If you are looking for innovative startups that have grown into large ventures or startups that have the potential to disrupt large players, India is the country that has the potential to disrupt the world. The market size combined with a large population of highly educated professionals makes India a cauldron of creativity and imagination.
From having a few tech companies to dozens and now several thousands of disruptive new ventures, the business ecosystem in India has grown tremendously over the years. Grabbing the spotlight as a ‘Startup Nation,’ India is now considered the world’s third-largest startup economy. As of 2018, there were over 50,000 startups in the country, with 1,300 new technology-led businesses born in 2019 alone . In another article on the website, we have covered the journey of Self-funded startups that rose to fame without external funding.
Most founder entrepreneurs gave up their financial and corporate security to pursue their dreams instead. While some have grown into multimillion companies, others have purposefully maintained the small-business status. All in all, these successful Indian startups prove that paving your own road to transformation and recognition is a tangible reality and not just some fantasy heard of only in marketing books.
Entrepreneurs aspiring to take their new venture to new heights can gain major inspiration from these thriving startups.
Starting as a small chain of budget hotels, Oyo has now become India’s leading chain of hospitality hotels, homes, and other living spaces. Oyo is also known as Oyo Rooms, which stands for On Your Own Rooms. This hotel network was set up in 2013 by its present-day CEO, Ritesh Agarwal. A year earlier, Ritesh had founded Oravel, a peer-to-peer lodging website created as a local alternative for Airbnb. After receiving the Thiel Fellowship award that gave him $100,000 for startup funding, he pivoted the business model to what is now known as Oyo .
Oyo is currently valued at over $10 billion and enjoys a reputation for being the best marketplace for branded hotels in Southeast Asia. It serves 199 cities locally while operating in over 800 cities across 80 countries internationally.
Launched in 2010, Ola Cabs is a leading mobility service company serving residents in more than 50 cities across India. Ola Cabs was founded by two graduates of the Indian Institute of Technology, Bombay.
Customers know Ola Cabs for its remarkable service that makes taxi booking and car rentals easy and hassle-free. But what most people don’t know is that the company has roots in a terrible transportation experience by one of its founder, Bhavish Aggarwal.
Bhavish was traveling from Bangalore to Bandipur via a taxi when the driver ended the trip mid-journey due to failed negotiations over the ride fare. Being stranded in the middle of nowhere sparked the idea of starting a ridesharing service where riders can have greater control over the total amount of money they wish to pay for the trip.
Ola Cabs has grown to include services like food delivery and vehicles for hire. Based in Bangalore, it has an estimated revenue of $304 million.
Slurrp is one of those small businesses in India that not only managed to survive the economic effects of the COVID-19 pandemic but continues to thrive despite the shift in market trends.
Slurrp Farm, commonly known as Slurrp, is a four-year-old startup that predominantly focuses on selling organic baby food items. Founders Meghana Narayan and Shauravi Malik left their jobs as an associate principal and investment manager, respectively, at international firms when opportunity knocked at their doors. These female entrepreneurs identified the lack of healthy food options for parents worried about their kids’ health. Therefore, the duo introduced their own range of nutritious cookies and baby cereal. They started out with just two products but soon expanded their line of products to 17 different packaged baby foods, including organic pancake mixes, crepe batter, and millet-based dosas, to name a few.
Slurp was earning monthly revenue of $68,000 (approx 5 million Indian rupees!) when the lockdowns were imposed . Although the sales suffered a setback, the company was quickly back on its feet with its founders’ strategic thinking and implementation of lean techniques.
Meghana and Shauravi changed the DNA of the company. They migrated the business online and slashed costs by shutting down the leased office space to work from a friend’s house instead. As a result, they were able to preserve cash and regenerate sales. Slurrp continues providing parents in India with the best instant food items for kids and toddlers.
FreshToHome is a food-based startup that caters to customers looking to buy meat and fish in India. The company was founded in 2016 in Bengaluru, Karnataka. The service gained such massive traction that the company expanded its operations to over 20 cities across the country in a span of less than twelve months. This food delivery service offers fresh and additive-free chicken, duck, and mutton online. The halal-cut meat products are particularly popular among the Muslim population in major cities like Delhi, Bangalore, Pune, and Cochin.
What’s interesting about FreshToHome is that its founder, Shan Kadavil, had an initial funding of merely $24. Yet, with his smart thinking, he has been able to grow the business and gain a firm footing in the market against all odds.
FreshToHome employs over 12,000 employees across various cities. It is said to earn more than $82 million in sales every year, delivering as many as 1.5 million orders of fish and meat in a single month. According to a news report, the company raised $121 million last October in Series C funding from VCs worldwide, including the Investment Corporation of Dubai and the local growth-capital provider, Allana Group .
The number of startups in India is continuously increasing. The aforementioned successful businesses prove that building an empire is possible for those who study the market well, understand customer needs, and are willing to innovate. With the government also bolstering entrepreneurship in the country with financial as well as legal support, this is surely a great time to launch your own startup in India.