 3PL companies. It has developed proprietary Geocoding engines to help FADR that converts ad hoc addresses to accurate delivery locations and route optimisation solution. Dispatcher that generates daily dynamic delivery plans. At its peak, the platform has processed 1 million orders a day.


Read more at: https://yourstory.com/companies/locus



SNAPDEAL

Clawing its way back

SNAPDEAL

About the company


Snapdeal is an ecommerce startup that has grown to become one of the largest online marketplaces in India. Like its rivals Flipkart and Amazon.in, Snapdeal is host to 200 million listings and offers products across 600 categories.


After a disastrous 2017, when it was bogged down by tough competition, Snapdeal made headlines owing to its comeback this year.


Milestones


In 2019, Snapdeal worked to not only shore up its revenue but also narrow its losses. The company has since seen a bump in its valuation and is again in talks with investors.


Jasper Infotech, which owns and operates Snapdeal, posted a consolidated revenue of Rs 925 crore in FY19, compared to the year-ago period when revenue was at Rs 536 crore. The ecommerce major also posted

consolidated losses of Rs 186 crore, down from a massive loss of Rs 611 crore in the previous financial year.


This year, the company also raised undisclosed funds from Anand Piramal. Media reports said the online marketplace was in initial talks to raise a fresh round of funding. Snapdeal was also said to be in talks to raise about $100 million from new and existing investors, including Japan’s SoftBank. If things pan out, this will be the company’s first major fundraise in the last three years.


The discussions between Snapdeal and various investors peg the company’s valuation between $800 million and $1.2 billion. The company is currently doing net revenue of about $140 million.


Read more at: https://yourstory.com/companies/snapdeal



FRESHWORKS

Poised to be India’s first product company to go the IPO route

FRESHWORKS

About the company


Freshworks is a SaaS startup, disrupting traditional CRM, ITSM, Customer Support, and Marketing Automation with its complete customer engagement suite, Freshworks360. In 2018, the company crossed the $100-million mark in annual recurring revenue and entered the coveted unicorn club.


Milestones


In May 2019, Freshworks acquired Natero, a California-based customer success software for B2B SaaS companies founded by veterans of big data and distributed systems. At the time, the company said that Natero’s technology would help Freshworks put actionable data in the hands of customer success professionals, helping them account expansion and manage more customers with fewer resources.


In November 2019, the startup raised its Series H round of funding, signing definitive agreements for $150 million. The round was led by existing investors Sequoia Capital, CapitalG, and Freshworks’ first investor Accel. The B2B SaaS unicorn will use the funding to further Freshworks’ worldwide expansion as well as accelerate investments in its integrated SaaS platform.


As part of this effort, the startup also announced its Customer-for-Life Cloud, which establishes a common data platform across all of its customer engagement products.


With 35,000 paying SMBs, mid-market and enterprise customers across the globe, Freshworks reaches 220,000 customers. Now, at a valuation of $3.5 billion, it is poised to be the first product company from India that could go the IPO route.


Read more at: https://yourstory.com/companies/freshworks



CURE.FIT

Taking health and fitness global

CURE.FIT

About the company


Launched in 2016, Cure.fit is a healthcare startup that leverages technology and data to enable people to live a healthy lifestyle and get access to state-of-the-art healthcare at an affordable cost.


The startup has integrated four verticals holistically. While Cult.fit caters to physical fitness, mind.fit is for mental wellbeing, eat.fit for healthy food, and care.fit looks at personalised healthcare services, including consultation and diagnostics.



Milestones


The company continued on its path to success in 2019, crossing the 100-centre mark in Bengaluru and 200-centre mark across India, expanding to Ahmedabad, Punjab, Mysuru, and Kolkata. It also took eat.fit to Ahmedabad, Chennai, Pune, and Mysuru this year.


Cult.fit, which has grown through its acquisitions of Fitness First, Cult and Tribe Fitness, aims to be accessible to consumers in 50 Indian cities across 800 centres by 2020. But it's also eyeing international expansion. In June, a centre was launched at Palm Strip Mall in Dubai, the first international launch for the company.


The company was in the news again when cure.fit had to settle a dispute out of court with BYG, a marketplace to discover and book fitness centres, in October 2019. But cult.fit continued to grow, going on to launch cultsport, a one-stop-shop for sportswear needs.


Read more at: https://yourstory.com/companies/curefit



BOOKMYSHOW

The go-to online ticketing platform in India

BOOKMYSHOW

About the company


BookMyShow is an online ticketing platform, which presents its clients with a slew of options to purchase tickets - from music concerts, stand-up comic acts, plays, and movies to major sporting events.


Milestones


The startup saw strong growth in 2019. It sold tickets worth Rs 350 crore through the 3,500 sporting events listed on its platform, thereby achieving a three-fold increase in its sports offering.


Besides, BookMyShow also partnered with the American Sports League National Basketball Association (NBA) with a view to promote and market the event in India.


This year, the ticketing platform made a strategic investment in Pune-based payments company AtomX. However, the amount of the deal was undisclosed. It also announced a five-year strategic partnership with Dubai's largest indoor multipurpose arena, Coca-Cola Arena. This collaboration entails ‘preferred ticketing rights’ to all events taking place at the arena between 2019 to 2024, and is seen as an indication of its ambitions for the Middle East market.


