Unicorn StartUps of India 2020
  • Unicorn StartUps are those StartUps having a total valuation of over $1 Billion.
  • India is second only to the USA in producing maximum Unicorn StartUps in 2020.
  • Unacademy, Cars24, Nykaa are the promising new entrants.

The year 2020 has definitely been the weirdest year for all of us. The pandemic followed by the lockdown proved to be disastrous for most of the businesses whether big or small. But it has greatly been said that Every Cloud Has a Silver Lining, the year 2020 has also seen 11 great startups from India getting into the Unicorn Club. This number is second only next to the USA in producing the highest number of Unicorns this year. Although most of these startups are from the tech field, they have a great potential of making India a hub for next generation startup hub.

Let’s have a look at them one by one:

PINE LABSAn Indian PoS Software in Unicorn Startups List

The first one in the list is none other than the Pine Labs, a Noida based startup that specializes in providing merchant platforms with point of sale (PoS) computer software.


Amrish Rau- The Proud CEO of Pine Labs

It all happened in January 2020, when Pine Labs raised an undisclosed amount from New York-based Mastercard financial services making it the first Indian Unicorn StartUp of 2020. While the transaction details were not disclosed, according to sources, the funding round was pegged at $100-$150 million (Rs 713-1,069 crore). With this, Pine Labs, which is backed by Sequoia Funds, is now estimated at $1.5-1.6 billion.

Today, Pine Labs handles about $30 billion of payment amount yearly and supports approximately 140,000 merchants across 450,000 network points. It is quite an ecstatic news for the proud founders Lokvir Kapoor, Rajul Garg, and Tarun Upadhyay who started their journey together back in 1998. Way to go, Pine Labs!

Nykaa –

When Falguni Nayar (former Managing Director at Kotak Mahindra Capital) started her journey as the founder of Nykaa back in 2012, she could never imagine that Nykaa, one day, will be there in the Unicorn Club of India. But with her sheer excellence and great team efforts, Nykaa now has a valuation of $1.2 billion, thereby making it to the start-up unicorn group.


Falguni Nayar has been a passionate founder all these years.

In May, 2020, Nykaa raised Rs 66.64 crore from its new Steadview Capital investor that helped it achieve this feat. Nykaa has been instrumental in shaping the beauty and lifestyle industry in India through its omnichannel scope and curated product offering and has a strong future prospect in the Indian subcontinent.

Unacademy –

Established in 2015, Unacademy was initially launched as a YouTube channel by Gaurav Munjal, Roman Saini, and Hemesh Singh. Unacademy is the only ed-tech startup to join the list Indian unicorns in 2020.


Unacademy co-founders

Unacademy joined the billion-dollar club in September of this year, riding on the boom in online learning. The lockdown helped the platform to generate quality leads and thus proved to be a boon for its further expansion. A $150 million funding round led by SoftBank was raised by the Bengaluru-based tech start-up, valuing the company at $1.45 billion. With a network of over 18,000 teachers and over 350,000 users, the tech platform based in Bengaluru said it plans to use the funds to launch new products and recruit new talent. And yes, who can forget the Cricket Anthem, Unacademy came with, during the recent IPL!

FirstCry –

FirstCry was founded by Supam Maheshwari and Amitava Saha in Pune in 2010 and has been an undisputed leader in the omnichannel baby and maternity care products market. The start-up claims to supply two lakh baby and child products to 2,000 brands and has expanded its user base to more than four million. With over 300 stores, it has a retail presence spread across 125 cities.


FirstCry claims to supply two lakh baby and child products to 2,000 brands.

The Series E funding of $296 million (Rs 2,120 crore) from the Vision Fund of Japan-based Softbank in February of this year helped the startup to now have a valuation of $1.2 billion. According to the Ministry of Corporate Affairs filings, the investment is the first tranche of the total funding of $400 million promised by SoftBank. SoftBank has reserved an extra Rs 703 crore ($100 million) to be invested in January 2021 on the second anniversary of the contract.

With more and more people from Tier 2 and Tier 3 cities turning to online shopping, FirstCry definitely has some promising years ahead.

DailyHunt –

Verse Innovation, Dailyhunt’s parent company, has raised more than $100 million in funding from Google, Microsoft and Falcon Edge’s Alpha Wave Incubation at a valuation of more than $1 billion, making it India’s first tech unicorn focused on local languages.


DailyHunt is India’s first tech unicorn focused on local languages.

The startup is also involved in the fundraising effort were existing donors Sofina Party and Lupa Programs. The platform intends to use the new capital to scale up its Josh short-form video app, broaden its offerings of local language content, create a content development ecosystem and leverage it with artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning (ML). India being a land of diverse cultures, vernacular languages play a major role when it comes to content broadcasting and DailyHunt is set to not let any stone unturned in leveraging its vernacular content game.

Glance by InMobi –

As its subsidiary lock screen network, Glance raised $145 million from Google and current investor Mithril Capital in a primary investment round, InMobi has seen a second unicorn emerge from its group.


Glance is the last start-up to join the 2020 list of Indian unicorns.

The financing values the company at a little over $1 billion were said by two people aware of the transaction. Glance is the last start-up to join the 2020 list of Indian unicorns.

Glance is also one of the fastest companies to achieve unicorn status, closing in in less than two years (20 months) with Ola’s electric vehicle subsidiary, Ola Electric, which hit a $1 billion valuation in 2019. Other two startups being Business-to-business (B2B) marketplace Udaan, founded by former Flipkart founders and Paytm Mall, that achieved unicorn status in two years of launch.

Zenoti –

Zenoti, a cloud software provider in the beauty and wellness industry, raised $160 million in Series D funding at an over $1 billion valuation led by Advent International, a private equity firm headquartered in the US, along with participation from existing investors Tiger Global and Steadview Partners.


