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Indian Start-ups that registered a success story in the year of the pandemic; Eleven Indian companies that stood out and attained Unicorn Status

The year 2020 has passed us by, many of us were determined to say goodbye to the year, which has been one of the most challenging years in recent history.

Irrespective of whether it is businesses or individuals, the year 2020 was not a good year cutting across countries and economies coming to an almost standstill; the pandemic year brought down even the best and the largest known brands across all sectors.

However, despite the extensive destruction that the pandemic year brought on, they are some success stories that came out as a ray of sunshine despite the large black clouds hovering in the sky.

In recent years, India has seen an acceleration in new ideas, innovation, and many bright individuals taking charge and wanting to write their own stories. 

Many of these bright individuals have deviated from the run – of – the – mill careers and taken a plunge into the unknown. 

While this in itself is a huge step, the year 2020 made it tougher for young businesses to survive the onslaught brought on by the pandemic and even more challenging for those who had ideas on the board but found it unfeasible to bring them to life due to restrictions and economic conditions of most economies in the world.

Building on this success narrative for a few of these start-ups that despite the struggles struck gold in the year of the pandemic 2020,

Eleven Indian start-ups managed to cross the $1 billion valuation mark this year; many of these are e- online retailing businesses, one of the few sectors that saw a boom for the internet economy. 

  1. FirstCry – an Indian online store for baby products retailing, was launched in the year 2010. Founded by Spam Maheshwari and Amitava Saha, it had about over 380 stores across India, out of which 350 are franchise stores, this making it Asia’s largest online shopping store for baby products and kids.
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In 2016, FirstCry acquired Mahindra Group-owned BabyOye for Rs. 362 crores.

It has received a series of fundings starting from April 2011 with $4 million funding by SAIF Investors to the last two and the latest in Series E from SoftBank Vision Fund in January 2019 – $150 million and February 2020 – $150 million.  

FirsCry’s is valued at $1.2 billion and is one of India’s Unicorn Club’s recent additions. The Pune based company reported a revenue of INR 535 crore in FY2019. The company is said to have expected revenue of INR 2033 crore in FY20.


  1. Nykaa – an Indian retailer of beauty, wellness, and fashion products was founded in 2012 by Falguni Nayar. 

In 2015 the company moved from an online-only to an omnichannel model and began selling fashion products. 

It is currently valued at $1.2 billion and has received funding from TVS Shriram Growth Fund, Max Group, and TGP Capital. In March 2020, it raised INR 100 crore from Steadview Capital. 


  1. Razorpay – is a Bangalore based financial technology company founded by Harsil Mathur and Sashank Kumar in 2014. It provides payment solutions that allow businesses to accept, process, and disburse payments. 

In its latest round of fundings in October 2020 through Sequoia Capital India and GIC Pte Ltd, and is currently valued at $1.2 billion.

  1. VerSe innovation – is a parent company for Dailyhunt, formerly known as Newshunt, and is an Indian content and news aggregator application that provides local content in 14 Indian languages from multiple content providers. 
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Virendra Gupta founded this Bangalore based company in 2007. Verse Innovation became the latest unicorn and raised over $100 million from Google, Microsoft, among others.

  1. Glance – a lockscreen platform that raised $145 million for Google, Mithril Capital in December 2020. InMobi, a technology company that specializes in mobile marketing and mobile advertising, is based in Bangalore. 

The company was founded in 2007 under the name mKhoj by Naveen Tiwari, Mohit Saxena, Amit Gupta, and Abhay Singhal. It has also became the first Indian Unicorn Startup company.


  1. Zerodha- is an Indian financial service company offering retail and institutional broking, currencies, commodities trading, mutual funds, and bonds. 

It is headquartered in Bangalore and founded in 2010 and founded by Nithin Kamath and Nikhil Kamath. Zerodha was the largest retail stockbroker in India by active client base as of 2019, and in June 2020, the company entered the Unicorn club.

Its current valuation stands at $ 1 billion.


  1. Zenoti – is a cloud-based software that helps salons, spas, medispas, yoga studios, wellness, and fitness centers manage their day – to – day operations.

It was incorporated in 2010 and was formerly known as ManageMySpa and was founded by Sudheer Koneru, Dheeraj Koneru, Anand Arvind, and Saritha Katikaneni.

Currently valued at $ 1 Billion and funded by Tiger Global Management and Steadview capital.


  1. Cars24 – is an online used car marketplace headquartered in Gurgaon and is considered among the four major organized players in the country’s used car segment. 

The company was founded by Vikram Chopra, Mehul Agrawal, Gajendra Jangid, and Ruchit Agarwal in 2015. It is currently valued at $ 1 billion and has raised funds through Sequoia Capital and DST Global

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  1. Pine Labs – was founded in the year 1998 by Lokvir Kapoor, Rajul Garg, and Tarun Upadhyay, headquartered in Noida. The company is a merchant platform company that provides financing and last-mile retail transaction technology. 

It is one of the Unicorn companies and valued at over $ 1 Billion. It has raised funds via Temasek Holdings and Paypal in 2018, and in January 2020, it raised an undisclosed sum from Mastercard. 


  1. Unacademy- is an online education technology company based in Bangalore and founded by Gaurav Munjal, Roman Saini, and Hemesh Singh in 2015.

It was initially started as a YouTube channel in 2010 by Gaurav Munjal. The company is valued at $1.45 billion US dollars. It has secured funding through a series of offerings, including SoftBank, Sequoia Capital, and Elevation Capital.


  1. Postman – is a collaboration platform for API development founded in 2014 by Abhinav Asthana and Ankit Sobti. 

It is currently valued at $ 2 Billion and raised $ 150 million in Series C funding; it’s existing investors are CRV and Nexus Venture Partners. 


Reading the success stories of the above ventures makes one sit up and take notice that despite the year 2020 being a slow and a rather forgettable year when it comes to business and finance, they were a few who managed to turn the year around and made some incredible opportunities come their way. 






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