Summer of Unicorns: How These 6 Indian Startups Took Flight
The Covid-19 lockdown has significantly altered economies based on political demographics. It had its fair share of a negative impact in India, but things have taken a turn as the new financial year begins in April 2021.
To those unfamiliar with the term unicorn, a startup is considered a unicorn when its valuation crosses $1 Billion.
6 Indian startups, Meesho on 5th April, CRED on 6th April, PharmEasy on 7th April, and most recently Groww, Sharechat, and Gupshup, have all achieved unicorn status. An unprecedented week in the Indian startup space as the number of unicorns in India rose to 10 in 2021 compared to 11 in 2021, and it’s still April.
Although economies took a hit in 2020, India’s lockdown restrictions still haven’t been eased off completely. Yet, despite these challenges, these companies took flight. Although they offer varying products and services, they all took a similar path to become unicorns. Let’s take a quick look at their journeys.
- Meesho is an e-commerce platform that facilitates small business and individuals to start their businesses via social media platforms like Facebook, WhatsApp, Telegram, Instagram and more. They turned unicorn after raising $300 Million in a new round led by Softbank Vision 2.0. The COVID lockdown has undoubtedly helped increase traffic on e-commerce platforms, which only helped the already successful startup.
- CRED is an app that enables you to pay all your credit card bills at once. It works as a third party aggregator and offers ease of transaction for users with multiple credit cards. The app gives rewards tokens called CRED coins, which are redeemable for actual money by using a ‘Kill the Bill’ feature. So basically, you get cash for just paying all your bills through an aggregator. Of course, they possess all your data, but that’s another story. CRED obtained a new series D funding of $215 Million, most recently, which helped them cross the coveted valuation mark. The rise in online payments during the lockdown has helped them over the past months.
- PharmEasy is a company developing a healthcare delivery platform. The app works as an aggregator for all your medical needs, from helping patients connect with local pharmacy stores and hospitals. It enables them to order medicines, healthcare products, and diagnostic tests. PharmEasy received a $350 Million fund when it enabled them to turn unicorn. The increased virtual consultation activity and e-commerce during COVID lockdown have helped PharmEasy.
- Groww is an online trading platform. Although there is a fair share of online trading platforms, Groww has seen considerable Growwth during the lockdown. After an $83 Million Series D funding led by Tiger Global, they turned unicorn. There is still stiff competition for online trading platforms in India, but Groww has been opening more than 250,000 new systematic investment plans (SIPs) every month. Their strategy of targeting millennials has helped them until now, and time will provide further answers.
- ShareChat is a social media platform similar to Tiktok. The ban on Tiktok in India has certainly helped them as Tiktok users have changed ShareChat to a mainstay rather than just an alternative. Once again, Tiger Global provided funding as they became strapped with an additional $502 Million. However, many are skeptical about such platforms as there have been calls from many parents to ban such apps. Parents want to prevent their children from wasting time. There was enough time to waste during the Covid lockdown. And let’s be honest, we will always find time to waste. But if a startup has turned into a unicorn, which sensible government will ban them?
This week, the 2nd week of April has been an unprecedented time in the Indian economy due to increased valuations.
By strategically leveraging the lockdown restrictions into a business advantage and dancing to the tunes of political impositions, the need for their services increased their valuation.
The digital acceleration provided by the COVID-19 lockdown led to heightened investments and remodeling of present strategies. The lockdown has certainly helped these startups reach maturity at an earlier rate. More and more startups have begun to file their IPOs, and they have the lockdown to thank in a big way. A major chunk of expected IPOs in India is from the startup space. The recent proposal by Indian authorities to ease short selling restrictions only shows the growth potential for companies in India, particularly startups.
Of course, there will always be some internal aspects that might be hidden from the outside world. Nevertheless, the flight of these unicorns only further makes a point of carefully planned strategic planning, marketing, and execution.