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Top Indian Startups

1. Sachin Bansal, Flipkart

Sachin Bansal started Flipkart in 2007 from a one-room apartment in Bangalore along with his schoolmate Binny Bansal. The store started by selling books online and later expanded to categories such as apparel and electronics.

Now valued at over US$17 billion, Flipkart is amongst the top 10 ecommerce companies in the world. Earlier an employee at Amazon India, Sachin is now amongst the wealthiest internet millionaires in India. He relegated the CEO role to Binny, this week.

  • Funding amount: US$3.2 billion
  • Key Investors: Tiger Global, Accel Partners, Naspers, DST Global, Iconiq Capital, Greenoaks Capital, Steadview Capital, GIC, Investment Authority, Morgan Stanley, Sofina, T. Rowe Price Associates, etc.
  • Latest funding stage: Series H
  • Industry: Ecommerce

2. Kunal Bahl, Snapdeal

After being denied extension of his work visa in the US, Kunal Bahl, a former employee at Microsoft, returned to India in 2008. Along with his schoolmate Rohit Bansal, Kunal experimented with various businesses over the course of four years before setting up Snapdeal as a discount coupons and daily deals site.

Seeing the success of Flipkart in India, Kunal pivoted Snapdeal to conventional ecommerce in 2012, and business picked up from there.

Kunal is known in India as the master of pivots, having successfully changed multiple business models in the past five years.

  • Funding amount: US$1.53 billion
  • Key Investors: SoftBank Corp, Ru-Net Holdings, Tybourne, PremjiInvest, Temasek, Bessemer Venture Partners, IndoUS Ventures, Kalaari Capital, Saama Capital, Nexus Ventures, Ratan Tata, etc.
  • Latest funding stage: Series I
  • Industry: Ecommerce

3. Bhavish Aggarwal, Ola

Co-founded in 2010 by tech graduate Bhavish Aggarwal, Ola Cabs is the biggest online taxi and car aggregator in India today, strongly rivalling Uber.

The transportation startup was founded in Mumbai and raised angel funds from Snapdeal co-founder Kunal Bahl and Shaadi founder Anupam Mittal. Valued at over US$5 billion now, Ola has about 250,000 cabs and auto rickshaws in its app, operational in about 85 Indian cities.

  • Funding amount: US$1.17 billion
  • Key Investors: SoftBank, Didi Kuaidi, Tiger Global, DST Global, Matrix Partners and Sequoia Capital
  • Latest funding stage: Series F
  • Industry: Transportation, logistics

4. Vijay Shekhar Sharma, Paytm

Born in a small town near Delhi, Vijay Shekhar Sharma was the first amongst his immediate family to graduate from a tech school and then travel overseas for a job. Vijay launched One97 as a telecoms software company in the early 2000s and later pivoted it to Paytm, an online marketplace in 2009.

Paytm is now widely used for payments and mobile credit top-ups. The company last year raised about US$700 million in capital from Ant Financial, the affiliate epayments division of Chinese ecommerce powerhouse Alibaba.

  • Funding amount: US$935 million
  • Key Investors: Ant Financial Services (Alibaba), SAIF Partners.
  • Latest funding stage: Series K
  • Industry: Online payments, ecommerce

5. Pranay Chulet, Quikr

Hailing from Rajasthan, Pranay Chulet is an alumnus of the Indian Institute of Technology, Delhi, and the Indian Institute of Management, Calcutta.

After working in consulting firms such as PricewaterhouseCoopers and Booz Allen Hamilton, Chulet started Quikr. It’s now one of India’s largest online classifieds portals, the only bigger rival being the Indian version of OLX.

In 2007, Pranay started his first entrepreneurial venture, Excellere. In 2008, he founded Kijiji India, which was later rebranded as Quikr.

Pranay is known amongst startup circles as one of the most passionate movie buffs, and on weekends you can catch him watching the latest flick at home or at the cinema.

  • Funding amount: US$350 million
  • Key Investors: Warburg Pincus, Omidyar Network, and AB Kinnevik.
  • Latest funding stage: Series H
  • Industry: Classifieds

6. Naveen Tewari, InMobi

Naveen Tewari is the founder and CEO of InMobi, a global mobile advertising platform.

Hailing from a family of professors, Naveen Tewari continued his lineage
and completed his tech studies at the Indian Institute of Technology in 2000. Here he met his future co-founders Amit Gupta and Abhay Singhal. The trio later formed Mkhoj in 2007, an SMS-based search engine. The company tanked and Naveen recalls in his blog running the company bills on credit cards.

