Top 10 Startups in India making a Difference in 2019
This is a list of Top 10 Startups in India that are making a difference in the Indian Startup Ecosystem in 2019.
These startups are disrupting many industries like food-tech, ed-tech, fin-tech, travel & tourism, hospitality, etc.
You’ll notice that in the following list, every single startup mentioned runs on Technological platforms and Robust internal systems.
Why so? Because in 2019, you cannot survive without robust internal systems and processes.
Top 10 Startups in India
1. Swiggy Trio – Sriharsha Majety, Nandan Reddy, Rahul Jaimini, Vishal Bhatia(CEO)
Food tech gained a lot of traction in 2017-18. And here we are with Unicorn startups operating in food-tech. Swiggy is an online food ordering and delivery service operating from Bangalore, Karnataka.
It was founded in 2014 by Sriharsha Majety, Nandan Reddy and Rahul Jaimini.
It is headed by Vishal Bhatia as it;s CEO (Chief Executive Officer).
Swiggy is operated by Bundl Technologies Pvt Ltd. It operates in more than 25 cities across India and covers most of the metropolitans.
Swiggy operates in what’s called the food-tech industry (Technology-based startups involved in the food sector).
It simply acts as a medium to order food and does not play a role in the making of food that is served to the customers.
Essentially more focused on the Logistics of food delivery and Maintenance of a Platform (a mobile app or a website) where all nearby restaurants and food joints are listed dynamically to provide customers single app to serve their hunger needs.
Swiggy competes with many rivals in 2019 like Zomato, UberEats and FoodPanda.
Swiggy has been recently spending a lot on it’s Marketing activities especially in the Indian Youtube space, as they are able to direct their prospective customers directly there.
Most of these food-tech companies are in the Infancy, cash burn and customer acquisition stage with significant discount offerings.
2. Byju’s – Byju Raveendrans
Byju’s is headed by “Think and Learn Pvt Ltd.” which is based in Bangalore, Karnataka.
Byju’s is an ed-tech (Educational Technology) and online tutoring firm.
It was founded by Byju Raveendran in 2011 at Bangalore.
BYJU was the first company in Asia to receive an investment from Chan Zuckerberg Initiative (CZI – a company founded by Mark Zuckerberg and his wife to invest in startups via the form of Facebook shares).
Byju’s income crossed $1 Billion in the Mar 2017-Mar 2018 financial year.
It operates on a Premium Business Model that is, most of the content is accessed after paying certain fees.
Byju simply operates via a mobile application (available for iOS and Android) and serves educational content to school students from class 4-12.
Its significant portion of proceeds also come from the competitive exam preparation services offered PAN India.
Byju’s prepares student for many competitive exams like:
- IIT-JEE – India’s primary exam for Engineering courses like B.Tech.
- NEET – Medical related courses like MBBS.
- CAT – Management aptitude tests for post graduation in management (MBA).
- IAS – Flagship exam for Indian Administrative Services.
- And other International exams like GRE and GMAT (focussed on admission in US and other international universities).
Byju’s is all set to conquer Indian education sector as it has started to invest heavily in Marketing and Promotional efforts.
Also, Shah Rukh Khan endorses for Byju’s advertisement campaigns in 2019!
3. Zomato – Deepinder Goyal and Pankaj Chaddah Duo
Zomato is an Indian Multinational food ordering and delivery service much similar to Swiggy. It was founded in 2008 by Deepinder Goyal and Pankaj Chaddah.
However, Zomato is more focused on Restaurant search and has larger availability of restaurants to order food from.
Zomato also operates on a much larger scale than Swiggy, which operates only in India.
Zomato currently operates in 24 countries, including:
- United Arab Emirates
- Sri Lanka
- United Kingdom
- United States
- South Africa
- New Zealand
Zomato also offers a subscription to its premier service, called “Zomato Gold”, in which the customer gets entitled to a complimentary “1+1 meal” or “2+2 drinks”.
4. Ola Cabs Duo – Bhavish Agarwal and Ankit Bhati
Ola Cabs, popularly referred to as OLA, is an Indian Multinational cab aggregator company headed by “ANI Technologies Pvt Ltd”.
It was founded on 3rd December 2010 in Mumbai by Bhavish Agarwal and Ankit Bhati.
It’s headed by Bhavish Agarwal as the CEO since 2010.
Founded by Bhavish, he quotes, that he used to personally arrange cabs and travels for his company. At that time,
In one such instance, Bhavish was forced out of a cab as the driver demanded 1.5X the decided price half way through the journey.
