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Unicorns of 2021: The count rises to 6 with the inclusion of $1B valued tenderfoots CRED and Meesho



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2020 was an year of uncertainties. Despite that, around 11 start-ups attained the unicorn status. With high expectations, 2021 was welcomed by everyone. Just 4 months since 2021 has kicked off, the Indian economy is booming well. New companies such as — Digit Insurance, InnovAccer, Five Star Business Finance, Meesho, Infra.Market, and CRED were added to the unicorn club. The startup ecosystem has already added six newbies to the reputed $1 billion valuation club. 

With long way to go, industry experts had predicted that India will see a significant increase in the number of unicorns this year. At present, India has around 40 unicorns. A NASCOM report states that there will be about 50 unicorns before 2021 ends. It is not a big surprise if the number rises more than 50.

Let’s have a look at the key achievements of these companies:

Digit Insurance

Digit is a general insurance company started by Kamesh Goyal and backed by the Fairfax Group. Its offers various services such as car insurance, travel insurance, home insurance, commercial vehicle insurance, and shop insurance.

  • January 2021: Raised $84 million / Series Unknown 
  • August 2020: Launched an online DIY insurance advisory tool for SMEs 
  • February 2020: Actor Anushka Sharma and Indian cricketer Virat Kohli join investor consortium 
  • November 2019: Named Asia’s Best General Insurance Company of the Year 
  • June 2019: Raised $50 million / Series Unknown 
  • July 2018: Raised $45 million / Series Unknown 
  • July 2018: Acquired ITI Reinsurance Ltd. for $72.8 million 
  • June 2017: Raised $47 million / Series Unknown

InnovAccer 

InnovAccer is a healthcare company, founded by Abhinav Shashank, Kanav Hasija, and Sandeep Gupta. It provides physician practices, hospitals, health systems, and other healthcare providers with population health management and Pay-for-performance solutions. 

  • February 2021: Raised $105 million / Series D 
  • February 2021: Earns NCQA PHM Prevalidation 
  • October 2020: Launched Risk Adjustment Solution for Improved Coding Accuracy
  • February 2020: Raised $70 million/ Series C 
  • June 2019: Awarded as the “Best Healthcare Big Data Platform” in 2019 MedTech Breakthrough Awards 
  • February 2019: Launched Its AI-Based Data Activation Platform at HIMSS19 
  • January 2019: Raised $11 million/ Series B 
  • May 2018: Raised $25 million/ Series B 
  • July 2016: Raised $15.6 million/ Series A 
  • October 2015: Recognised among 30 most disruptive Indian startups in YourStory’s Tech30 list 
  • May 2015: Raised $2.5 million/ Seed

Five Star Business Finance

Five Star Business Finance is a Chennai head quartered company that offers small business and mortgage loans to borrowers for meeting their personal and business needs. 

In March 2021, Five Star Finance, has raised US$234 million (INR17 billion) from leading global and Indian investment firms. The company is now valued at $1.4 billions. It has its presence in 8 states of India with 262 branches.

PharmEasy

As a digital healthcare platform, PharmEasy connects over 60,000 brick and mortar pharmacies and 4,000 doctors in 16,000 zip codes across India. It digitises the entire supply chain to provide easy access for pharmacies to procure the products. PharmEasy also provide SaaS solutions for pharmacies to use in procurement combined with delivery and logistics support, and credit solutions to buy over 200,000 medicines from over 3,000 pharmaceutical manufacturers. The company raised $350 million in a Series E round led by Prosus Ventures and TPG growth at a reported valuation of $1.5 billion, making it the seventh startup from India to enter the unicorn club this year.

Groww

Online trading platform Groww was founded in 2017 by four former Flipkart executives — Lalit Keshre, Harsh Jain, Neeraj Singh, and Ishan Bansal. At present, Groww has over 1.5 crore users. Over 20 lakh new demat accounts were opened on its platform since June 2020. The startup entered the unicorn club with its recent Series D round where it raised $83 million led by Tiger Global. Existing investors such as Sequoia India, YC Continuity, Ribbit Capital, and Propel Venture Partners participated in the round as well. Groww focusses on simplicity and transparency, and has been designed as an adviser or ‘buddy.’ Its platform is powered by intelligent UI and UX. The startup offers paperless investing options, letting customers buy and sell mutual funds online.  The startup uses technology like image processing, which uses machine learning models. This helps automate manual workflows, reduce error, and increase user ease throughout the journey. 

Meesho

Meesho, the social commerce platform also joined the unicorn club with the recent funding round. $300 million funds were raised with participation from existing investors Prosus Ventures, Facebook, Shunwei Capital, Venture Highway, and Knollwood Investment. The company is now valued at $2.1 billion. The company aims to build a single digital ecosystem for 100 Million small businesses.

Gupshup

Gupshup, the Silicon Valley-headquartered conversational messaging tech startup, is co-founded by IIT-Bombay alumni Beerud Sheth. Gupshup’s mission is to build the tools that help businesses better engage customers through mobile messaging and conversational experiences. It raised $100 million in funding from Tiger Global at a valuation of $1.4 billion, and entered the growing unicorn club. According to Gupshup, its API enables over 100,000 developers and businesses to build messaging and conversational experiences, delivering over six billion messages per month across 30-plus messaging channels.

Sharechat

The Indian language social media platform’s parent company Mohalla Tech, which also houses short video app Moj — on Thursday said it raised $502 million in its latest round led by Lightspeed Ventures and Tiger Global, along with participation from Snap Inc, Twitter, and India Quotient, among others. With this round, the Indic language social media startup has now become a unicorn, valued at $2.1 billion. ShareChat will use the fresh funds to grow its user base and build a world-class organization. It is also looking to strengthen its creator community, AI-powered recommendation engine, and platform health.

Infra.Market

Infra. market is an India-based technology company trying to change the way construction and real estate companies procure material for their projects.The B2B commerce company Infra.Market raised $100 million Series C funding led by Tiger Global. Existing investors Nexus Venture Partners, Accel Partners, Sistema Asia Fund, Evolvence India Fund, and Fundamental Capital GmbH participated in this round of funding. The current fundraise takes Infra.Market’s valuation to $1 billion.  Founded by Souvik Sengupta and Aaditya Sharda in 2016, Infra.Market is a procurement marketplace that leverages technology to provide an enhanced procurement experience for all players in the construction ecosystem. The company is targeting the $140 billion construction materials market with a strong focus on the infrastructure sector.

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