That first startup pivoted to become mobile ad platform InMobi, which got funded with US$200 million from Softbank, the largest such funding in the mobile ad space in the world up to 2011. It was also the largest VC funding ever in India at the time.

  • Funding amount: US$315 million
  • Key Investors: SoftBank, Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers.
  • Latest funding stage: Undisclosed
  • Industry: Online ad networks

7. Deepinder Goyal, Zomato

After collecting and pinning menus on his office soft board at Bain & Co, Deepinder Goyal decided to give his hobby a digital push by scanning the menus on a website for everyone to see. The site became popular. Deepinder and his colleague at Bain, Pankaj Chaddah, decided to pursue it commercially.

In 2008, they hired a CEO for their venture. After 18 months, the duo decided to quit their jobs and live the startup life full-time. The website soon listed 1,200 restaurants in New Delhi – and the team hasn’t looked back since. It has expanded to over 22 countries.

However, as typical Indian parents, Deepinder’s parents advised him to shut it down and go back to a proper job. He did not listen. The company is now valued at close to US$1 billion.

  • Funding amount: US$223 million
  • Key Investors: Info Edge, Temasek, Sequoia Capital and Vy Capital.
  • Latest funding stage: Series G
  • Industry: Search

8. Albinder Dhindsa, Grofers

A former early employee at Zomato, Albinder Dhindsa started Grofers in 2013 with co-founder Saurabh Kumar. Grofers is a hyperlocal shopping startup. Albinder worked in Silicon Valley before coming back to India to work at Zomato, which was founded by his childhood friend Deepinder Goyal.

Within two years, Grofers has expanded to most major Indian cities.

  • Funding amount: US$166.5 million
  • Key Investors: SoftBank, Tiger Global and Sequoia Capital.
  • Latest funding stage: Series C
  • Industry: Logistics, ecommerce

9. TA Krishnan, Ecom Express

Nearing 50, TA Krishnan, India head of Blue Dart Express, resigned to start up an ecommerce logistics company called Ecom Express. Three other senior members quit Blue Dart to join in and the company started operations in 2013.

It’s one of the foremost names for ecommerce deliveries and has expanded operations to over 200 cities. Last year the Gurgaon-based startup raised US$133 million in one of the largest funding rounds in this space in India.

  • Funding amount: US$149.5 million
  • Key Investors: Warburg Pincus and Peepul Capital.
  • Latest funding stage: Series B
  • Industry: Search

10. Phanindra Sama, Redbus

During Diwali in 2005, Bangalore-based Phanindra Sama wanted to travel to his hometown in Hyderabad but couldn’t find any available seats. He decided to solve this problem by co-founding Redbus, an online bus ticketing startup, which is the largest such portal in India.

In 2013, Phanindra sold his startup to Naspers-backed Ibibo for about US$100 million. In startup circles, Phani (as he is called) professes Indian values of thrift and humility in life or building a business, even after having a bumper exit.

  • Funding amount: US$140 million
  • Key Investors: Helion Venture Partners, Seedfund and Inventus Capital.
  • Latest funding stage: Acquired for US$130 million
  • Industry: Travel, ecommerce

11. Ritesh Aggarwal, OyoRooms

At 21 years of age, Ritesh Aggarwal is India’s youngest millionaire entrepreneur, having created budget hotel startup OyoRooms. Ironically, Ritesh was thrown out of rented place in New Delhi when he couldn’t pay the rent. He slept the night in the stairway.

Ritesh had come to Delhi to study in college. But after just three days he realized that formal education is not something he wants to waste his time on. He dropped out and started a bed-and-breakfast chain called Oravel Stays, which later pivoted to become OyoRooms.

When his parents got to know their son had dropped out, they became angry. “My mother said who will give a daughter to my son for marriage now,” says Ritesh.

  • Funding amount: US$130 million
  • Key Investors: SoftBank, Lightspeed, and Sequoia Capital.
  • Latest funding stage: Series C
  • Industry: Ecommerce, travel

12. Ambareesh Murty, PepperFry

Ambareesh Murty was heading eBay in India before starting PepperFry, a home furnishings marketplace in 2012. Ambareesh teamed up with Ashish Shah, former head of eBay Motors in India and the Philippines, to start the venture.

The Mumbai-based startup made news in 2015 for raising about US$100 million in series D funding led by Goldman Sachs and Zodius Technology Fund.

PepperFry competes with young sites such as UrbanLadder and Fabfurnish – plus the online shopping titan Flipkart.

