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9 Indian startups that turned Unicorns in 2020 [so far] [Update]

Perhaps, in such a time, becoming a Unicorn was the last thing these startups had in mind. Yet, 7 startups turned Unicorn this year! 

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Laxitha Mundhra
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Startup Guide: The need for startups to reinvent themselves post-COVID

---Update (16/12/2020) on newly entered startups in the Unicorn club--

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Software-as-a-service (SaaS) firm Zenoti has raised $160 million as part of its Series D round. The round was led by private equity firm Advent International, through Advent Tech and affiliate Sunley House Capital. With this, the cloud software provider to the beauty and wellness industry has reached a valuation of over $1 billion. Existing investors Tiger Global and Steadview Partners., at a valuation of more than $1 billion. It is the latest startup to enter the unicorn club after Cars 24.

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Yesterday, Razorpay raised $100 million from Sequoia and GIC, and with that, it has become a Unicorn. despite the pandemic, many startups are seeing that they raise funds and keep themselves afloat. The Indian Startup Community has a huge potential and many VCs are moving to invest in a startup catering to such a large market.

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Yet, we cannot ignore the fact that the pandemic has created an inconducive economy. Perhaps, in such a time, becoming a Unicorn was the last thing these startups had in mind. Yet, 9 startups turned Unicorn this year! Three unicorns have emerged in fintech space and one each in mobility, edtech and beauty space and two in software. A unicorn is a privately held startup that is valued at $1 Billion. Thus, here's a chronological affair of events as these Startups turned into a Unicorn.

1. Pine Labs

The point-of-sale and merchant commerce solution provider was the first one to become a unicorn in the year 2020. It became a Unicorn after a deal with financial services major Mastercard in January. Pine Labs, further, serves over 150,000 merchants in 3,700 cities with over 450,000 merchant touchpoints.

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2. FirstCry

Founded in 2010 by Supam Maheshwari and Amitava Saha, Firstcry offers different categories of baby and kids products. From clothing to school essentials, the company claims to offer 2 Lakh baby and kids products across 2,000 brands. The company has expanded its user base to over 4 Mn and has a retail footprint of over 300 stores spread across 125 cities.

The company entered the Unicorn Club in February when it secured an investment of $300 Mn investment from SoftBank. Further, the latter will invest another $100 million (Rs 703.71 crore) on the second anniversary of the deal in January 2021.

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3. Nykaa

Falguni Nayar started the fashion e-tailer in 2012 which valued at $1.2 billion in April 2020. It had secured Rs 100 crore in funding from its existing investor UK-based Steadview Capital as a primary investment, in April this year. The Mumbai-based cosmetic retailer had scaled down operations during coronavirus lockdown.

4. Postman

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The software company was founded in 2014 by Abhinav Asthana, Ankit Sobti and Abhijit Kane and is headquartered in San Francisco. Further, Postman is a leading platform for application programming interface (API) development. The company had secured $150 million in a Series C investment round led by Insight Partners, global venture capital and private equity firm in June. Used by more than 500,000 companies globally, the Postman API Platform helps them accelerate their pace and effectiveness of software development.

5. Zerodha

The fintech company Zerodha has a current valuation of $3 billion. Further, GoldenPi, a trading platform, raised Rs 3.5 crore from Zerodha in June this year, through Rainmatter capital. Nithin and Nikhil Kamath, the founders of Zerodha, are the newcomers in the recently-released Forbes' list of India's 100 richest 2020.

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6. Unacademy

The edtech firm last month raised around Rs 1,125 crore in a funding round led by Softbank Vision Fund 2 along with participation from existing investors including Facebook. The company had raised around Rs 780 crore in February in a funding round led by social media major Facebook and General Atlantic. Unacademy has a network of over 18,000 educators and 350,000 paid subscribers.

7. Razorpay

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Lastly, Razorpay became India's sixth unicorn this year after it raised $100 million (about Rs 731 crore) in a funding round co-led by Singapore's sovereign wealth fund GIC and Sequoia Capital India. Razorpay helps businesses modernise their financial infrastructure by providing intelligent automated payment. It also provides banking solutions to manage their entire money flow.

The latest of Unicorn Startups currently powers payments for over 5 million businesses. Its customers include Airtel, BookMyShow, Facebook, Ola, Zomato, Swiggy, Cred, ICICI Prudential among others. The company also aims to double business by the end of this year.

8. Cars24

Cars24 is one of India’s leading online transaction platform for pre-owned vehicles. The startup recently forayed into the used two-wheelers category in 2015. And, in less than 6 months of operations, the company has already transacted over 3,000 two-wheelers. Cars24 also acquired an NBFC license last year for its financing business and is now providing quick and easy loan plans with 2-hour disbursals.

Further, with over $200 million raise from DST Global and existing investors including Exor Seeds, Moore Strategic Ventures and Unbound the startup finally entered the unicorn club in late-November.

9. Zenoti

Software-as-a-service (SaaS) firm Zenoti has raised $160 million as part of its Series D round. The round led by private equity firm Advent International, through Advent Tech and affiliate Sunley House Capital; and also existing investors Tiger Global and Steadview Partners. With this, the cloud software provider to the beauty and wellness industry has reached a valuation of over $1 billion. Further, the funding comes a year after Zenoti raised close to $70 million from Tiger Global Management and Steadview Capital. It will also allow the company to make acquisitions of similar SaaS businesses operating in the spa and salon segment.

Read MoreStart-ups with upcoming IPOs in the next 2-3 years

postman firstcry zerodha nykaa unacademy razorpay pine-labs