The Mumbai-headquartered startup also inked a five-year deal for movie ticket booking with Amazon recently.


Read more at: https://yourstory.com/companies/bookmyshow



UDAAN

Disrupting the B2B ecommerce space

UDAAN

About the company


Udaan, the startup that doesn't have a CEO, is disrupting offline distribution with its unique B2B model. Started in 2016 by former Flipsters (Flipkart employees), it brings the benefits of online commerce to manufacturers, traders, suppliers, and wholesalers in smaller towns. Udaan is also currently India’s fastest growing unicorn.


Milestones


This year, Udaan reached many new milestones. It secured funding of $585 million from existing and fresh investors in an environment not really conducive for large pay cheques.


The startup’s growth, since it began operations in 2017, has actually opened newer vistas that gives it a strong foothold for the creation of services such as fintech, warehousing, and logistics among others.


The startup aimed to use the new funds to grow the marketplace, go deeper into existing categories, and invest in core capabilities like its tech marketplace platform, fulfilment and delivery, lending, and payments.


Focused on horizontal B2B ecommerce, Udaan currently has operations across lifestyle, home and kitchen, staples, fruits and vegetables, FMCG, toys, and general merchandise. The platform helps SMEs like small manufacturers, brands, mills, and farmers to sell their products across the country at a low cost.


Read more at: https://yourstory.com/companies/udaan



REVERIE

Reverie plans to win language equality with ‘a very Indian deal’ with Reliance

REVERIE

About the company


Reverie Technologies is a local language technology service startup, which helps netizens converse, transact, and collaborate in their native language.


Milestones


This year proved to be a truly defining year for Reverie as it was acquired by the country’s most-valuable publicly traded company, Reliance Industries, for Rs 190 crore. It also received an additional Rs 77 crore in investment.


With this, the startup can access the deep trove of data Reliance has and get funds for expansion. The Indian conglomerate, in turn, will work with Reverie to integrate its services in the group’s different digital consumer platforms.


The startup has set itself a goal for the next three years – to reach 500 million users, become a market leader in Indian language technologies, and be the Indian company that defines and implements Indian language technology standards.


Read more at: https://yourstory.com/companies/reverie



PHONEPE

India’s 'uncalled’ unicorn is fending off stiff competition in digital payments

PHONEPE

About the company


PhonePe is a digital wallet company owned by Flipkart, and one of the first payments app built on Unified Payments Interface (UPI).


Milestones


There is no doubt that fintech startup PhonePe is one of the brightest stars in the Flipkart-Walmart universe. Being the first non-banking app to seize on the opportunity of offering UPI payments back in 2017, PhonePe kicked off its offline strategy this January. It quickly scaled it to five million offline acceptance points by June, showcasing 5X growth in just nine months.


As the tussle to be at the top continued, PhonePe, for the first time (after Google Pay and Paytm’s entry), claimed to be the market leader for total UPI payments in August, registering close to 343 million transactions. It also claimed to have achieved an annual TPV (total payment volume) run rate of $95 billion, marking a 5X growth in the past year.


The startup also entered the financial services and wealth management arena, allowing users to invest in mutual funds through its platform. Now, PhonePe is trying to raise a $1 billion in funding from strategic external investors.


Chinese conglomerate Tencent and South African internet group Naspers (which owns PayU) are also looking to back the company.


But, on the back of tremendous growth and euphoria are widening losses as PhonePe reported Rs 1,907 crore in losses in FY19, compared to Rs 791 crore in FY18. On the other hand, it generated revenue of Rs 245.8 crore in FY19, compared to Rs 49 crore in FY18.


The startup also took to cricket to increase its visibility, becoming the official co-presenting sponsor for the TV broadcast of VIVO IPL 2019 and the official co-presenting sponsor for the TV broadcast of ICC World Cup 2019.


Read more at: https://yourstory.com/companies/phonepe



UNACADEMY

India’s largest learning platform

UNACADEMY

About the company


Unacademy connects expert educators with students looking for quality education. The startup claims it has more than 13 million learners on its platform, over 50,000 subscribers for its Unacademy Plus Subscription, and 400 teachers across 20 exam categories, including competitive ones such as UPSC, IIT-JEE, and CAT.


Milestones


In 2019, the learning platform made headlines when its Co-founder and CEO Gaurav Munjal said over Twitter that the company will be buying back shares from the employees whose stocks are vested. Gaurav said that team members can sell up to 30 percent of their vested stocks.


In June, the Bengaluru-based edtech startup raised $50 million in Series D funding round from Steadview Capital, Sequoia India, Nexus Venture Partners, and Blume Ventures.


This funding round also saw the participation of Aakrit Vaish (Co-founder and CEO, Haptik) and Sujeet Kumar (Co-founder and CEO, Udaan). Besides, Gaurav Munjal and Roman Saini also invested in this round.