  • Funding amount: US$128 million
  • Key Investors: Bertelsmann India, Norwest Venture Partners, Goldman Sachs, and Zodius Capital.
  • Latest funding stage: Series D
  • Industry: Ecommerce

13. Sahil Barua, Delhivery

It’s rightly said in Indian ecommerce circles that it’s the delivery guys who make the most money – while online retailers burn it. It stands true for Sahil Barua’s ecommerce and last-mile logistics firm Delhivery.

The startup got its first client, UrbanTouch, a fashion apparel retailer, in 2011. UrbanTouch closed down, but Gurgaon-based Delhivery is running strong with over 15,000 employees and 2,000 clients. Within four years, the company has expanded to over 350 cities. Global.

  • Funding amount: US$126.5 million
  • Key Investors: Times Internet Group, Nexus Venture Partners, and Tiger Global.
  • Latest funding stage: Series D
  • Industry: Logistics

14. Shashank ND, Practo

An Uber for finding doctors in India, Bangalore-based Practo last year raised US$90 million in fresh capital led by China’s Tencent.

Practo was founded in 2010 when co-founder Shashank ND could not easily get a second opinion on his father’s health. Now the company is India’s largest appointment booking system with over 200,000 enlisted doctors. Practo also made news in 2015 for its four buy-outs of smaller rivals.

The startup also operates in Singapore.

  • Funding amount: US$124 million
  • Key Investors: Tencent, Sofina, Sequoia Capital, Altimeter Capital, and Matrix Partners.
  • Latest funding stage: Series D
  • Industry: Healthcare

15. Kunal Shah, FreeCharge

Kunal Shah was one of the startup newsmakers of 2015 when he sold his startup, Freecharge, to Snapdeal for about US$400 million.

Kunal co-founded FreeCharge in 2010 in India. Since most people use prepaid credit for their phones, he started bundling cashbacks and coupons with each phone top-up. Initially many retailers laughed at this couponing idea, saying that it would never work. However, the bet worked and Freecharge soon became the most popular way to top-up prepaid mobile phones in India apart from via telcos.

Kunal’s first startup venture was a company named Paisaback, which provided cashback promotions for retailers.

  • Funding amount: US$117 million
  • Key Investors: Sequoia Capital, Tybourne, Sofina, Valiant Capital and RuNet.
  • Latest funding stage: Acquired
  • Industry: Ecommerce

16. Sanjay Sethi, ShopClues, Gurgaon

Founded in July 2011 by eBay’s former global product dead, Sanjay Sethi, along with former Wall Street analyst Sandeep Aggarwal, Shopclues had its genesis in California when the two friends decided to move back to India with families to go into ecommerce with a new venture.

Over the years, Gurgaon-based Shopclues has faced lot of hurdles, including rivals like Snapdeal and Flipkart getting larger funding rounds, plus a legal case thrust upon one of its co-founders. The founding team under Sanjay and Radhika Aggarwal (Sandeep’s wife) stood their ground and managed to scale to 900 people and 100 million monthly visitors.

Shopclues went on to raise US$100 million last year from key invetors

  • Funding amount: US$116 million
  • Key Investors: Tiger Global, Helion and Nexus Venture Partners.
  • Latest funding stage: Series D
  • Industry: Ecommerce

17. Rahul Yadav, Housing

Known as the enfant terrible of India’s startup industry, there was no other CEO who got written about so much in 2015 as the former CEO of Housing, Rahul Yadav.

A dropout from IIT-Bombay, Rahul and eleven of his college friends started real estate classifieds portal Housing in 2012. The company went on to raise US$100 million from key investors, the largest such funding in the space ever, globally. However, things turned against Rahul when he blew a substantial amount of money on a marketing campaign over the course of just a few weeks. He also got into trouble for some things he said, such as when he questioned the intellect of his board members. He resigned, and then withdrew his resignation, and subsequently distributed all his shares amongst his employees – all that drama within one week.

He is now starting Intelligent Interfaces, a data analytics startup.

  • Funding amount: US$111.5 million
  • Key Investors: Softbank, Helion, and Nexus Venture Partners.
  • Latest funding stage: Series C
  • Industry: Classifieds

18. Suchi Mukherjee, LimeRoad

Suchi Mukherjee runs Gurgaon-based LimeRoad, India’s boutique fashion marketplace for women.

A former eBay UK senior executive, Suchi has managed to raise about US$50 million for her startup from marquee investors.

  • Funding amount: ~ US$50 million
  • Key Investors: Tiger Global, Lightspeed Venture Partners, and Matrix Partners India.
  • Latest funding stage: Series C
  • Industry: Ecommerce

19. VSS Mani, JustDial

Founded in 1996 by VSS Mani, Mumbai-based Just Dial is now a household name. It offers classifieds listings of small businesses for an annual fee. People can can search for businesses via phone, SMS, the website, or now through the mobile app.

