These 10 startups are India’s unicorns-in-waiting, according to Hurun

Photo: Reuters

Indian start-ups founded in the 2000s with a valuation of at least ₹1,500 crore or $200 million, are most likely to ‘go unicorn’ in the next 2 to 4 years, according to a report.

The Hurun Research Institute on Thursday released the Hurun India Future Unicorn List 2021, a ranking of India’s start-ups founded in the 2000s, not yet listed on a public exchange. As per the report, such startups with and most likely to ‘go unicorn’ within 2 years (Gazelles) or 4 years (Cheetahs) if their worth is at least $200 million. For the eligibility to enter the Hurun Unicorn list, a start-up needs to have a valuation of ₹1,500 crore or $200 million.

The report also stated that India added three ‘unicorns’ per month in 2021 to nearly double the overall number of startups valued at over $1 billion to 51 as of end-August.

“Hurun India Future Unicorn List 2021 is a snapshot of India’s start-up ecosystem. This is a list of the most valuable private equity or venture capital-funded companies in India founded after 2000, ranked according to their latest funding round valuation,” it said in a statement.

Here are 10 Indian start-ups that could become future unicorns within 2-4 years from now:

1) Zilingo: Sequoia-backed online retail store Zilingo is set to become one of India’s next Unicorns. In 2015, Ankiti Bose and Dhruv Kapoor started Zilingo, an online B2B platform for small fashion merchants. Zilingo has raised a total investment of $310mn to date and is backed by marquee investors such as Sequoia Capital, Temasek Holdings, Beenext, EDB Investments and others.

2) Mobile Premier League: Bengaluru -based gaming company Mobile Premier League takes the second spot on the Hurun. The Bengaluru-based Mobile Premier League was founded by Sai Srinivas Kiran and Shubham Malhotra in 2018 and has 76 million users in India. Mobile Premier League raised a total investment of US$230mn from eminent investors such as Sequoia Capital, Moore Strategic Ventures, SIG, Pegasus Tech Ventures, Founders Circle and others. In April 2021, MPL acquired GamingMonk for an undisclosed amount to widen its e-sports portfolio.

3) Rebel Foods: India’s first cloud kitchen start-up, ranked third in the Hurun India Future Unicorn List 2021. Founded in 2010 by Jaydeep Barman and Kallol Banerjee Rebel Foods, the restaurant platform operates cloud kitchens brands Faasos, Behrouz Biryani, Oven Story and others.

4) Fitness start-up Cure.Fit ranked fourth on the Hurun India Future Unicorn List 2021. In June 2021, Tata Digital entered into an agreement to invest up to US$75mn in CureFit backed by global investors such as Temasek, Accel Partners, Epiq Capital, Unilever Swiss and others.

5) Spinny: Pre-owned car platform, Spinny shares the fourth rank on the Hurun India Future Unicorn List 2021. The Gurugram -based Spinny was founded by Niraj Singh, Mohit Gupta and Ramanshu Mahuar in 2015. With 900 employees, Spinny currently operates in 9 cities and raised more than US$120mn.

6) RateGain, a travel technology company ranks sixth on the list. In August 2021, RateGain Travel Technologies, Software as a Service (SaaS) company in the hospitality and travel industry filed a draft paper to raise funds through an initial share sale.

7) Mamaearth, a D2C personal care brand, ranked seventh on the Hurun India Future Unicorn List 2021. In 2016, Varun Alagh and Ghazal Alagh founded Honasa Consumer Private Limited, currently known as Mamaearth. Mamaearth raised a total investment of US$73.6mn from global investors such as Sequoia Capital, Sofina, Fireside Ventures, Stellaris Venture and Kunal Bahl.

8) CarDekho, a Gurugram-based auto marketplace ranked eighth on the Hurun India Future Unicorn List 2021. In 2007, brothers Amit and Anurag Jain founded CarDekho as an IT outsourcing firm and turned it into an online portal for new and used car sales. CarDekho raised US$250mn from investors such as Sequoia Capital, Ping An, Hillhouse Capital Group, Times Internet, Ratan Tata and others.

9) GreyOrange: Singapore based robotics start-up, GreyOrange shares the ninth rank on the Hurun India Future Unicorn List 2021. GreyOrange, founded by BITS Pilani alumni Samay Kohli and Akash Gupta in 2009, raised a total investment of US$70mn across four rounds from investors such as Tiger Global, Blume Ventures, Peter Thiel, Binny Bansal and others.

10) MobiKwik: Gurugram-based digital payments application MobiKwik shares the ninth rank on Hurun India Future Unicorn List 2021. Founded in 2009 by husband and wife duo Bipin Preet Singh and Upasana Taku, MobiKwik leverages big data analytics to address unmet credit needs in digital payments.

Hurun said the number of gazelles, which are valued over $500 million can turn unicorn in two years, was pegged at 32, while there are 54 cheetahs commanding a tag of over $200 million, who can achieve the coveted status in four years, as per the Hurun India Future Unicorn list.

The future unicorns are valued at $36 billion, it said, adding that the leap to being a unicorn can also happen swiftly, as seen in five ‘cheetahs’ which directly jumped into the unicorn club during the last eight months.

It can be noted that over the last few years, dedicated efforts have been undertaken to hone the startups ecosystem by the government through flagship initiatives like ‘Startup India’.

This article was first published on livemint.com

Singapore Reporter/s

In Singapore, we are looking to double our reporting team by this year-end to comprehensively cover the fast-moving world of funded startups and VC, PE & M&A deals. We want reporters who can tell our readers what is really happening in these sectors and why it matters to markets, companies and consumers. The ability to write precisely and urgently is crucial for these roles. Ideal candidates must have to ability to work in a collaborative, dynamic, and fast-changing environment. We want our new hires to be digitally savvy and ready to experiment with new forms of storytelling. Most importantly, we are looking for hard-hitting reporters who work well in a team. Collaboration and collegiality are a must.

Following vacancies can be applied for (only in Singapore).

Following vacancies can be applied for (only in Singapore).   

  • A reporter to track companies/startups that have raised private capital, and have the potential to become unicorns. SEA currently has over 40 companies with a valuation of over $100 million and under $1 billion.
  • A reporter who can get behind the scenes and reveal how funding rounds are put together, or why they’ve failed to materialise. She/he in this role will largely focus on long-format stories. 
  • A journalist to track special situations funds, distressed debt and private credit (from the PE angle) across Asia.

Singapore Reporter/s

In Singapore, we are looking to double our reporting team by this year-end to comprehensively cover the fast-moving world of funded startups and VC, PE & M&A deals. We want reporters who can tell our readers what is really happening in these sectors and why it matters to markets, companies and consumers. The ability to write precisely and urgently is crucial for these roles. Ideal candidates must have to ability to work in a collaborative, dynamic, and fast-changing environment. We want our new hires to be digitally savvy and ready to experiment with new forms of storytelling. Most importantly, we are looking for hard-hitting reporters who work well in a team. Collaboration and collegiality are a must.

Following vacancies can be applied for (only in Singapore).

Following vacancies can be applied for (only in Singapore).   

  • A reporter to track companies/startups that have raised private capital, and have the potential to become unicorns. SEA currently has over 40 companies with a valuation of over $100 million and under $1 billion.
  • A reporter who can get behind the scenes and reveal how funding rounds are put together, or why they’ve failed to materialise. She/he in this role will largely focus on long-format stories. 
  • A journalist to track special situations funds, distressed debt and private credit (from the PE angle) across Asia.