Indian Unicorn Startups that reached $1b Mark in 2018

Indian Unicorn Startups 2018


  • 637 unique startups were set in 2018
  • Over $11 Bn was spent across 743 deals annually
  • 2018 was the greatest year for Unicorn Startups’ Earnings

The year gone gave the Indian startup ecosystem several Crucial landmarks and items to observe. With deep-pocketed investors like SoftBank, Alibaba, and Naspers, amongst others, being bullish on Indian startups, large, fat cheques are becoming par for the class from the Indian startup ecosystem.

In accordance with Inc42 DataLabs’ newest yearly Indian Tech Startup Funding Report, 637 unique startups were based in 2018 and over $11 Bn was spent across 743 deals. In contrast, 2017 saw $13.5 Bn spent across 885 prices.

The deals and financing in 2018 might happen to be lower compared to 2017, But what more than made up for this had been the simple fact that 2018 watched the earning of the most significant variety of unicorns in one year in India. The most celebrated names one of these were Udaan, for being the quickest to go into the unicorn club OYO, for its global growth spree; Zomato, for gaining maturity; and Freshworks, because of its new releases all over the year.

With no additional ado, let us take a look at the Indian Companies that entered the unicorn club in 2018.


Billdesk India

Back in June 2018, reports surfaced that electronic payments firm Billdesk was increasing a 250 Mn funding round led by Visa, in a cost of $1.5 Bn-$2 Bn. Afterward, in November this year, the business affirmed an undisclosed investment from Visa. In total, BillDesk has increased $257.5 Mn capital since its launching.

On Jan 17, 2019, reports surfaced that CCI has declared Visa’s investment in Billdesk. At precisely the exact same period, Springfield has gained 3.28percent whilst Claymore would maintain less than 10% stake in Billdesk.

Billdesk is currently working to create new product lines Because of its obligations and loyalty companies and can also be expanding its footprint into other geographies. From the fintech section, Billdesk is providing tough competition to PayU, CCAvenue, along with many others.

In FY18, the Indian fintech unicorn reported earnings of $132.6 Mn (INR 929 Cr) for the year-end March 31, 2018. This is a 15% rise over precisely the exact same period in FY17 as it reported earnings of $135.7 Mn (INR 950.6 Cr).

The Business promised to process payments worth nearly $50 Bn Annually as of November 2018.


byjus India

BYJU’S gained its unicorn standing in March 2018 and later on December 2018, increased a gigantic $328 Mn funding round led by Canada Pension board’s investment arm, CPPIB Investment Board Private Holdings, Naspers Ventures BV, and General Atlantic Singapore TL Pvt Ltd carrying its valuation to $4 Bn.

Excluding Walmart possessed Flipkart, BYJU’S is now the Fourth most-valued unicorn at India later Paytm, Ola, and OYO. It has up to now raised over $895 Mn since its launching.

The e-learning platform provides numerous online secondary and Senior secondary classes suited to the Indian education system together with online study material for competitive examinations like IAS, CAT, GRE, etc.. Study content from courses IV-X for both CBSE/ICSE pupils can also be available on the platform.

The Ed-tech unicorn is now trying to expand its presence. The neighborhood in addition to cross-border Ed-tech section through the acquisition path. Thus far, it’s made four acquisitions from the Ed-tech area such as the Bengaluru-based Vidyartha (SPAN Thoughtworks Pvt Ltd), TutorVista, along with Maths Adventures, together with the US-based OSMO, together with which it went global.

Together with OSMO, BYJU’S is growing into a new era demographic And entering the world of younger children (the 3-8 age category ). The business claims to have over 30 Mn enrolled pupils and two Mn yearly paid subscribers. It reported earnings $69.4 Mn (INR 490 Cr) for its fiscal year 2017-18, a 97% increase from the prior year.


Freshworks India

B2B software-as-a-service (SaaS) company Freshworks is Now in an expansion spree and wants to boost its products in addition to its earnings. In 2018, it created five brand new launches to match its current suite of products: Freshworks360, Freshconnect, Unified Marketplace Platform, Freshping, and Freddy, got labeled as a unicorn with a $1.5 Bn evaluation (July) and claimed an ARR of $100 Mn.

Thus Far, Freshworks has gained $249 Mn in financing because of its Launching in 2010. Freshworks, that has been climbing both indoors in addition to globally in areas like the Middle East and South Africa, also opened information centers in Sydney (Australia) and in Mumbai this past year. The business also invested in cost management startup Fyle while CEO Girish Mathrubootham spent in smart apparel firm Turms.