The company was started in Mumbai with a few pieces of borrowed furniture, rented computers, and a 15-square-foot garage which he took on hire. It had seed capital of INR 50,000 (about US$750).

Now the company is one of the few such businesses in India to go for an IPO. The company is listed on the Bombay Stock Exchange with a valuation of just under US$1 billion. It now has over 15 million listings and employs about 9,000 people.

  • Funding amount: US$103.2 million
  • Key Investors: SAIF Partners, Tiger Global, SAP Ventures, Public shareholders.
  • Latest funding stage: IPO
  • Industry: Search

20. Vivek Gaur, YepMe

A serial entrepreneur, Vivek Gaur earlier launched Baggittoday, an estore selling bags, accessories, and sunglasses. He co-founded Yepme, a fashion apparel portal.

  • Funding amount: US$102 million
  • Key Investors: Khazanah Nasional Berhad and Helion Venture Partners.
  • Latest funding stage: Series B
  • Industry: Ecommerce

21. Abhinay Choudhari, BigBasket

Bangalore-based BigBasket was founded in 2009 by Abhinay Choudhari, Hari Menon, and Vipul Parekh. Together the trio have scaled up BigBasket to be the largest online grocer in India.
While Hari and Vipul were one of the earliest pioneers of ecommerce in the country, having started Fabmall in 1999, Abhinay was a retail consultant at IT giant Infosys.

  • Funding amount: US$95 million
  • Key Investors: Bessemer Venture Partners, Helion Venture Partners, and Zodius Capital.
  • Latest funding stage: Series C
  • Industry: Groceries, ecommerce

22. Girish Mathrubootham, FreshDesk

A cloud-based help-desk software startup, FreshDesk was founded in 2010. Former Zoho employees Girish Mathrubootham and Shanmugam Krishnasamy teamed up to form this product as result of a bad customer support experience over a broken TV set.

The duo saw a need for better software to help enterprises do after-sales support more effectively. So they started building one. The new startup signed its first customer in Australia in October 2010. In five years, the company has grown to 500 employees globally and has over 50,000 corporate customers of all sizes. FreshDesk competes with the likes of Zendesk.

Known as a mentor and key figure in the Chennai startup ecosystem, Girish is also an in-house foosball champion at his company.

  • Funding amount: US$94 million
  • Key Investors: Tiger Global, Google Capital, and Accel Partners.
  • Latest funding stage: Series E
  • Industry: Enterprise solutions, cloud

23. Kavin Bharti Mittal, Hike

Delhi-based Kavin Bharti Mittal, scion of the huge Bharti Group, faces a peculiar problem. Every week his prepaid account runs out of data due to heavy internet usage. Kavin purposefully chooses to keep a prepaid number on a low-end smartphone in order to identify problems faced by India’s 950 million mobile users, 95 percent of whom are on pay-as-you go packages.

To solve such bottlenecks, Kavin plans to transform Hike into an all-encompassing mobile app where people could buy groceries, book a cab, or order food. Hike has also introduced a feature where its messaging works on phones without internet.

Hikes aims to beat Whatsapp, the most popular messaging app in India, at present.

  • Funding amount: US$86 million
  • Key Investors: Tiger Global Management and Bharti SoftBank.
  • Latest funding stage: Series C
  • Industry: Social networking

24. Yashish Dahiya, Policybazaar

Despite being an entrepreneur, Yashish Dahiya, CEO of PolicyBazaar likes to call himself hugely risk averse. “Of course I’m excited by insurance because it’s about risk and risk management. It’s honestly a bet against the gods,” he says on his blog.

Gurgaon-based Yashish is known amongst Indian startup circles as one of the most fit CEOs, often seen practicing for the annual Ironman Triathlon in Hawaii, one of the toughest sports events on the planet. An alumnus of two of the country’s top colleges – Indian Institute of Technology in Delhi and Indian Institute of Management, Ahmedabad – Yashish worked at firms such as Bain & Co and Ebookers before starting PolicyBazaar in 2008.

PolicyBazaar is the market leader in online insurance aggregation in India. It has raised money from VCs such as Tiger Global Management and Temasek.

  • Funding amount: US$78.3 million
  • Key Investors: Tiger Global, Steadview, Ribbit, Temasek and InfoEdge.
  • Latest funding stage: Series D
  • Industry: Fintech

25. Ashish Goel, UrbanLadder

After working for McKinsey and Amar Chitra Katha in India, Bangalore-based Ashish Goel was desperate to start up on his own. That’s when he teamed up with his schoolmate Rajiv Srivatsa to start an online store selling furniture.

