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These startups may turn unicorns in 2019

FE Online digs through existing startups in India that have seen their valuation jumping anywhere from 2x to 7x in their last funding rounds. Some might turn unicorns in 2019 on the back of high valuations.

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'स्टार्टअपब्लिंक' ने साल 2017 के लिए दुनिया भर के 125 देशों में स्टार्टअप इकोसिस्टम के लिहाज से भारत को 37वें नंबर पर रखा.

Fundraising activity in startups again picked up pace in the year 2018 in mid and late stage deals, after slowing down in 2016-2017 from the frantic deal-making in 2015 and early 2016. Consequently, eight new startups were catapulted to the hallowed unicorn (valuation of a privately held company at over $1 billion) club in 2018 — highest number in any year so far.

FE Online digs through existing startups in India that have seen their valuation jumping anywhere from 2x to 7x in their last funding rounds. While some have been in existence for more than a decade, others are looking to hit the billion dollar valuation in just four years of their existence. For instance, B2B marketplace Udaan achieved this feat in just two years while veteran online payments company BillDesk took 18 years for the same.

Nonetheless, the following startups might turn unicorns in 2019 on the back of high valuations they have been commanding so far, while for some the wait might turn bit longer. Irrespective of how 2019 turns out for them, it is interesting to see that most of them have created their respective categories and are leading them.


Among the biggest grocery startups in India, Hari Menon’s BigBasket is on the edge of catapulting itself to the unicorn club. Competing with the likes of Flipkart and Amazon, the startup was last valued at around $800 million when it raised $300 million in February this year led by Alibaba. The company reportedly is expecting another new round that would value it over $1 billion even as it has halted merger discussions with smaller rival Grofers.

  • Founded in year – 2011
  • Founders – Abhinay Choudhari, Hari Menon, Vipul Parekh, VS Sudhakar
  • Total funding raised – $885.7 million


Surface transport company Rivigo has ‘relay-as-a-service’ model where drivers drive for four-five hours from their base location to ‘relay’ the truck to another driver and drive back another truck to his base location. This saves long hours for drivers on the road. The startup is currently valued at around $950 million, and is probably just a new round away to get into the unicorn club.

  • Founded in year – 2014
  • Founders – Deepak Garg, Gazal Kalra
  • Total funding raised – $180.6 million


Started in 2011, Delhivery has been among the largest logistics companies in the e-commerce space. The startup was valued at $700-800 million in its last funding round of $130 million in May 2017 led by Fosun International and The Carlyle Group. Various reports peg its next funding round to be upwards of $250 million from SoftBank that would value the company over $1 billion. Delhivery however is also exploring IPO route next year.

  • Founded in year – 2011
  • Founders – Bhavesh Manglani, Kapil Bharati, Mohit Tandon, Sahil Barua, Suraj Saharan
  • Total funding raised – $257.6 million


Founded in 1999 and re-launched in 2007, India’s go-to ticketing platform BookMyShow is finally staring at the unicorn status. The company, currently valued at around $800 million after it raised $100 million in July this year, however, has Paytm biting into its market share of online movie ticketing. It recorded a 30% increase in its operational revenue for FY18 from non-movie business. Monthly tickets sold on BookMyShow is 13 million while for Paytm its 4-6 million.

  • Founded in year – 1999
  • Founders – Ashish Hemrajani, Parikshit Dar, Rajesh Balpande
  • Total funding raised – $224.5 million


Highest funded healthtech startup Practo is also the most valued startup in its space in India. Practo was last valued at around $600 million when it raised $55 million from Chinese internet giant Tencent in January 2017. Present in Brazil, the Philippines, Malaysia, Indonesia, and Singapore apart from India, Practo started as a practice management platform for doctors in 2008. It ventured into finding doctors online and booking appointments for customers in 2013 and later into delivering medicines as well.

  • Founded in year – 2008
  • Founders – Abhinav Lal, Shashank ND
  • Total funding raised – $234 million


Rivigo’s competitor and a marketplace for trucking logistics Blackbuck is also in the fray of turning unicorn. Unlike Rivigo’s asset-heavy model of owning trucks, Blackbuck’s marketplace model helps shippers connect with truckers. The startup is looking to raise $150-250 million at $1 billion valuation and has appointed investment banker JP Morgan for the same, as per a report by Mint in November this year.

  • Founded in year – 2015
  • Founders – Chanakya Hridaya, Rajesh Yabaji, Ramasubramaniam B
  • Total funding raised – $135.2 million


Much like BigBasket and BookMyShow, Lenskart also created its respective category of eyewear store online. Launched in 2010, the startup was valued at close to $500 million after it went under a secondary transaction by TR Capital and Steadview Capital. Its total revenue went up by more than 70% to Rs 310.98 crore in FY2018 from Rs 182.02 crore in the previous fiscal year.

  • Founded in year – 2010
  • Founders – Peyush Bansal, Amit Chaudhary
  • Total funding raised – $129.6 million


The late entrant to the online automobile marketplace space, Droom has managed to scale to $550 million valuation in four years. Launched by Sandeep Aggarwal, former founder at Shopclues, Droom is preparing to list on the Nasdaq exchange in the second half of 2020, its founder and CEO Sandeep Aggarwal told FE Online. Droom is currently touching close to $1 billion in annualized GMV and $23 million in net revenue. Its other competitors include CarDekho, CarTrade, and Cars24 apart from Olx and Quikr.

  • Founded in year – 2014
  • Founders – Sandeep Aggarwal
  • Total funding raised – $123 million


Launched in 2008, cloud data protection and management software company, Druva is witnessing annual growth at around 60% and is reportedly valued at over $500 million. “We are not far away from the $1-billion mark,” its founder Jaspreet Singh told FE Online earlier. The company shifted its headquarters to the US in 2012 and since then has acquired 4,000 enterprise clients including Siemens, NASA, and Deloitte. Singh said that IPO might be in sight from next year onwards for the company. It last raised $80 million in August 2017.

  • Founded in year – 2008
  • Founders – Jaspreet Singh, Milind Borate, Ramani Kothandaraman
  • Total funding raised – $198 million


Among the few hardware startups that have been able to scale globally, Tiger Global backed robotic warehouse automation startup GreyOrange recently forayed into the US market. The company offers robots for automated inventory storage, order picking in fulfilment and distribution centers; and sorting orders in warehouses etc. It raised $140 million in September this year led by Facebook investor Peter Thiel’s fund Mithril Capital and is reportedly valued around $500 million.

  • Founded in year – 2011
  • Founders – Akash Gupta, Samay Kohli, Wolfgang Hoeltgen
  • Total funding raised – $170 million


Ratan Tata-backed UrbanClap is another startup leading its category of on-demand home services. The startup scaled to around $480 million valuation after it raised $50 million in November this year. The company has also announced liquidation of shares owned by angel investors and employees worth $4 million. The company launched itself in UAE in April this year and currently competes with Amazon-backed Housejoy, Olx, Quikr and Timesaverz.

  • Founded in year – 2014
  • Founders – Abhiraj Bhal, Raghav Chandra, Varun Khaitan
  • Total funding raised – $110.7 million


The homegrown social networking ShareChat that’s taking on Facebook and WhatsApp to become the defacto app for regional users has already struck a reported valuation of $460 million after its latest fundraising in September 2018. As per a Google study last year, India’s 9 out of 10 users coming online from 2016 to 2021 would use regional languages. The company claims of over 35 million monthly active users using its app in 14 Indian languages.

  • Founded in year – 2015
  • Founders – Ankush Sachdeva, Bhanu Singh, Farid Ahsan
  • Total funding raised – $122.8 million


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