Meet the 31 start-ups most likely to become unicorns soon

Our Bureau Mumbai | Updated on September 03, 2021

Hurun unveils a list of Gazelles and Cheetahs on the sprint to $1 billion

CRED founder Kunal Shah has topped the list of entrepreneurs with the maximum number of personal investments in start-ups over the past year. Shah, with investments in nine start-ups, leads the Hurun India Rich List of entrepreneurs who have invested in future Unicorns, followed by Binny Bansal (5) and Ratan Tata (4).

Infosys co-founders Nandan Nilekani (3), NR Narayana Murthy (2) and Kris Gopalakrishnan (1) are the others invested in start-ups.

This is the first such list by Hurun Research Institute, providing a ranking of India’s start-ups founded in the 2000s, worth at least $200 million, not yet listed on a public exchange and most likely to ‘go Unicorn’ within two years (Gazelles) or four years (Cheetahs). The cut-off date was August 31, 2021.

Zilingo, Mobile Premier League and Rebel Foods make up the top three on the Future Unicorn List 2021. With 31 on the list, Bengaluru is the start-up capital of India, followed by Mumbai and Gurugram.

Women entrepreneurs

Encouragingly, 12 start-ups on this list are co-founded by women entrepreneurs, including Ankiti Bose (Zilingo), Ghazal Alagh (Mamaearth), Upasana Taku (MobiKwik), Manju Dhawan (Ecom Express) and Ruchi Deepak (Acko General Insurance).

Anas Rahman Junaid, MD and Chief Researcher, Hurun India, said, “India is the third largest Unicorn ecosystem in the world and the number of Gazelles and Cheetahs in India is growing at an exponential pace. Over the last year, India added three Unicorns every month.”

Revenue growth

Twenty-eight start-ups in the list doubled their revenues from the previous year. E-commerce Gazelle Spinny’s revenue skyrocketed 92 times in FY2020 to ₹18 crore from ₹19 lakh in FY2019. E-commerce Cheetah DealShare and FinTech Gazelle Navi Technologies’ revenues jumped 19 times and 16 times, respectively. With a $580-million investment, Navi Technologies is the most-funded Gazelle in India, followed by Ecom Express ($490 million). With 37 investments, Sequoia is the leading investor in the list followed by Tiger Global Management with 18.

The average age of Indian start-up founders in the list is 39. The list includes 11 start-up founders under 30. The youngest start-up founders are Dilsher Singh (25) and Siddhant Saurabh (25) of gaming Gazelle Zupee. The oldest start-up co-founder in the list is Ecom Express’ K Satyanarayana (60). Fifteen start-up co-founders are above the age of 50.

“Although the Indian start-up ecosystem is growing, some start-ups that reach a certain scale migrate from India, in search for better regulatory incentives and risk capital availability,” said Junaid. Some of the best Enterprise SaaS companies are born in India but “flipped” to the US, he pointed out. This is a lost opportunity for India and it is important that these start-ups are incentivised to stay back,” he added.

Published on September 02, 2021

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