Ashish was intrigued by the fact that there was no big online seller in the category despite furniture being a US$15 billion market in India. The company raised seed capital of US$1 million from Kalaari Capital in 2012 and there has been no looking back since. Indian billionaire Ratan Tata also came on board as an investor-mentor in 2014.

Sourcing from places such as Rajasthan, UrbanLadder is known in India for its quality furniture.

  • Funding amount: US$77 million
  • Key Investors: Sequoia Capital, Steadview, SAIF Partners and Kalaari Capital.
  • Latest funding stage: Undisclosed
  • Industry: Ecommerce

26. Supam Maheshwari, FirstCry

Supam is a graduate from the Indian Institute of Management, Ahmedabad, as well as from the Delhi College of Engineering.

He started FirstCry, a baby products online retailer, in Pune in 2010, when he could not find quality toys for his new-born daughter in the city. It has backing from Temasek, SAIF Partners, and IDG Ventures India.

Prior to launching FirstCry, Supam was the co-founder and CEO of Brainvisa Technologies, an online learning startup.

  • Funding amount: US$69 million
  • Key Investors: New Enterprise Associates, Valiant Capital, IDG, and SAIF Partners.
  • Latest funding stage: Series E
  • Industry: Ecommerce

27. Amit Jain CarDekho

Amit Jain’s CarDekho is a story of a small-town startup in India achieving big success. At his office reception in Jaipur, a touristy town in India, Amit has put up a wall-sized medieval world map showing the few empires that existed then. From Jaipur, Amit wants to conquer classifieds and automobile-related web services. After India, Amit has set his sight on Southeast Asia, where it is already active in countries such as Indonesia.

  • Funding amount: US$75 million
  • Key Investors: Hillhouse Capital, Tybourne Capital, Ratan Tata, and HDFC Bank.
  • Latest funding stage: Undisclosed
  • Industry: Classifieds, ecommerce

28. Sumit Jain, CommonFloor

Son of a construction materials store owner, Sumit Jain got confidence to run a business when his father told him to tend to the shop while he was away.

After graduation, Sumit worked with Oracle India for just a year before realizing that business is his calling. Lalit Mangal, a colleague at Oracle India also quit. A year later Vikas Malpani joined as the third co-founder. Together the trio tried various businesses before venturing to start CommonFloor, a real estate classifieds portal.

Earlier this week, his Bangalore-based startup announced a merger deal with online classifieds portal Quikr.

  • Funding amount: US$62.9 million
  • Key Investors: Tiger Global, Google Capital and Accel Partners.
  • Latest funding stage: Series F
  • Industry: Classifieds

29. Richa Kar, Zivame

After her engineering in 2002, Bangalore-based Richa Kar worked with software firms such as i-Flex and Intergraph. She also worked with Indian retail chain Spencers before moving to SAP as a consultant. It was on a consulting assignment with a global lingerie retailer that Richa discovered the need for a specialist online lingerie retailer in India.

In June 2011, she founded Zivame. It’s now the biggest online retailer of lingerie in India, a country where women feel uncomfortable buying lingerie in shops which are mostly staffed by men. The space is still not dominated by many niche players, even as big firms such as Flipkart and Amazon shy away from advertising their offerings in this section of their stores.

Richa also runs a blog that advises Indian women on choosing the right sizes for their body shapes when purchasing lingerie.

  • Funding amount: US$46 million
  • Key Investors: Kalaari Capital, IDG Ventures, and Unilazer Ventures.
  • Latest funding stage: Series C
  • Industry: Ecommerce

30. Navneet Singh, PepperTap

Hailing from a small town called Bijnaur in rural Uttar Pradesh, PepperTap CEO Navneet Singh has donned many hats – first as a captain of a ship in the merchant navy, then captaining two successful startups in India. A movie buff, and a gadget-freak, Navneet likes spend time with his kid and read tech blogs.

Navneet says that the biggest hurdle on his entrepreneurship journey was a home loan he had to repay. After repaying the debts, Navneet, the son of a police officer, started up despite family opposition as none of his immediate family even owned a shop. He established an ecommerce-focused reverse logistics company, NuvoEx, which now covers 18 Indian cities.
In 2014, Navneet started PepperTap, which went on to raise multiple rounds and is amongst the top three online grocery retailers in India.

  • Funding amount: US$46 million
  • Key Investors: Sequoia Capital, SAIF Partners, and Innoven Capital.
  • Latest funding stage: Series B
  • Industry: Groceries, ecommerce

Disclaimer– All the above information has sourced from Internet, just for reference to motivate new startups, not for commercial purpose. If any issues regarding same, please contact.

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