Zenoti claims that its software manages over 12,000 companies in 50 countries

Zenoti is in the coveted Unicorn club after Freshworks, Druva, Icertis and Postman, making it only the fifth software device company of Indian origin to do so. It also brings the total amount of capital raised so far by the company to $250 million.

Zenoti claims that its software manages over 12,000 companies in 50 countries, , offering mobile-first solutions for scheduling meetings, self-check-in, payments, employee management and even inventory tracking.

The company said it had seen strong growth in 2020, driven by businesses updating their applications during the Covid-19 pandemic.

RazorPay –

The most recent entrant to the Unicorn StartUps club is Razorpay, which acquired unicorn status in October 2020. Fintech startup Razorpay raised $100 million in Series D financing co-led by GIC, Singapore’s sovereign wealth fund, and Sequoia Capital India. With this round in the middle of the coronavirus pandemic, the payment start-up based in Bengaluru joined the unicorn group.


Currently, Razorpay authorizes payments to more than five million businesses, including, Airtel, BookMyShow, Facebook, Ola, Zomato, Swiggy, Cred, and ICICI Prudential among others.

The new funding has supported Razorpay with $206.5 million in investments since its founding in 2014, which includes its recent $75 million in Series C fundraising in 2019.

In an effort to make the payment process simple for start-ups and SMEs, co-founders Harshil Mathur and Shashank Kumar created the start-up in 2014. Currently, Razorpay authorizes payments to more than five million businesses, including, among others, Airtel, BookMyShow, Facebook, Ola, Zomato, Swiggy, Cred, and ICICI Prudential.

Postman –

Postman, a Bengaluru and San Francisco-based SaaS startup, has the distinction of being the fastest SaaS startup to attain unicorn startups status. In June 2020, the six-year-old start-up raised $150 million with a $2 billion valuation in Series C funding.


Postman was founded in 2014 by Abhijit Kane, Abhinav Asthana, and Ankit Sobti.

Founded in 2014 by Abhijit Kane, Abhinav Asthana, and Ankit Sobti, Postman provides a forum that helps software developers speed up the process of development through collaboration with various stakeholders. The app is estimated to be used by over 11 million developers around the world and more than 500,000 companies worldwide, including Microsoft and Twitter. The start-up claims that 98 per cent of Fortune 500 companies use the site.

ZERODHA – Making it proudly to the Unicorn StartUps List 2020

In June this year, the decade-old bootstrapped start-up Zerodha joined the unicorn group, based on the start-ESOP buyback exercise, with a self-assessed valuation of about $1 billion. At more than four times the Rs 700 book value per share, each share was priced.


Nithin Kamath and Nikhil Kamath formed Zerodha in 2010.

In the COVID-19 pandemic, the Bengaluru start-up registered rapid growth, doubling its average monthly user additions from pre-COVID-19 levels to approximately 200,000 users per month as of March 2020. The Unicorn startups did this with the aid of first-time investors who decided to take advantage of the sharp losses in the stock markets because of the current recession.

Nithin Kamath and Nikhil Kamath formed Zerodha in 2010 and reported a net profit of Rs 350 crore on FY19 revenues of Rs 850 crore. It has also seen its overall client base grow by nearly 40X to 2.8 million over the past five years.

Cars24 –

Who can forget the recent Cars24 ads by MS Dhoni during IPL breaks, that were so much aligned with the previous car ads. With Dhoni’s presence, the founders of Cars24 made sure to portray their startup as one that can be trusted and is reliable enough.

After a Series E round worth $200 million, led by DST Global, Cars24, the online used car marketplace, too joined the unicorn group Present backers Exor Seeds, Moore Strategic Ventures, and Unbound, also participated in the last round.

The first company to assess more than $1 billion from the used car space is Cars24. This is a 2X jump in Cars24 ‘s value in one year. In the Series D round led by Unbound and KCK Global, the Gurugram-based firm raked in $100 million last year in October. The net proceeds will be used to build new business verticals and expand its product and technology capabilities.


Cars24 is the first company to assess more than $1 billion from the used car space.

Cars24 has an asset-heavy model, which, co-founded by Vikram Chopra and Mehul Agrawal, purchases the car on behalf of dealers. According to Chopra, Cars24 is going to double down on bikes, a new category which started several months ago. Cars24 already claims to have handled over 3,000 two-wheelers so far. Mr. Chopra also claims that the company’s transaction volume has surpassed its pre-Covid volumes by more than 20 percent, and month-on-month revenues stand at about $50 million with over 15,000 cars exchanged per month.

With the Indian automobile sector slowly reviving again and new efficient electric vehicles entering the Indian market, Cars24 possess a potential future for old BS4 engine cars and their sale. There could not be a better time to expand the startup further!

Bottom line: What can we learn from the New Indian Unicorn Startups?

Indian Startup Ecosystem has shown that they have the ability to evolve even in the dire times of pandemic. The Indian market has the potential to become a global hub for technology and the growing number of Unicorn StartUps has shown that. Furthermore, with more and more public and private engagement, this is inevitable!

We too can help our homegrown startups by leaving their foreign counterparts and going full Desi. This will in turn help India in achieving her dream of self-sufficiency and will further strengthen the Indian economy. We at YuvaGasm media wish all the Unicorns their best and urge our readers to opt for Vocal For Local.

New Unicorn StartUps of India 2020
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New Unicorn StartUps of India 2020
Unacademy, Nykaa, Zerodha and FirstCry were the first to make it to the Unicorn Startups List 2020 followed by the likes of Razorpay, Postman and a few others.
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YuvaGasm Media
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