Media reports suggest that Unacademy is now valued at over $200 million – a 2X jump in valuation since its Series C round. The startup said it will use the investment to onboard more educators, fuel growth across multiple exam categories, and build product and team. Earlier in April, Flipkart CEO Kalyan Krishnamurthy was reported to have topped his investment in the startup.


Read more at: https://yourstory.com/companies/unacademy



DREAM11

The first Indian gaming startup to enter the coveted ‘unicorn’ club

DREAM11

About the company


Dream11 is a fantasy sports platform, letting users create their own team of real-life players, score points, and compete with others.


Milestones


Tencent-backed Dream11 is the poster child of India’s fantasy gaming ecosystem. In April this year, Dream11 joined the unicorn club with a valuation of over $1 billion. The Mumbai-based gaming startup confirmed the news following the completion of a secondary investment by Steadview Capital.


In 2019, BCCI signed up Dream11 as the IPL’s official fantasy sports partner until 2022. Dream11 currently occupies 90 percent of the domestic fantasy sports market, according to a joint report by the Indian Federation of Sports Gaming (IFSG) and KPMG.


Of the overall user base of 51 million, Dream11’s paid players are just about 15 percent.


Since its Series A round of funding, the company has witnessed phenomenal growth with a 100x increase in user base from 0.3 million users to 50 million recently.


Read more at: https://yourstory.com/companies/dream11



SETU

A startup that helps every other startup be a fintech company

SETU

About the company


Setu is an application programming interface (API) infrastructure startup, which offers APIs across bill payments, savings, credit, and payments.


Milestones


In April 2019, the startup raised $3.5 million (approximately Rs 24.5 crore) as a part of a Seed round led by Lightspeed India Partners, with participation from Bharat Inclusion Seed Fund.


At present, it offers open APIs across four categories – bills, savings, credit, and payments. Any developer can access its sandbox to build an application and go through a rigorous developer certification program to go live. This makes it easy for all companies to plug-and-play financial services rather than spend significant effort and time for one-off integrations.


Setu’s current product ‘Collect’ is enabling billers to collect dues, get credit alerts, and push receipts to customers, hence automating the process.


Read more at: https://yourstory.com/companies/setu



NYKAA

India’s one-and-only beauty soonicorn

NYKAA

About the company


Nykaa was started as an ecommerce platform for beauty and wellness products, which has now forayed into offline stores.


Currently, everything sold on Nykaa is sourced directly from the brand. It works as a direct seller, and is an inventory-based retailer, not a marketplace. At present, Nykaa sells about three lakh products across 1,500 brands.


Milestones


This April, Nykaa raised Rs 100 crore ($14 million) from Singapore-based TPG Growth IV SF. After the funding, its valuation is reported to have touched $724 million, making it a strong contender for the revered unicorn club in its next round of funding.


Beyond its online presence, Nykaa has more than 50 offline stores across India. The company claims that more than one lakh customers have shopped via Nykaa to date.


The startup launched its first offline store in Delhi in 2015, and a private label in 2015. Last year, Nykaa launched NykaaNetwork, an interactive beauty forum where subscribers could chat with each other, and the NykaaDesignStudio for apparel in designer and premium brands.


Around the same time, it also launched NykaaMan, an exclusive ecommerce platform for men’s personal care products.


Just a week before its fundraise, it acquired members-only platform 20Dresses.com for an undisclosed amount in a move.


Read more at: https://yourstory.com/companies/nykaa



BYJU'S

BYJU’S is India’s only edtech unicorn

BYJU'S

About the company


Officially incorporated in 2011 as Think & Learn Pvt Ltd, which is today better recognised by its brand name BYJU’S – The Learning App, Byju Raveendran’s edtech startup is one of the prestigious brands to have come out of India in the last decade.


The startup is India’s only edtech unicorn, and its founder is the newest member of the country’s coveted billionaire’s club.


Milestones


In July this year, the startup raised $150 million investment led by the sovereign wealth fund of the State of Qatar - Qatar Investment Authority (QIA) along with participation from Owl Ventures. The fundraise not only strengthened BYJU’S financial backbone but also pushed its valuation to $5.7 billion.


With this, founder Byju Raveendran was reported to be holding a 21 percent stake in the company and a place in the coveted unicorn club.


In June, the company joined forces with US-based media tycoon Disney’s India arm to launch the Disney-BYJU’S Early Learn app for the domestic market. The specially curated app offers personalised learning programmes to children aged between six and eight.


Prior to the fundraise led by the sovereign wealth fund, the company secured Rs 214 crore in funding from its existing investors - New York-headquartered equity firm General Atlantic and Chinese conglomerate Tencent - for global expansion.


It announced to have tripled its revenue to Rs 1,430 crore in FY 18-19, and also turned profitable on a full-year basis. This is besides the BYJU’S app recording a high adoption and close to 85 percent annual renewal from small towns and cities.


Read more at: https://yourstory.com/companies/byjus



MOBIKWIK

Marching towards profitability and gunning for an IPO by 2022

MOBIKWIK

About the company


MobiKwik, India's issuer-independent digital financial services platform, leverages a sophisticated product and merchant acquisition capabilities. It has a network of over three million direct merchants, 140+ billers, and 107 million-plus users. It records over 1 million transactions/ day.


Founded in 2009



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