For the period ending March 31, 2018, Freshworks also turned Profitable whilst reporting earnings of INR 259.29 Cr at FY18. This is a 30% increase from the previous fiscal when its earnings stood at INR 199.62 Cr.


Oyo India

OYO has caused a revolution in the Indian marketplace Hotel market. The year 2018 was about global growth (to seven states, to be exact ), testing the waters from brand new sections such as occasions (OYO automobile Party), also giving its worker ESOPs values $7 Mn.

Back in September 2018, OYO acquired $800 Mn out of SoftBank Vision Fund, together with participation from existing investors Lightspeed India Partners, Sequoia Capital, and Greenoaks Capital. Additionally, it got a commitment of an extra $200 Mn from undisclosed investors, bringing the total to $1 Bn in this round. For this, OYO’s total financing increased since launching has reached $1.5 Bn.

As of This Moment, the Business has 3.3 Lakh rooms in 500 cities around the globe. OYO also made three acquisitions in 2018 (Novascotia Boutique Homes, AblePlus, Weddingz) and talented its own group with all 2,000 stock options, that have been inserted into its ESOP program.

But, 2019 may be Somewhat harder for the organization as the Hotel institutions throughout the nation and The Federation of Hotel and Restaurant Associations of India (FHRAI) are thinking about legal action against it to get large scale violation of the contract and predatory pricing. Additionally, the Income Tax department has slammed a note on OYO to get non-deduction of tax deducted at source (TDS) on obligations made by the business in 2016-17.

Nevertheless, the non-stoppable OYO Wants to enlarge Globally farther with the Philippines and there are also reports of this entering the coworking perpendicular with purchase of innov8. Will OYO be in a position to concentrate on its growth plans farther this season amid all of this mess?

Paytm Mall

paytm mall india

According to China’s TMall retail version, Paytm Restaurant began Working as an independent thing (from parent firm Paytm) along with a consumer buying program in February 2017. As of April 2018, the organization had a hit to over 700 cities across 19,000 snare codes from the nation. At precisely the exact same time, it increased a gigantic $445 Mn financing from SoftBank and also Alibaba to indicate its entrance to the unicorn club, thus taking the entire funding raised so much $645 Mn.

In March 2018, Paytm Theater launched a brand new version of retail Letting clients walk to brick-and-mortar shops, scan merchandise QR codes, navigate information, and make purchases through the Paytm Restaurant program. Further, in May this past year, in addition, it declared to establish its PoS terminal.

After attaining annualized gross earnings in $3.5 Bn in June 2018, the business is aiming to get a three-fold growth in exactly the exact same to $10 Bn from March 2019.

Pine Labs

Pine Labs India

In June 2018, fintech startup Pine Labs indicated its entrance To the unicorn club having a $125 Mn investment in Paypal and Temasek. In 2018, it increased more than $200 Mn in 2 tranches — for example $125 Mn in May by Temasek and PayPal Holdings Inc and $82 Mn at March by Actis Capital and Altimeter Capital. This took the entire funding raised so much $223 Mn.

Pine Labs utilizes payment spouses to provide integrated Payment gateway providers and enables retailers to join their individual bank accounts to make available end-to-end support to their clients. Having had a first-mover benefit, Pine Labs now holds a 16% market share of electronic trades at brick-and-mortar retail shops.

In 2018, the Business expanded its existence to Dubai and Malaysia and now plans to go into Southeast Asia. Additionally, it tied up with Google as it launched Google Purchase India.

Even Though the startup revealed profitability in FY17, It’s Now fighting to cover the losses it incurred in FY18. It competes with players like Mswipe, Ezetap, PhonePe, and much more.


Policy Bazaar

PolicyBazaar is among the earliest entrants in the Indian Online insurance policy space. The business got labeled as a unicorn in June following a 200 Mn funding round by Western conglomerate SoftBank Vision Fund, thus taking the entire funding raised so much $346.6 Mn.

The Business currently has plans to grow at a CAGR of More than 80 percent during the next 3 decades, attaining 10 Mn transacting clients by 2020.

