Let us discuss about unicorns. The year 2021 has seen a large number of unicorn startups coming up. In the language of venture capital, the unicorn startup is the one the value of which has increased to more than USD billion. The founder of Cowboy Ventures, Aileen Lee first coined the term unicorn startup.
One of the important and the interesting points which need to be kept in mind is that only a startup can become a unicorn. And when the startup exceeds the value of USD 10 billion, then the term used for such startups is Decacorn. SpaceX, DropBox, WeWork are the famous decacorn. Canada has a different term for unicorn startups, the country calls it “narwhal”. The two famous Narwhal companies are Hootsuite and Wattpad.
What are the features of a unicorn startup?
Every unicorn has a different story to tell, and every unicorn has different features which make it successful. But some of the features which are common in all the unicorn startups are-
1. Innovation– The unicorns have bought a disturbance and disruption in the field in which they are operating. A unicorn always brings along with it a change in the traditional industry.
2. The Firsts– A unicorn is a trendsetter, it does something different in the industry and all others follow it.
3. Highly Tech Friendly– The business model of the unicorns is based on technology. According to a report which has been published recently, 87% of the products of the unicorns are software, 7% are hardware, and the rest 6% are other products and services.
4. Private Ownership– Most of the unicorns are privately owned, thus their value increases to a larger extent when an established company makes an investment in it.
Announcement of the 30th unicorn
Let us now talk about the startup which has been in the news recently because of the change of its status to a unicorn startup. The startup, CoinSwitch Kuber, has received a funding of more than USD 260 million, as announced on October 06, 2021. This round of funding was the Series C round of funding and was led by Coinbase Ventures and Andreessen Horowitz (a16z). They are the new investors which have been linked to the startup. The other participants of this round of funding were the existing investors of the startup, which were Paradigm, Ribbit Capital, Sequoia Capital India, and Tiger Global.
With this round of funding, the value of the startup has increased four times and is currently at USD 1.9 billion. This has reserved a place for the startup in the famous Unicorn Club. The startup, CoinSwitch Kuber is the second cryptocurrency unicorn of the country and the 30th unicorn of India for the year 2021. The startup plans to use the funds raised in the hiring process, to hire talents across various domains like- engineering, product, and data functions. It is also planning to launch more assets, creating and spreading awareness about cryptocurrency and attracting institutional clients as compared to the retail customer base so far.
About the newly turned unicorn
Founded in the year 2020 by Ashish Singhal, Vimal Sagar Tiwari, and Govind Soni, CoinSwitch Kuber is an application-based cryptocurrency exchange platform that is exclusive to the Indian markets for the retail investors. With headquarters in Mumbai, the startup is engaged in supporting trade in more than 100 cryptocurrencies including Bitcoin, Ethereum, Litecoin, Ripple, Dash, and others using Indian Rupees (INR). The mobile application of the startup is available in Android and iOS.The company behind the platform of the startup is CoinSwitch, which has processed more than USD 5 billion in cryptocurrency transactions.
The investors of the startup are – Sequoia Capital, Paradigm, Tiger Global Management, Ribbit Capital, and Founder of CRED and Freecharge Kunal Shah. The startup in the Financial Year 2020-2021 had reported a profit of USD 8 million. The startup in April had a funding round, which was the Series B round. In that round, the startup raised USD 25 million and was led by Tiger Global and the valuation was not disclosed.
The startup has signed up around 1 million users within the first year of the launch and has invited investments more than worth INR 20 billion. The trading volume of the startup has increased by 500% in March 2020, and as of April 2021, the startup has 4.5 million users. It has around 180 employees and an annual revenue of USD 50 million. The aim of the startup is to reach 50 million users in the next few years, where it has already reached 10 million users last month.
The founders before CoinSwitch Kuber, had founded CoinSwitch in the year 2017 which was a global aggregator of cryptocurrency exchanges.
About Andreessen Horowitz
Founded in the year 2019 and headquartered in California, Andreeseen Horowitz which is also called a16z is a private American venture capital firm. It is engaged in investing in both early stage startups and established growth companies. It invests in a diverse range of startups like mobile, crypto, gaming, social, e-commerce, education, and IT.
The AUM of the venture capital is worth USD 18.8 billion.
What has been said about the deal?
Ashish Singhal, the co-founder of the startup, CoinSwitch Kuber made a statement saying that the startup is on a mission to build wealth for Indians by making crypto more accessible. He further said that he believed that making crypto investments simple for the Indian youth have made Indians stand apart. He said that the startup wants to remove all the complexities in crypto trading, educate consumers and give them a simple experience of one click buy and sell in crypto.
David George, who is the partner at Andreessen Horowitz said that the venture capital is excited about the opportunity which the crypto market brings in India, along with its growth. He further said that the startup, CoinSwitch has come up as the leading retail platform in the country. He appreciated the startup saying that it has shown strong execution abilities to deliver an investment platform for the masses in the country.
The startup is doing great and we wish it nothing but a bright and a successful future.
Edited by Sanjana Simlai.