Unicorn Companies of India

Unicorn companies are those companies that are valued at over $1 billion. As we all know that unicorns aren’t real. They are just mythical creatures. Then why do we use such a term to define something which has existed since 1901?

Well, the origin of the word “Unicorn” is rather new. As it was first used in 2013 by venture capitalist Aileen Lee. It indicates a privately held startup company at over $1 billion. Earlier it was considered very rare to attain the valuation of above $ 1 billion of a company. Although, these companies are there since 1901. US Steel Corporation was the first company which attained a capitalization of $ 1.4 billion.

But what about the companies worth the value of over $10 billion and $100 billion?

Similarly, there is a special term for them too. Decacorn is a word used for those companies over $10 billion and in the same way. Hectocorn is used for such a company valued at over $100 billion.

However, in 2013 there were only 39 companies considered to be unicorns in the whole world. But, now there are 586 unicorn companies in the world, and India is home to 21 of them.



  1. A Chinese company known by the name of Ant Financial tops the list of unicorn companies of the world at the value of $125 billion.
  2. 6 out of the top 10 unicorn start-ups of the world are based in China.
  3. USA has the highest numbers of unicorn startups in the world, lead by China and the UK.
  4. Most of the startups are from tech industries.
  5. Softbank, a Japanese multinational company has major investments in unicorn startups.
  6. 94% of the unicorn startups are led by men and 6% are led by women. The number of unicorn companies escorted by women is increasing every year.


  1. In 2012, InMobi became the first unicorn startup in India.
  2. In 2018, 6 companies grabbed the unicorn status in India, therefore 2018 is known as the unicorn year.
  3. OYO Rooms, Swiggy, Lenskart, and Hike are the first-generation unicorn startups of India.
  4. Bangalore has 8 unicorns headquarters there. Byju’s being one of them hence it is the capital for India’s start-up companies.
  5. In India, one-third of unicorns conduct business in the e-commerce sector.
  6. Sequoia is the lead investor in Indian unicorn companies.
  7. Paytm is also the highest gainer in the Indian unicorn category.
  8. 5 out of 7 major investors have invested in OLA Cabs.

Current Scene

In this highly competitive world where information passes around the globe in seconds. People have indulged in cut-throat competition. As they move faster in the business world and have adopted a “get big fast” strategy for start-ups. This strategy is also known as “Blitzscaling“.

According to a Harvard Business Review, “Blitzscaling is what you do when you need to grow really, really quickly.” It’s what start-ups are doing nowadays through large funding rounds and price cutting. Many businesses have become a unicorn in a matter of a few years. For example, Amazon, Delhivery, OYO Rooms, etc. To know more about Blitzscaling, read the book “Blitzscaling: the lightning-fast path to building massively valuable companies”, by Reid Hoffman.

Now, let’s see some major investors in Indian Unicorn start-ups –

Sequoia Capital India8INDIAByju’s, OYO Rooms, Ola Cabs, Mu Sigma, Zomato, Unacademy, Druva, Freshworks.
SoftBank7JapanPaytm, OYO Rooms, Ola Cabs, Delhivery, FirstCry, Lenskart, PolicyBazaar.
Steadview Capital7UKOla Cabs, Lenskart, PolicyBazaar, Unacademy, Dream11, Nykaa, Freshworks.
SAIF Partners6IndiaPaytm, Paytm Mall, Swiggy, FirstCry, Rivigo, Unacademy.
Matrix Partners5IndiaOla Cabs, Zomato, Ola Electric, Freshworks, BigBasket.
Nexus Venture Partners5USAZomato, Delhivery, Unacademy, Druva, Postman.
Tiger Global Management5USAByju’s, Ola Cabs, PolicyBazaar, Delhivery, Freshworks.


There are many investor companies in the world. But in India, Sequoia capital India tops the list. It has invested in 8 of many Indian unicorn start-ups. For example, Byju’s, Ola cabs, etc. Sequoia Capital India is a branch of USA based company.As it is known for its investments in the valuable companies of the world. It came to India in 2006 and has invested hundreds of thousands of dollars in Indian companies.

The next big investor in Indian unicorns is a Japanese based company, headquartered in Minato, Tokyo – SoftBank. This company is famous. As its farsighted and smart investments in the valuable companies of the world. In 2018, this investment giant gained 60 percent returns on its $2.5 billion investment in an e-commerce company Flipkart. Consequently, it was the biggest achievement of SoftBank. That too in a single year. Imagine its total return!. Other than that, it has also invested in Amazon, Tesla, Alphabet, and Netflix. It is also a prime investor in Grofers.

Also read: Vodafone Arbitration Case


In this pandemic many companies came in a loss. Many became insolvent. Many came on the verge of bankruptcy. However, there are some companies that earned profit and some which became unicorn due to this pandemic. Let’s have a look at those companies –


Online transactions were there before covid-19. But we understood the real importance of no touch payment after this pandemic hit us.

Razorpay is one of India’s fintech neo banking (100% digital bank) start-up. Hansil Mathur and Shashank Kumar founded it in 2014. It is a Bangalore based company. It is an online payment solution provider which allows institutions and individual to accept, pay, and disburse money through online mode.

Razorpay gained unicorn status in October 2020 when it attained the funding of $100 million by GIC, Singapore, and Sequoia Capital India.


