India Sees Six New Unicorns Within A Week Amid Pandemic

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In a span of four days, six startups minted a valuation exceeding $1 billion displaying a boom for Indian technology companies. This addition takes the total of Indian startups achieving the unicorn status within four months in 2021 to 10. In 2020, India saw a total of 11 startups achieving this status including Pine Labs, Firstcry, Nykaa, Postman, Zerodha, Zenoti, and Unacademy. According to a joint report by IT industry lobby group Nasscom and technology consultancy Zinnov, India is on track to have more than 50 startup unicorns in 2021.

A Credit Suisse Group AG report last month found there are about 100 unicorns in India with a combined market value of $240 billion, in sectors from e-commerce and fintech to education, logistics, and food delivery.

India has long trailed well behind the U.S. and China in the amount of venture capital money invested in startups. The total value of deals in 2020 was $11.8 billion, compared with $143 billion in the U.S. and $83 billion in China, according to researcher Preqin.

1. CRED

Cred is a Bengaluru-based credit-card repayment platform, founded in 2018, that rewards users with points for paying their bills, which can be used for offers and discounts on various products. Currently, it has nearly 6 million users and 201-500 employees, according to its LinkedIn profile. It has attained a valuation of $2.2 billion that raised $215 million in its Series D round of funding on April 6.

Falcon Edge Capital (new investor) and Coatue Management LLP (an existing investor) led the latest round of funding. Existing investors DST Global, RTP Global, Tiger Global, Greenoaks Capital, Dragoneer Investment Group, and Sofina also invested in this round.

2. Meesho

Meesho, a Bengaluru-based social commerce platform founded by IIT Delhi graduates Vidit Aatrey and Sanjeev Barnwal in December 2015. It enables small businesses and individuals to start their online stores via social channels such as WhatsApp, Facebook, Instagram, etc. The company said it has raised $300 million in a new round of funding led by SoftBank Vision Fund 2. The company has 1001-5000 employees, according to Crunchbase.

Following the latest funding round, it was valued at $2.1 billion. Existing investors Prosus Ventures, Facebook, Shunwei Capital, Venture Highway, and Knollwood Investment also participated in the latest funding round.

3. PharmEasy

PharmEasy, owned by API Holdings, is a Mumbai-based platform that connects over 60,000 brick and mortar pharmacies and 4,000 doctors in 16,000 pin codes across India. It is an online platform that provides medicines delivery & diagnostic tests to patients.

API Holdings raised $350 million in a round led by Prosus Ventures and TPG Growth. The company did not disclose the valuation but sources said it was closed at $1.5 billion, making it the seventh unicorn to emerge from India this year. Existing investors including Temasek, CDPQ, LGT Lightrock, Eight Roads & Think Investments also participated in the Series E round.

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4. Groww

Groww is an India-based online investment platform Headquartered in Bangalore. Groww allows investors to open an account electronically and transact in mutual funds, stocks online, exchange-traded funds, IPOs, and gold. Groww reported its valuation has crossed $1 billion after it raised $83 million in its Series D funding round led by Tiger Global, with existing investors such as Sequoia India, Ribbit Capital, YC Continuity, and Propel Venture Partners also participating in the round in the last week.

The company has more than 1.5 crore registered users. It said 18 lakh demat accounts were opened on its platform since June 2020 and that it is seeing more than 2.5 lakh new systematic investment plans (SIPs) every month.

5. Gupshup

Gupshup is a messaging services company with primary operations in India, the US, and the UK. It has been providing SMS, email, Voice, USSD, and IP messaging and chatbot development services to leading BFSI, Retail, e-commerce companies.

It has raised $100 million from Tiger Global at a valuation of $1.4 billion. Founded in 2004, the company’s last funding round was in 2011. It reported an annual revenue run rate of $150 million in 2020.

6. ShareChat

Regional language social network ShareChat was valued at $2.1 billion in its latest $502 million funding round. The latest round was led by Tiger Global Management, Snapchat parent Snap Inc and existing backer Twitter and Lightspeed. Launched by three IIT-Kanpur alumni- Ankush Sachdeva, Farid Ahsan, and Bhanu Singh in 2015. Developed by Mohalla Tech Pvt Ltd, ShareChat also owns a short-video app called Moj, which is an Indian alternative to the banned TikTok. Moj has scaled to 120 million Monthly Active Users (MAUs) in nine months.

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