Not only they planned to create a standardized system through Ola, they also planned to offer drivers significant rise in their earning when compared to traditional cab companies.
However, the cab drivers have seen a decline in their earnings because the startup is in it’s maturing stage and needs to get it’s financial equation right with investors.
Currently Ola is valued at $4 Billion and directly competes with Uber India.
Owing to the already mature Technology culture in Bangalore, Ola shifted it’s headquarters to Bangalore.
It allowed the top management to improve its Technical strength and abilities. Also, giving a Robust backbone to the application.
Ola serves in 4 countries as of 2019 including India, Australia, New Zealand and UK.
Ola has also made significant acquisitions since it’s inception. It acquired TaxiforSure in 2014 and FoodPanda’s India business in 2017.
Ola has also invested $100 Million(about ₹720 Crore) in scooter rental startup
5. Cred – Kunal Shah
Kunal Shah has made a come back!
Almost after 3 years of staying low, Kunal’s back with his third venture, Cred.
Before I talk about Cred, let’s look at a glimpse of history first.
Kunal had a successful exit from Freecharge, his mobile recharge and payments venture, which got sold to Snapdeal for $450 M (approx ₹3200 Crore) in April 2015.
But given that Snapdeal couldn’t optimize the Freecharge and it’s resources effectively, plus having a weak position in the E-commerce market, it sold Freecharge business to Axis Bank for a deal valued at $60 M (approx ₹ 420 Crores).
In 2018, Kunal gave hints to the startup ecosystem of his new venture, Cred, on the social media platform Twitter.
Cred is a financial platform which seeks to reward high credit worthiness consumers via it’s partners.
Every time you make bill payments, buy stuff from your Credit Card, Cred rewards you with some points, (
Cred has finally rolled out the beta version in late 2018 and in 2019, they already have mobile applications out for Android and iPhone users.
Also, Cred has secured its initial round of financing with about $25 M (approx ₹177 Crore) from Sequoia Capital, Ribbit Capital, Apoletto and few other HNIs.
Cred is operated by “Dreamplug Technologies Pvt Ltd”.
With excellent logo and great welcome to Cred in 2019, it looks promising!
6. Paytm – Vijay Shekhar Sharma
Pay through mobile, or Paytm,
It offers mobile recharges, bill payments, movie tickets, shows, travel and flight bookings.
Along with that, Paytm also allows the ability to the merchants to accept and receive payments from their customers directly to their bank accounts. This is done by scanning of QR codes or to the mobile linked UPI payments solutions.
After demonetisation of Indian higher value currency notes in Nov 2016, Paytm was one of most benefited companies of the Narendra Modi governments moves.
Across the country, during and after the cash crunch, merchants and small shop owners could be seen putting up QR codes along with booths, shops, vendors to ease the scarcity of cash.
However, Paytm had to comply with the Supreme Court’s orders to stop using Aadhaar based information to carry out its KYC services.
Its both costly and time-consuming activity for Private companies to physically carry out KYC, as by using Aadhaar based biometrics, it only took a swipe of a finger to convey information to the company’s database.
But now, however, Paytm and other digital wallet companies like Amazon Pay, would need to manually verify customer data via a government approved credential like PAN, Drivers licence, Passport etc.
After the move, many users were not able to use their Paytm wallets and industry experts estimated that 8 of 10 users had not performed KYC.
The transaction value on Paytm grew upwards to $20 B (about ₹1,50,000 Crore) and the losses widened to ₹3300 crores.
7. OYO Rooms – Ritesh Agarwal
Oyo Rooms, often shortened as simply OYO, is the largest hospitality company in India. Earlier it used to function as a hotel aggregator which listed budget hotels and stays for customers.
But recently in 2018, OYO changed it’s business model from functioning as just a hotel aggregator or a mediator to an actual real estate based hospitality company.
What this does is, it provides an exceptional amount of stability to OYO in regard to its current valuation of $5 Billion. (roughly ₹35,000 crores).
That is, a conversion from an asset light model to an actual real estate based company.
OYO got started by Mr Ritesh Agarwal, one of the youngest entrepreneurs in India. He started it out at 18 years old with the name ‘Oravel Stays’.
After considering a professional outlook and having a bad experience at traditional Indian budget hotels, he renamed it to OYO Rooms. Later just, OYO.
Presently, OYO is a full fledged multinational company having its roots in:
- United Arab Emirates, UAE
- Sri Lanka.