Every student has heard of this name. Many have even enjoyed its free material or at least I have.

Started as a YouTube channel in 2010 by Gaurav Munjal. It has now become one of the many unicorn companies of India. But as a company, it was founded by Gaurav Munjal, Roman Saini, and Hemesh Singh in 2015. It is also headquartered in Bangalore. In this pandemic when all the schools and colleges were shut. Students got the quality amount of time to prepare for other exams like UPSE, CAT, Banking, etc, through Unacademy. Many famous and noteworthy personalities like Pranab Mukherjee, Kiran Bedi, and Shashi Tharoor have taught students through this app.

In September 2020, Unacademy entered the Billion-dollar club. After raising $150 million from SoftBank, valuing it at $1.45 billion.


According to Wikipedia – “Zerodha Broking Ltd. is an Indian financial service company (a member of NSE, BSE, MCX, MCX-SX). It offers retail and institutional broking, currencies and commodities trading, mutual funds, and bonds. Founded in 2010, the company is headquartered in Bengaluru. It has a physical presence in several major Indian cities.

As of 2019, Zerodha was the largest retail stock broker in India by active client base. It contributes upwards of 2% of daily retail volumes across Indian stock exchanges.”

Nitin Kamath founded Zerodha in 2010. Its headquarter is in Bangalore. Between covid-19 pandemic, this company grew drastically. Its monthly users grew to 200,000.


It is a Bangalore and San Francisco based software as a service provider company. Abhijit Kane, Abhinav Asthana, and Ankit Sobti founded it in 2014.

According to Abhijit’s Instagram profile “Started off as a side-project in 2012. It has grown to become an industry-standard API Development Environment. Postman has more than 4 million users. It is used in every country and every industry sector. Growing from a simple REST client in 2012, Postman now helps developers do everything from design, testing, mocking to monitoring and publishing, in a real-time collaborative environment. Along the way, raised a Series round from Nexus Venture Partners for $7 million. It established offices in Bangalore, San Francisco, and Austin.”

In June 2020, Postman attained $150 million through undisclosed funding. Postman valued itself at $2 billion and became a unicorn. Most of the fortune companies like Microsoft uses Postman.


Everyone has heard of this brand and if not, do you live under a rock? Jokes apart,

Nykaa is a very famous Mumbai based ecommerce brand. It was founded by Falguni Nayar in 2012.

Nykaa has both offline as well as online stores. It has a very good quality of woman clothing and beauty products. In May it raised Rs 66.64 crore from its existing investor Steadview Capital and entered the billion-dollar club.


FirstCry is India’s largest online and retail store for kids’ products. It was founded by Spam Maheshwari and Amitava Saha in 2010. Now it is owned by the Mahindra group. Its first outlet was opened in 2019 in Srinagar. Now it has opened hundreds of stores across India. Most of them on a franchise basis. it has even acquired many other small businesses.

In February this year FirstCry raised $296 million from a Japan based conglomerate company, SoftBank.


Cars24 is an online marketplace which deals in used cars, with it’s headquarters in Gurugram. Recently, Cars24 is listed in the list of unicorn startups. They have raised funds of USD 50 million in both Series A and Series B combined. Cars24 was founder in 2015 by Vikram Chopra, Gajendra Jangid, Ruchit Agarwal and Mehul Agarwal. The private company, Cars24 Financial Services Private Limited has generated a revenue of USD 240 million. Also, the company has it’s brand ambassadors namely Boman Irani, Mandira Bedi, Mahendra Singh Dhoni, and Nawazuddin Siddiqui.

14 thoughts on “Unicorn Companies of India”

  1. Great content, the facts section is quite interesting. Though, I have a doubt, Wouldn’t the Chinese company ant financial be a Hectocorn being 100+ billion-dollars dollar company?

  2. Got to know the things,didn’t know before;loved the approach‘ general to specific’. Knowledge -driven content , amazing work ; quite missed personal touch though.

  3. good work, after going through with your article it seems that mind power and good direction always lead to an earning profit. Some how in this pandemic situation, many companies has generated their profit which shows that good direction with great leadership always lead to companies about growth and development.

  4. They move faster in the business world and have adopted a “get big fast” strategy for start-ups. This strategy is also known as “Blitzscaling“.
    Best line in this article.
    Best article about the unicorn ???? and easily understand all the points. It is very helpful for me and everyone.
    Thanks???? to write this article????????…

  5. Excellent efforts! This article indeed enhances knowledge and makes you think more than twice about how the world is changing!

  6. Very informative article. Written in such a way that a layman like me could understand the things . How startups growing globally.
    But there is a question in mind why one use the term unicorn even for larger company { for deca and hecta companies}
    What is blitzscaling, I mean what strategy startups use to grow fast(क्या discounts देना इसी का एक पार्ट है। )
    Any way मज़ा आ गया पढ़कर ।कुछ समझा कुछ सोचने को भी दिया। and that is the beauty of the article
    God bless you

    1. Thank you for such a lovely review.
      We can use the word “unicorn” for hectacorn and decacorn companies because they both are over $1 billion. We will surely write another article explaining “Blitzscalin” in more detail.

  7. A person essentially assist to make critically posts I might state.

    That is the very first time I frequented your website page and to this point?
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    this actual publish incredible. Fantastic activity!

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