It’s currently researching the health technology and solutions section as well. It established its new health care company — DocPrime — a past year with a $50 Mn investment. It had been theorized that PolicyBazaar intends to utilize China’s Ping An Insurance Group, which owns and operates Ping An fantastic Doctor — that the world’s biggest health care portal — to fortify DocPrime. It has to be mentioned that Ping An fantastic Doctor can be supported by SoftBank.

PolicyBazaar is also likely to market medications online, thus Challenging existing players such as 1mg Technologies, NetMeds, etc..


Swiggy India

Swiggy closed 2018 using a gigantic $1 Bn financing round led by Naspers, increasing its valuation to $3.3 Bn. But it entered the unicorn club in June with a $210 Mn investment in Naspers and GST International in a 1.3 Bn valuation. Additionally, it increased a 100 Mn funding round in February this past year.

This took the Entire funding increased by Swiggy to 465.5 Mn Since launching. Swiggy is presently seeking to strengthen its technologies and concentrate on creating a brand new AI-driven platform for hyperlocal detection and on-demand shipping.

To Be Able to stay ahead of the contest, it started new Attributes in 2018 like a meal planner called Swiggy Scheduled, a loyalty program named Super, along with also a Swiggy Packaging Assist Programme because of the own restaurant spouses. Additionally, it piloted its B2B meals aggregation program Swiggy Cafe.

The food tech unicorn is now trying to test out the waters in The hyperlocal section, beginning with medications and grocery deliveries. Additionally, it intends to supply UPI-based digital payment options into its delivery partners. It published a 220% increase in its earnings in FY18.

Lately, Swiggy came to the spotlight to the incorrect Motives after a few of its disgruntled delivery executives got involved in a skirmish with the team of Bengaluru-based Empire Resort and supposedly vandalized the latter’s land. Additionally, almost 500 small to midsize restaurants alleged”abuse of dominant position by meals delivery businesses, such as Swiggy, Zomato, UberEATS, and Foodpanda.”

But, Swiggy is going powerful and anticipates another year of Rapid expansion ahead.


Udaan Indian Company

B2B eCommerce market Udaan emerged among the Most-talked startups this past year. The business took only 26 weeks to reach a 1 Bn valuation, which makes it the fastest firm to turn into a unicorn at India.

In 2018, Udaan increased two rounds of financing: $50 Mn Series B Funds in February and $225 Mn in September, taking the total to $285 Mn.

The startup runs on the web platform linking SMBs, Producers, wholesalers, traders, and merchants. It now works into two groups: cellular accessories and fashion solutions.

At February 2018, Udaan needed a vendor foundation across 80 Cities and provides to over 500 cities, with an average purchase value between INR 6K -7K.


Zomato India

Zomato marked a re-entry to the unicorn club in 2018. The Firm before attained the unicorn standing in April 2015 using a $50 Mn financing. But in 2016, it endured a huge reduction which caused a drop in evaluation to $500 Mn, a rollback of surgeries from nearly nine states, along with also the shifting back its attention into the Indian sector.

The plan worked miracles. Not just Zomato revived its Position from the Indian food tech section but also attained adulthood in FY18. At precisely the exact same time, it captured the eyes of investors, grabbing over $410 Mn over two rounds of financing. This took the entire funding raised up to now from Zomato to 443.8 Mn since its launching.

Zomato shut down its own cloud kitchen perpendicular in 2018. In the same time, the business took the acquisition path to fortify its shipping fleet, notching prices like food tech startup TongueStun ($18 Mn) and drone startup TechEagle. This past year, Zomato had to compete with all the resignation of both cofounder Pankaj Chaddah, who abandoned after spending 10 years in the business.

Zomato also confronted some warmth in 2018 when a movie showing one Of its shipping executives eating food from shipping boxes moved viral. The business said it would present tamper-proof tapes to make sure such an incident does not occur again. In the long run, Zomato is seeking to exploit the offline segment, and it has launched Zomato Occasions, which takes into a multi-city food carnival named Zomaland.


All these startups that made it into the unicorn club and are currently Moving towards growth and sustainability function as an inspiration for Indian entrepreneurs trying to start their own ventures. In any case, the big-ticket fundings they’ve garnered bore well for its Indian startup ecosystem at large.

Going together, in 2019, the ecosystem is currently looking towards those Firms as pillars of achievement revealing a guiding light into the forthcoming generation of entrepreneurs.

Researcher and Content Writer at e-Syndicate Network. A constant learner. Learning and growing every day. Salman has over 5 years of experience in the fields of Digital Marketing, Content Writing, Brand and Business Development.