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List of 8 Finance Unicorn Startups in India
In 2023, India has become home to more than 110 Unicorn startups; their valuation being well over $1 Billion (₹8300 crores). The combined valuation of all the Unicorn startups in India is estimated to
In 2023, India has become home to more than 110 Unicorn startups; their valuation being well over $1 Billion (₹8300 crores). The combined valuation of all the Unicorn startups in India is estimated to be ₹ 2830000+ crores as of May 2023.
This means they're incredibly valuable and have become a big deal in the business world. These startups are like the rare Unicorns in the forest because there aren't too many of them. They're not your everyday companies – they're the extraordinary ones that have made it really big!
Between 2011 and 2022 the number of Unicorn startups in India in total rose from 1 to 100. The reasons for this rapid growth among startups are countless. Accelerated digitization of the economy, conducive government policies, and a consistent consumer base are only some of the reasons why we have seen a stark increase in the number of Unicorns and “soonicorns” (soon-to-be Unicorns) in India.
In 2015 Paytm proudly declared itself as India's first fintech Unicorn. PolicyBazaar, PhonePe, and Billdesk were fashionably late to the Unicorn party as they crossed the $1 billion mark in 2018.
The real fun began in 2021. The floodgates were thrown open, and boom! India produced not one, not two, but 11 fintech Unicorns in a single year.
Before we dive into the list, it is important to understand “what are Unicorn startups in India?” - A Unicorn startup must be worth or valued at least 1 billion US dollars. In Indian currency (INR), a company needs to have a valuation of over 8300 crores INR to be called a Unicorn. These startups are like the rare Unicorns because there aren't too many of them. They're not your everyday companies – they're the extraordinary ones that have made it really big!
Following is a list of the top Unicorn startups in India in the finance sector:
If you weigh businesses based solely on their valuation, Razorpay emerges at the top with an estimated valuation of ₹62000 crores in the Indian Unicorn startups list. Founded in 2014 by the visionary duo of Harshil Mathur and Shashank Kumar, Razorpay is a Bengaluru-based B2B fintech startup specializing in the provision of payment gateway APIs to a diverse array of corporate entities.
Over the years, the company has expanded its portfolio to encompass services such as SME payroll management, banking solutions, lending services, and various payment-related offerings.
Razorpay's FY21 profitability is indeed a rare Unicorn in itself. Many startups, and even some well-established Unicorns, might need a map and a flashlight to find their way to profitability.
The founders have affirmed their self-sufficiency in terms of operational capital, barring the identification of a major strategic imperative.
CRED is another Bengaluru-based fintech startup that entered the exclusive Unicorn club in the year 2021 after securing an impressive ₹1790 crores in funding at a valuation of ₹18300 crores. Fast forward, and within the same year, CRED astoundingly doubled its valuation to a whopping ₹33300 crores after raising an additional ₹2089 crores.
In September of 2023, this fintech powerhouse raised another ₹1165 crores, further catapulting its valuation to a remarkable ₹53200 crores. In the fiscal year 2022-23, CRED reported an astonishing revenue growth of over 251.6%, totalling ₹ 1,484 crores, compared to ₹ 422 crores in the previous year. Revenue from operations also surged by 256%, reaching ₹ 1,400.6 crore.
However, it's not all smooth sailing. CRED's losses did increase by 5% during the same period, reaching ₹ 1,347.4 crore.
Established in 2015 by Burzin Engineer, Rahul Chari, and Sameer Nigam, PhonePe has grown into a versatile fintech platform, offering several financial services.
Like many other payment platforms, Phonepe facilitates swift bank transfers and UPI-based payments, mobile recharges, and bill payments. PhonePe earned its Unicorn status in 2018, within 3 years of its beginning. Since 2016, it has attracted over a billion dollars in funding.
Feeling inspired? Read “How To Connect With Startup Investors In India”.
In August 2023, PhonePe took a bold step by launching Share. Market, a stock market investment platform. With approximately 20 crore monthly active users and a cumulative user base of 45 crores, PhonePe is poised to revolutionize equity investments in the country.
In March 2023, Phonepe processed nearly 47% of all UPI transactions, in India; totaling over 40 crore transactions, equivalent to ₹ 707000 crore.
Founded in 2016 by Asish Mohapatra, Ruchi Kalra, Vasant Sridhar, Bhuvan Gupta, and Nitin Jain, OfBusiness has emerged as a platform for simplifying the complex process of raw material procurement for SMEs throughout India.
