The last decade has seen a skyrocketing phenomenon emerge in India – the age of the gig economy had finally hit. From the startups that we saw grow in the 2010’s, here are a few Indian entrepreneurs that left us inspired to crack their success stories.
Conceived in 2008, Yourstory is an interesting startup in multiple ways. Not only is it a media-tech company that has chosen to specialize and focus on telling the story of India’s vibrant startup ecosystem, but it has also taken the bold decision to exclusively distribute its content digitally. The founder and CEO, Shradha Sharma’s gamble has paid off over the last decade, where it has raised 13 million USD over three rounds of funding.
They have published over 60,000 stories documenting the life of countless entrepreneurs and change agents, and have created visibility for startups that usually fight for mindshare in an increasingly crowded media market. To the extent that being featured in a YourStory article has become a rite of passage for the Indian startup ecosystem, something that founders actively work towards.
YourStory articles have garnered over 3 million readers and it plans to strengthen the nascent wave of regionalized content generation, enabling Indians to tell their stories in languages they’re comfortable with.
‘Ola’ needs no introduction. The first cab aggregator company In India, Ola has made availing cab services a super smooth experience. Formerly known as OlaCabs, it was started in Dec 2010 by two IIT-B graduates, Bhavish Aggarwal and Ankit Bhatia. Their model took this segment by storm as they were trailblazers in the country, bringing in structure to an unorganized sector.
Instead of owning a fleet, Ola partners with a number of taxi drivers and owners, adds a touch of technology for the booking ‘experience’ & voila! From easy payment options to keeping the passenger entertained on the go with ‘Ola Play’, it takes care to ensure a smooth ride. Ola has a hold on 52.6% market share (as of 2018) in India with users across 100 cities of India and 15 lakh driver-partners.
India’s taxi-hailing market is valued at more than $10 Billion. The market is expected to grow at a CAGR of 13.7% during 2017-2022; owing to changing lifestyles of travellers and increasing disposable income of consumers, especially in Tier-I and Tier-II cities. Ola has been exceptionally smart in tapping into this market. It is valued at $6 billion, making it the third-highest valued consumer internet company in India. The lure of this home-grown cab aggregator has proven irresistible to investors.
Some might say, the most important thing about building a business is the vision behind it. This is the ethos that defines Sagar Daryani and Binod Kumar Homagai; the brains behind Wow! Momo. This duo, from Kolkata, founded Wow! Momo Foods Pvt. Ltd in 2008; a 200-square-foot kitchen with one table, two part-time cooks & raw material taken on credit from a local grocery shop. Wow! Momo which started with an investment of Rs. 30,000 is now valued at more than Rs 100 Crore.
When Wow! Momo got a positive response, the managers of hypermarkets offered kiosk spaces in their other branches. Today, they have more than 95 outlets across India, wherein their smallest kiosk of 7*7 generates monthly revenue over Rs. 12 lakhs.
During their expansion, they never raised funding. They kept their model simple with 16 types of momos and three types of sauces; which coupled with strong marketing tactics saw Wow! Momo become a roaring success.
In Delhi NCR, with 10 million cars, two IIT graduates are helping commuters leave their vehicles at home. The story of Shuttl begins in March 2014; where Amit Singh and Deepanshu Malviya noticed an opportunity amidst Delhi’s severe transportation crisis.
In April 2015, they launched Shuttl, hiring four former colleagues. At the time, they were ahead of the curve: Taxi-hailing giants Uber and Ola had not begun offering shared services.
Starting out with two rented Toyota Innovas, the team first created a basic app. It then visited key bus stops in Gurugram, persuading travellers to try out the Shuttl service. Starting with just two commuters, Shuttl quickly grew to 100 rides a day within two weeks, encouraging it to shift to buses.
By the end of the month, Shuttl had signed a term sheet with Sequoia capital. A few months later, it raised funding of $20 million was led by Sequoia and Lightspeed Venture Partners.
Shuttl is the perfect example of a business that is not trying to solve ten different problems but is here to focus on solving the one problem they set out to.
Although credit cards are currently the preferred payment method for online consumers (42%), electronic payment is not far behind, representing 39%, according to Statista. Its importance will be greater in the coming years, and that is why e-commerce looks closely at platforms as innovative as Razorpay.
Razorpay’s payment gateway is one of the most ambitious in its sector. Its founders, Harshil Mathur and Shashank Kumar had the investment support of giants such as MasterCard, Tiger Global & Matrix Partners. These entrepreneurs started in 2013, and two years later raised $2.5 million in their funding campaign.
Several publications, such as Bloomberg, have echoed the success of Razorpay, considered to be one of the biggest Fintech success stories in India. Due to the great growth prospects of this expanding economy, Razorpay has an astonishing margin for growth.
We feel that these ventures have given us a lot to learn in the last decade. Feel free to share specific success stories in the comments below. And while we reflect on that, may the coming years bring more such success stories our way. And may we build more of them!
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