Highlighting the success of India’s startup ecosystem through the Covid-19 pandemic, Prime Minister Narendra Modi spoke about the country’s burgeoning set of unicorns, which has reached a landmark figure of 100, worth over 300 billion dollars collectively.

“On the 5th of this month, the number of unicorns in the country has reached the figure of 100 and you surely know that a unicorn is a startup worth at least seven and a half thousand crore rupees. The total valuation of these unicorns is more than 330 billion dollars, that is, more than 25 lakh crore rupees. Certainly, this is a matter of pride for every Indian,” he said during Sunday’s ‘Mann Ki Baat’ address.

“You will also be surprised to know that out of our total unicorns, 44 came up last year. Not only that, 14 more unicorns were formed anew in three-four months this year. This means that even in this phase of the global pandemic, our startups have been creating wealth and value,” he continued.

With the address further sparking conversations online regarding the fate and continued success of India’s startup sector, we took a moment to revisit India’s ten biggest unicorns—startups that have crossed the $1 billion valuation mark and made an imprint on the way contemporary India approaches entrepreneurship.

Note: This list omits Hike and Snapdeal due to insufficient data available to the public.

1. OYO – $9.6 Billion

Oyo

Founders: Ritesh Agarwal

Headquarters: Delhi NCR

Years To Unicorn: 5

An Indian hospitality chain, OYO covers leased and franchised hotels, homes, and living spaces, with over 43,000 properties and 1 million rooms in 80 countries.

Launched in 2012 as ‘Oravel Stays’, the company was founded with a $100,000 grant from the Thiel Fellowship – a two-year program from PayPal co-founder Peter Thiel.

2. Zomato – $8.6 Billion

Zomato

Founders: Pankaj Chaddah, Deepinder Goyal, Gaurav Gupta

Headquarters: Delhi NCR

Years To Unicorn: 7

One of the world’s biggest restaurant aggregator and food delivery companies, Zomato gives users information, menus, reviews, and all other necessary details from restaurants in 24 countries.

Despite concerns regarding profit margins, layoffs, and PR issues, Zomato has remained very popular since its launch in 2008, going public in the summer of 2021.

3. Info Edge – $8.2 Billion

Info Edge

Founders: Sanjeev Bikhchandani

Headquarters: Delhi NCR

Years To Unicorn: 19

One of India’s biggest dotcom bubble stories, Info Edge was founded in 1995 and initially focused on reproducing newsprint classified ads. It has since founded Jeevansathi, 99acres, and Shiksha, with 70 percent of its revenue coming from Naukri.com, as per 2018 figures.

Info Edge was also an early investor in Zomato and Policybazaar. The company launched Info Edge Venture Fund in 2020 to continue this trend of spotting and investing in online startup companies.

4. Dream11 – $8.0 Billion

Dream11

Founders: Harsh Jain, Bhavit Sheth

Headquarters: Mumbai

Years To Unicorn: 11

India’s biggest fantasy sports platform, Dream11 was launched in 2008 and also happens to be the first-ever Indian gaming company to become a unicorn.

With big investments from Steadview Capital, Tencent, and more, Dream11 currently focuses on fantasy cricket, hockey, football, kabaddi, and basketball.

5. Ola – $7.5 Billion

Ola Bhavish Aggarwal

Founders: Bhavish Aggarwal, Ankit Bhati

Headquarters: Bengaluru

Years To Unicorn: 4

Ola is an Indian multinational ride-sharing company, which since 2018 has moved into Australia, New Zealand, and the United Kingdom.

The company was founded on the TaxiforSure platform, acquired in 2015. Between then and 2022, the company has dabbled with other business models, such as financial services, cloud kitchens, and even the used cars marketplace.

6. Razorpay – $7.5 Billion

Razorpay Harshil Mathur, Shashank Kumar

Founders: Harshil Mathur, Shashank Kumar

Headquarters: Bengaluru

Years To Unicorn: 6

Formed by a pair of IIT Roorkee alumni, Razorpay is an Indian fintech company that aims to provide payment gateway services to a large variety of e-commerce platforms.

Founded in 2014, the founders initially set off to create a crowdfunding platform, before realising that online payment in India was severely underdeveloped. 

7. Pine Labs – $6.0 Billion

Pine Labs

Founders: Lokvir Kapoor, Tarun Upaday, Rajul Garg

Headquarters: Delhi NCR

Years To Unicorn: 22

Another Indian fintech giant, Pine Labs is surprisingly old at nearly 24 years. Offering several point-of-sale solutions like Razorpay, Pine Labs also offers several loyalty program solutions, and has partnered with several global banks, payment companies, and over 70,000 retailers across India.

8. Paytm – $5.9 Billion

Paytm

Founders: Vijay Shekhar Sharma

Headquarters: Delhi NCR

Years To Unicorn: 5

Noida-based Paytm is one of India’s largest fintech companies that was founded in 2010 with an initial investment of $2 million.

Today, it holds a gross merchandise value of over $52 billion, and caters to a wide variety of financial needs for over 350 million users.

9. Pharmeasy- $5.6 Billion

Pharmeasy

Founders: Dharmil Sheth, Dhaval Shah, Mikhil Innani

Headquarters: Mumbai

Years To Unicorn: 6

One of India’s biggest players in the home-delivery segment for pharmaceuticals and consumer healthcare products, Pharmeasy was founded in 2015 and has since broadened its reach to diagnostic tests, with a large valuation boost occuring during the peak of India’s Covid-19 pandemic.

10. Postman – $5.6 Billion

Postman

Founders: Abhinav Asthana, Abhijit Kane, Ankit Sobti

Headquarters: Bengaluru

Years To Unicorn: 6

Observing the need for an API testing process in India’s rapidly growing cloud-based ecosystem, Postman was set up in 2014 to help companies set up API executables, team-based digital workspaces, and toolkits for API monitoring and testing.

(Featured Image Credits: Government of India, Zomato)