With a particular focus on agricultural and construction materials, OfBusiness aims to provide businesses with the resources they need. This includes offering cash-flow-based financing options through its financial arm, Oxyzo, which also earned Unicorn status in March last year.
In a bid to streamline the raw material procurement process, OfBusiness recently unveiled its innovative app, designed to serve SMEs, traders, farmers, and distributors. The app offers comprehensive features, such as real-time price information, industry news, and order tracking. With the app's 10 categories catering to various industries, users can access a wealth of data related to prices, material availability, and news.
In 2016, four ex-Flipkart employees: Lalit Keshre, Harsh Jain, Neeraj Singh, and Ishan Bansal, revolutionized the process of investment in India. They recognized that, in a pre-demonetization era, investing was an arduous endeavour laden with paperwork, opacity, and complexity.
Groww's platform offers users the simplicity people crave in the investment landscape, allowing them to invest effortlessly in stocks, mutual funds, ETFs, IPOs, and even gold. This vision led to the birth of Groww, an online investment platform headquartered in Bengaluru.
Groww's mission was clear: to empower people with the tools, resources, and an impeccable user experience, making investing accessible to all. Fast forward five years, and Groww has burgeoned into a fintech powerhouse, boasting a user base of 1.5 crore registered users.
Upstox made a significant mark in the online stockbroking market in 2021 by becoming the 40th Unicorn of the year, thanks to a substantial funding round led by the renowned US investment giant, Tiger Global. Notable investors like Ratan Tata and Kalaari Capital have also placed their bets on Upstox. This injection of funds took Upstox's valuation into the impressive ₹ 25000 crore range, making it one of the latest Unicorn startups in India.
Founded in 2009 as RKSV Securities, transitioned into retail broking in 2011, and rebranded as Upstox in 2016. Upstox previously led a ₹ 208 crore funding round in 2019. Since then, Upstox has experienced a remarkable surge in its user base, largely attributed to the increasing retail participation in the Indian stock markets.
BharatPe a merchant-focused UPI payment facilitation, provides a lifeline for small shop owners. It allows them to accept payments seamlessly from any payment app, free of charge.
Founded in 2018 by Ashneer Grover and Shashvat Nakrani, BharatPe etched its name in the Unicorn club in 2021, raising an impressive ₹ 3080 crores in a Series E equity round, propelling its valuation to a commendable ₹ 23726 crores.
BharatPe simplifies payment acceptance by equipping merchants with a single QR code that accommodates all payment apps, including Paytm, PhonePe, Google Pay, BHIM, and UPI apps.
With a hassle-free signup process, merchants can promptly start receiving payments directly into their bank accounts. They are also offered the unique flexibility to earn interest of up to 12% on these payments and conveniently access loans as and when needed.
The most remarkable feature? BharatPe has eliminated transaction charges, making payment acceptance a cost-effective endeavour for businesses.
CoinSwitch Kuber is a secure and user-friendly cryptocurrency exchange platform tailored to meet the needs of Indian users. This innovative platform allows users to effortlessly buy over 100 cryptocurrencies, including popular names like Bitcoin, Ethereum, and Ripple. It stands out for offering competitive exchange rates and a diverse range of payment options, enhancing the overall user experience.
One of CoinSwitch Kuber's strengths is its ability to aggregate liquidity from leading crypto exchanges in India, ensuring users access the most favourable rates. Founded in 2017 by Ashish Singhal, Govind Soni, and Vimal Sagar Tiwari, CoinSwitch Kuber introduced an India-exclusive crypto exchange in June 2020.
A noteworthy achievement came in 2021 when CoinSwitch Kuber became Unicorn, becoming only the second crypto Unicorn in India after CoinDCX. In a Series C funding round, the platform secured a substantial ₹ 2164 crores, raising its valuation to an impressive ₹ 15820 crores. With 1.8 crore registered users, CoinSwitch Kuber has become a trusted gateway for cryptocurrency investments in India.
Today India has the 3rd highest number of Unicorn startups in the world. With the rise of great businesses, competition is also rising rapidly. The Top Unicorn startups in India aren't all making money right away. A lot of these profitable Unicorn startups in India are more interested in growing fast and becoming a big deal in their industry than in making a quick profit. They like to use the money they make to get bigger, reach more customers, and come up with new stuff to sell.
These Unicorns don't just make a lot of money; they also create jobs, get people to invest in them, bring in new technology and business ideas, and basically change the way markets work. When they do well, they make other people want to start their own businesses and be creative, which is inspiring for all aspiring entrepreneurs.