Top 5 Unicorns in India

Created on 14 May 2022

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Updated on 25 Aug 2022

India ranks 3rd in the race of startup hosting countries in the world, leaving behind countries like Canada, North Korea and the UK. We recently hit the mark of 100 Unicorns, and the numbers are still growing. With the saturation point for startups coming close in countries like the US, investors are looking at India as the new Silicon Valley.

But, will all of these unicorns be able to survive in the Indian market? Well, the answer is simple, only the best ones will survive. Let’s take a look at India’s top 5 unicorns in 2022 and why they are considered the best.

What Is A Unicorn? 

Before getting into the top 5 Unicorns in India, let’s first understand what Unicorn is.  A Unicorn is a fictional animal in general terms, but in economics, it is a company or a startup whose valuation reaches $1 billion. This term was coined by  Ailin Lee, who owns an investment firm called Cowboy firms.

The reason behind calling it a unicorn was that people might believe in a unicorn's existence but it doesn’t exist in real life. It’s completely fictional, just like having a valuation of $1 billion. When this rare phenomenon became a reality, she said it was like spotting a unicorn. 

Features of a Unicorn Startup

Here are some features of a Unicorn startup:

  • They disrupt the market with innovation.

  • Most of them are tech-driven to make things more efficient.

  • They solve problems in the world.

Unicorns in India

Indian Unicorns are making people’s lives easy through their ideas. 60% of the total funding in India went into Fintech, SaaS and e-commerce sectors. 

75% of all the Indian Unicorn companies have been built in the last 11 years. Out of these, 50% were founded after 2017. Recently, Neo Bank Open became our 100th Unicorn startup.
VCs are attracted to India, for the size of the market, young customers and more spending power. Now, let’s take a look at the top 5 Indian Unicorn startups.

  1. Flipkart 

Flipkart is disrupting the e-commerce industry.  Founded by Binny Bansal and Sachin Bansal in 2007, Flipkart introduced itself as a small e-commerce website and now they are one of the most popular e-commerce platforms. Its current valuation is $37.6 billion. It was declared the second Unicorn of India in 2012-13 after InMobi. 

In 2018, Walmart acquired Flipkart for $16 billion, which helped it scale quickly in the market. The major investors in the company today are Walmart, Tencent and Softbank. 

Industry: E-commerce
Valuation: $37.6 billion
Investors: Walmart, Tencent and Softbank. 
Founders: Binny Bansal and Sachin Bansal
Founded in: 2007

  1. Nykaa

Founded in 2012 by Falguni Nayar, Nykaa started as a cosmetic-based e-commerce platform.  It offers a wide range of cosmetic and skincare products on its website. 

In March 2020,  it raised ₹100 crores (US$13 million) from Steadview Capital. It offers around 200,000 products on the website. Other than the website, it also has opened more than 26 offline stores across India. 

Industry: E-commerce
Valuation: $12.86 billion
Investors: Fidelity Management and Research Company, Alia Bhatt and 13 other investors
Founders: Falguni Nayar
Founded in: 2012

  1. BharatPe

BharatPe started in 2018 as a payment app providing merchant aggregator and payments services. It mainly helps users with making digital payments via QR and POS. The company joined the Unicorn club in 2021 when its valuation increased three times to $2.85 billion. 

Almost all the retail shops in India have a BharatPe QR code today as they don’t charge any commission for the transactions happening through their QR.

Industry: Fintech
Valuation:  $2.8 billion
Investors: Sequoia Capital, Ribbit Capital, Steadview Capital and more
Founders: Ashneer Grover and Shashvat Nakrani 
Founded in: 2018

  1. OLA Cabs

Ola was launched as a ride-sharing service in India in 2010. The business model was very similar to that of Uber but what made Ola different was Rickshaws. People would rather take a rickshaw than a cab in India, and Ola made it safer and hassle-free to book an auto ride. 

Founded by Bhavish Aggarwal and Ankit Bhati in 2010, Ola joined the $1 billion club in 2020, it raised a valuation of  $250 million in 2020 and marked its place in the Unicorn club.

Industry: Transportation
Valuation:  $5 billion
Investors: Hero Enterprise, IIFL, Edelweiss, Siddhant Partners and more.
Founders: Bhavish Aggarwal, Ankit Bhati
Founded in: 2010

  1. Sharechat

Founded by Ankush Sachdeva, Bhanu Pratap Singh, and Farid Ahsan in 2015, Sharechat started as an Indian video-sharing social networking service. 
Messaging, sharing of media, and tagging are the primary services offered by Sharechat. More than 50 million content creators are present on ShareChat’s platform. The company joined the $1 billion club in September 2020, raising its valuation from $630 million during its pre-Series E round. 

Industry: Social Network
Valuation:  $5 billion
Investors: Times internet and 23 others
Founders: Ankush Sachdeva, Bhanu Pratap Singh, and Farid Ahsan 
Founded in: 2015


These are the top 5 Indian Unicorns, which are growing exponentially and helping people with their daily needs. What do you think? Will India become the next Silicon Valley and give the world its next Apple, Microsoft or Uber? 

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Akshatraj Gupta

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Akshat is a generalist who loves to learn, travel, meditate, and build things.

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