As India is moving from a developing to a developed economy, a lot of startups are emerging in this country. India has a huge number of middle-class families and the opportunity to sell here is incredible. We see a huge spike in the number of startups that are looking to disrupt the traditional method of selling products.
But what about the startups that aren't just focusing on solving local problems, but are also trying to make an impact in the world at large. They take the learnings that they've gathered in India and apply them to international markets. These are the startups that bloomed into global businesses we're talking about in this article.
1. Fresh to Home
Starting with no. 1 this year, we have Bengaluru-based fresh meat and vegetable delivery start-up "Fresh to home". Back in 2015, Matthew Joseph who had quite a bit of experience in the fish export business teamed up with serial entrepreneur and former Zynga India country manager Shan Kadavil and they decided to launch a startup that would deliver fresh fish and other types of meat directly to people's homes.
From a humble start in Bengaluru, these 2 co-founders have been able to scale their business to 28 Indian cities making 1.5 million deliveries of fresh meat and vegetables every single month. In 2019, they also expanded their operations to the United Arab Emirates and are now one of the top 5 e-grocers in the country. But they're not stopping there. With the help of their investors who so far have poured $121 million into the startup, they're planning to expand further into Saudi Arabia soon.
2. Cult fit
On no. 2, we have Bengaluru based health and fitness startup called “Cult fit”. The company was founded by 2 fitness enthusiasts who had previously worked at Flipkart Ankit Nagori and Mukesh Bansal. Their first fitness center which they opened in 2016 called ‘Cult center’ was a huge success.
By 2019, Cult fit had 200 centers across India. Things were going smooth until the pandemic hit resulting in Cult fit shutting down many of its centers and laying off hundreds of employees. In order to survive Cult fit began offering guided online fitness and wellness sessions and these sessions could be hosted and viewed from anywhere.
This opened the door for international expansion. They've already launched in the United States and planning to expand to Canada as well. And they're doing this using funds that they've raised from their investors, who so far have invested $480 million into the startup.
Moglix is a Singapore-based B2B e-commerce unicorn. Despite being headquartered outside of India, it is an Indian company that was initially founded in Noida, in 2015, by Rahul Garg. Businesses can use Moglix to buy equipment and supplies that they wouldn't be able to find on normal consumer e-commerce platforms like Amazon or Flipkart.
These are items like industrial-power tools and machines and resources like chemicals, metals, and cement. Like many e-commerce platforms, they do export these items to more than 54 countries around the world through logistics partners. But they also have physical offices and a legitimate presence in countries like the United States, the U. K. the UAE, and of course, India and Singapore. As a loss-making start up this kind of global footprint just wouldn't be possible without their investors who so far have pumped $222 million into the startup.
Now we have Gurugram based online used car marketplace Cars24. Founded by Gajendra Jangid, Mehul Agrawal, Ruchit Agrawal, Vikram Chopra in 2015, Cars24 has a unique auction system where they sell your car before they've even bought it from you.
This allows them to operate in a relatively risk-free way and they're also able to seamlessly integrate their commission into the sale. Despite facing competition from companies like car wale, Car trade, Car Dekho, Droom, cars 24 was the first Indian online used car marketplace to achieve unicorn status.
They're currently selling 15,000 cars a month across 170 outlets. During the first half of 2021, they also expanded into Australia and the UAE to see how their business model holds up in international markets. This is something that they were encouraged to do by their investors who so far have poured $394 million into the startup.
Paytm is a Noida-based digital payments decacorn. Founded by Vijay Shekhar Sharma in 2010, their IPO is expected to be the largest in Indian history. Yet many Indians are unaware of the fact that they have an international presence.
They've been operating in Canada since 2017, where the Paytm app allows you to pay your bills in exchange for reward points. They also have an app in Japan called PayPay which is the country's largest digital payments platform and was built in partnership with Softbank and Yahoo Japan.
Finally in Bangladesh, they've partnered with an online shopping company Daraz to launch a gaming platform called the Daraz first games. Paytm has built and grown all of these international services with the help of their investors who so far have pumped $4.4 billion into Paytm's parent company One97.
6. Urban Company
We now have a Gurugram based home services marketplace 'Urban Company'. Founded by Varun Khaitan, Raghav Chandra, and Abhiraj Singh Bahl in 2014, you can think of Urban Company as a kind of Uber or Ola of home services. With more than 35000 professionals offering services like repairs cleaning painting and carpentry to 5 million customers across 35 cities in India.
In 2018, Urban Company began expanding internationally to countries like Dubai, Abu Dhabi, Australia, and Singapore, and thanks to the professionalism they inculcated since their beginnings in India. Urban Company has been well received in these international markets causing their revenues to double from $14.25 million in the financial year 2019 to $25 million in the financial year of 2020. So far, Urban Company has raised $446 million from its backers at a valuation of $2.1 billion.
At number 7, we have Bengaluru-based ed-tech platform Byju’s. Founded by Byju Raveechandranand and Divya Gokulnath in 2011, Byju’s is the world's most valuable ed-tech startup.
A lot of this value stems from Byju’s organic growth strategy. They've spent the last few years buying up tons of smaller companies like Osmo, Whitehat Jr, and Epic. All of these acquisitions have culminated in the launch of Byju’s future school which is a platform that's modeled after Whitehat Jr.
They are now providing personalized 1-on-1 teaching to students in countries like the United States, the U. K., Australia, Brazil Indonesia, and Mexico. With $2.7 billion in external funding from their investors, Byju’s may become an international household name before the end of this decade.
At no. 8, we have Gurugram based eyewear retailer Lenskart. When Amit Chaudhary, Piyush Bansal, and Sumeet Kapahi started Lenskart in 2010, they were strictly an online company. But after a couple of years, they realize the power of online presence and grabbed the opportunity.
Today they are a profitable business and power more than 750 stores across the country and sell 8 million glasses a year. And if that wasn't enough they've also begun to expand outside of India as well opening 25 stores across Singapore since 2019. They're now one of the top three players in the country and have plans to expand to other Southeast Asian markets shortly. To do this they recently raised $220 million from their investors bringing the total external funding that they've raised to $774 million at a $2.5 million valuation.
Next up at no. 9, we have a Gurugram based hospitality unicorn Oyo. Founded by Ritesh Agarwal and his co-founder Manish Sinha in 2013, Oyo was dubbed the world's fastest-growing hotel chain in 2019 with more than 43000 partner hotels across 80 countries.
But of course, without any real ownership over a large majority of these hotels, when the pandemic hit, everything came crumbling down. Oyo laid off thousands of employees exited multiple countries, shut down periphery businesses, and focused on becoming a sustainable business.
By December of 2020, these efforts began to pay off as the team reached breakeven on an operational level in India and also achieved operational profitability in Europe which was a huge relief for Oyo investors who so far have poured $4.1 billion into the start-up.
10. Ola cab
Finally, at no. 10, we have been a Bengaluru-based ride-hailing unicorn Ola cab. Back in 2010, two IIT Bombay graduates Ankit Bhati and Bhavish Aggarwal started Ola trips as a weekend getaway travel service.
But they quickly pivoted to on-demand cab bookings after Bhavish had a terrible cab experience where he was left stranded on the side of the road for not paying a fare increase that the driver demanded halfway through the trip. Today Ola is India's leading cab aggregator with 1.5 million driver Partners completing over 1 Billion rides a year across more than 250 cities.
In 2018, Ola went international, first in Australia and New Zealand and then into the U. K. in 2019. Of course, the pandemic has hit the company pretty hard. Thanks to their investors who have poured $4.3 billion into the startup. So far Ola cabs have been able to survive.