Ritesh is one of the most genuine young entrepreneurs in the country. Of course, for this unparalleled success, he did make his share of sacrifices including but not limited to dropping college, not sleeping more than 4 hours during OYO’s initial beta phase and also not to mention, not bathing for a week. 😛
8. Innov8 – Dr Ritesh Malik
Innov8 Co-working or simply, Innov8, is the brainchild of an MBBS graduate Dr. Ritesh Malik.
They are ones who are responsible for bringing the co-working culture to India.
First started off in Delhi, it expanded to Gurugram and now Mumbai also.
The co-working culture is a powerful services based culture where in one does not need to care about any space, rent, accommodation, electricity , internet services etc.
The person wanting to work at the co-working space has to just purchase the ‘Subscription’ to the space. That, can be in the form of a chair, table or even a private metting room.
All of that for a monthly or an annual fee. This includes all basic accommodation services plus printing and internet services.
This is similar to WeWork, the rapidly expanding co-working startup in the World.
Innov8 has one of the most beautiful work locations in the country, period. And for you to trust me on that, try visiting any of it’s locations in the tier-1 cities!
Don’t believe me, look at some pictures below!
9. MakemyTrip – Deep Kalra
So Makemytrip is a fairly old and experience company founded in the year 2000.
An economics graduate from the prestigious St. Stephens college, plus a Master in Business Administration from IIM Ahmadabad made Deep Kalra, the founder of Makemytrip, ready to face the business challenges.
Having worked before in the corporate world, Deep knew that his mind had business interests. He had a stint with GE capital as VP of Business Development.
Trying to sell his wife’s car online in 1999, he realized the possibilities of the internet commerce earlier than most.
He aimed to make International travel cheaper by cutting out the middlemen and brokers.
Today, Makemytrip is one of the largest travel companies in India having $675 Million in revenues in FY 2017-18 (approx ₹4,800 crores).
Today, Makemytrip does more than just booking flights, hotel and international travel complainces.
10. PolicyBazaar Trio – Yashish Dahiya, Alok Bansal, Avaneesh Nirjar
PolicyBazaar is an Indian insurance based online aggregator platform serving as a marketplace for policies.
It was started a decade ago in 2008 in Gurgaon, Haryana (Gurugram nowadays).
The founding trio included Yashish Dahiya, Alok Bansal and Avaneesh Nirjar.
All the members of this particular company had clarity in their minds on the insurance sector only, that too, focused only on India.
Well, they had their demand analysis done right as India’s growing educated middle-class sees the need for Insurance plans and policies in life.
Initially, it began just as a price comparison website of various insurance products and services.
Later on, it started to include informational articles on the basics of the insurance industry, thereby, helping consumers learn more and building the trust.
The website later underwent an expansion which made it a marketplace for policy buyers and sellers. Transitioned from financial company to a fin-tech or technologically powered financial company.
Having raised $364 Million till date (approx ₹2,500 Crores) from well-known investors like Tiger Global, Temasek Investments, Premji Invest, Steadview capital, PolicyBazaar is an example of a real and stable startup.
PolicyBazar had great revenues in 2018, close to $21 Million (₹160 Crore). They have significantly controlled their losses by an extreme of 80%.
Also, PolicyBazaar’s recent rise in popularity is due to their Promotional and Marketing activites that include advertisements on the Internet, newspaper front pages and even Television ads.
It definitely deserves a place in the top 10 startups in India. Transforming itself from a Traditional business to a scalable, profit driven organisation!
They recently also partnered with Akshay Kumar as their brand ambassador for which he would have surely charged a hefty sum (close to ₹10 crores according to my estimate).
Conclusion – Top 10 Startups in India
So there you go, that was my list of Top 10 startups in India expected to make some significant changes to the Indian startup ecosystem in 2019.
Do you agree to the above-mentioned startups? If no, drop a comment below and get the conversation started!
Now of course I did not include the startups from the grocery like BigBasket, Grofers and some logistics ones like Rivigo.
But you can’t include everything in the Top 10 right?
Given that, got only these names do ensure disruption in the space, but they will also be the ones who provide stability to the growing culture of startup culture and incubators in India in the long run.
Till then, Stay Inspired.
If you want to further research on this topic, check out some links below:
Check out our other articles!
- What is Blue Ocean Strategy? How to create a Monopoly in your Business? – Startup Archive
- Sandeep Maheshwari Wiki & Biography – India’s Best Motivational Speaker – Startup Archive
- Freecharge Success Story – Kunal Shah – From selling CDs to founding a Company valued at $400M