Looking Back At 2021- Top Indian Startups That Dominated Headlines

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The Logical Indian Crew

Looking Back At 2021- Top Indian Startups That Dominated Headlines

2021 was a year of prosperity for Indian startups as they finally had their moment in the limelight. This year, a record 42 startups became unicorns, which is a privately held startup company valued at over $1 billion.

2021 was a year of prosperity for Indian startups as they finally had their moment in the limelight. This year, a record 42 startups became unicorns, with a combined valuation of $82.1 billion. Here's a look at some startups which dominated headlines in 2021.

Byju's, Unacademy & The Edtech Boom

The lockdowns and long-lasting effects of the pandemic led to an impact on 247 million children enrolled in schools in India. UNICEF had stated that over six million girls and boys were already out of school even before the COVID-19 crisis began.

In the absence of traditional teaching, edtech startups witnessed a boom in the pandemic years. As per this Business Insider report, India's edtech sector is projected to hit $4 billion in revenue by 2025. In the gold rush of the edtech sector, startups such as Byju and Unacademy have charted success throughout 2021. Byju's was founded by Byju Raveendran and Divya Gokulnath in 2011. The startup focuses on being an online tutoring platform for students beyond traditional classroom teaching in schools. Its e-learning programs are popular amongst school students, and aspirants of NEET, JEE, UPSC & Bank Exams.

Unacademy had its humble origins as a YouTube channel created in 2010 by Gaurav Munjal to help students prepare for exams. The channel grew to become a startup founded in 2015 by Gaurav Munjal, Roman Saini, and Hemesh Singh. It became popular amongst UPSC aspirants, SSC, IIT JEE, CAT and other exams. 2021 was a prosperous year for edtech startups, as is apparent from Byju's $1 billion acquisition of Aakash Educational Services. Unacademy acquired FJS Tech Pvt. Ltd in July, K12 Technoservices Pvt. among other firms.

These companies, which had already gained a large market in 2020, attempted to explore deeper into India's growing edtech market. Even as Byju's and Unacademy dominate the edtech market, their ambition is uncapped. They are also looking to explore opportunities outside of edtech. In a blog, Gaurav Munjal says,

"Now can we compete with Netflix and build Iconic Products for Learning and Education with more Subscribers than them? We certainly can, and we certainly will. And we will play to win."

The Story Of Falguni Nayar & Nykaa's Debut

Nykaa is revolutionary in more than one way. Apart from being one of the 42 startups joining the unicorn list of 2021, it is also the first Indian unicorn startup headed by a woman.

The e-commerce company was founded by Falguni Nayar in 2012 and is headquartered in Mumbai. The company sells beauty, wellness and fashion products across websites, mobile apps and 76 offline stores. In 2021, shares of Nykaa, listed at a premium of 78 per cent on the BSE at ₹2,001 against the IPO price of ₹1,125. The market capitalisation crossed ₹1-lakh crore on the first day of listing, as per this BusinessLine article.

The story of Nykaa is also the story of Falguni Nayar. Nayar began the startup to address the beauty needs of women. Thorugh her 19 year career at Kotak Mahindra Group in various roles, she eventually became the Managing Director of its investment banking division.

She eventually decided to start her own entrepreneurial adventure, risking her family funds, with no prior experience in retail, beauty or technology. Her story of perseverance has led her to become India's richest self-made woman with a net worth of $7 billion. Falguni Nayar and the success of Nykaa has paved the way for the many self-made female entrepreneurs following in her footsteps.

Zomato's Stellar Debut On The Markets

Zomato became the first big consumer internet startup in India to make its market debut. The online food aggregators made a stellar debut on the stock markets, with shares opening at ₹116 on July 23, at a premium of 51.32% over the issue price of ₹76.

Even if the company is described as a "money-losing, cash-burning enterprise", experts look at the enterprise's immense market potential. On November 10, in its July-September quarter results for the financial year 2021-22, the company reported a net loss of Rs 430 crore on a consolidated basis compared to Rs 230 crore in the same period of last year. However, the online food aggregator recorded consolidated revenues of Rs 1,024 crore for the recent quarter as compared to Rs 426 crore in the same period last year, which increased by a robust 140 per cent, as per this Moneycontrol report.

The online food aggregator lost Rs 812 crore in the last financial year. However, the company's losses were reduced by 65 per cent from the previous year. These numbers indicate that Zomato's growth potential is not marred by its losses. Apart from the investors, the Zomato listing is excellent news for the venture capitalists and the financial sector money players who've invested heavily in India's startup sector.

The success of the Zomato IPO can be attributed to CEO Deepinder Goyal, and rightly so. He founded the company in 2008 along with Pankaj Chaddah, slowly growing the company till Ant Financial eventually backed it in 2018, which invested 210 million dollars in Zomato.

In an Economic Times interview, Goyal, when asked what it takes to prepare for an IPO and become a public company, said,

"Discipline, trust, transparency, no mumbo jumbo in your books, keep it clean—these are the basics."

2021 has heralded what seems to be the golden age of entrepreneurship in India, as predicted by M R Rangaswami in 2014. It is an exciting time for startups and their founders in what looks to be a promising future for entrepreneurial India.

Also Read: Looking Back At 2021- Five Progressive Judgements Passed By Indian Judiciary That Won Hearts

Contributors Suggest Correction
Writer : Anish Yande
Editor : Snehadri Sarkar
Creatives : Snehadri Sarkar

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