110+ companies, from fintech to logistics & delivery, that are defining India's startup ecosystem
As a global tech hub, India is home to one of the world’s most active startup ecosystems. The South Asian country boasts ten unicorns, including e-commerce site Flipkart, which has raised $4.7B to date and is the eleventh most valuable company on our unicorns list.
In 2016, Indian tech companies closed 965 deals, a 10% increase from the 881 closed in 2015. While this represents the highest annual deals count yet, typical mega-deal players like transportation service Olacabs and Paytm parent company One97 Communications didn’t see much funding action. As a result the investment total for 2016 was $3.4B, lower than both 2015 and 2014.
Using CB Insights data, we created a periodic table showcasing the landscape of India’s tech sector. Our periodic table consists of 3 components: a selection of companies that are defining the tech industry in the country, the investors (including venture capital, corporations, and corporate venture capital arms) that have been most active in financing them, and notable exits from recent years.
Click the image below to enlarge. This periodic table is not meant to be exhaustive of companies in the space.
Navigating the periodic table of tech in India:
The top part of our periodic table lays out private investor-backed companies and the country’s most active investors, while the bottom two rows (in green) call out the most notable exits in recent years.
We segmented India Tech into the following categories:
Several accelerators and incubators nurture startups through their programs and invest money into them later. Our list includes Microsoft Accelerator, Google’s Launchpad Accelerator, and Facebook’s FBStart.
Our table features both India-based and foreign venture capital funds. The most active investor in this category is seed- and angel-focused venture fund Blume Ventures, which has invested in 76 companies since 2012.
This accounts for corporations and corporate venture capital arms that have made notable investments in India. Names include Japan’s SoftBank Group, China’s Tencent Holdings, and South Africa’s Naspers.
There have been several notable exits in India’s tech ecosystem over the past 5 years. Activity hit a peak in 2015, when Indian startups saw 182 exits—more than triple the 50 exits seen in 2012. 2016 continued on the same pace, with 178 exits in total. We’ve listed 26 exits in our Periodic Table, including mobile top-ups site Freecharge, which was bought by e-commerce site Snapdeal in 2015.
- Unicorns — India is home to ten startups with a $1B+ valuation, including its latest unicorn, ReNew Power Ventures. The renewable energy company received a $2B valuation after its last round of $200M in funding from Tokyo-based investor JERA.
- E-commerce and advertising — This category includes niche e-commerce startups (like baby product supplier FirstCry and online lingerie store Zivame), several digital rental startups, and advertising companies such as CrownIT, which gives buyers discounts at local stores.
- Ed Tech — An array of education-focused startups have made it into our periodic table: Simplilearn targets older learners and working professionals, while CueLearn (whose investors include Sequoia Capital and Google’s capitalG) focuses on the after-school learning segment with its Cuemath program.
- Fintech — CapitalFloat and Lendingkart both provide loans to SME owners, while KredX connects them to interested investors. Other startups are tackling payments, taxes, bitcoin, and startup investment.
- Travel — Despite recent exit activity in this sector, there are still a handful of active travel startups: car rental service Zoomcar India raised a $24M Series B round that included Ford Motor Company in Q3’16, while OYO Rooms, started by Thiel Fellow Ritesh Agarwal, aggregates and displays open rooms in partnering hotels.
- Health and fitness — Practo connects patients to doctors and helps them schedule appointments, while GOQii creates wearable health technology with a health app at the back end.
- HR Tech — Companies are approaching India’s rapidly growing workforce in many ways: Belong crunches online data to find job candidates for companies, and AasaanJobs caters to many types of job-seekers with a platform for entry-level white-collar and blue-collar jobs.
- Logistics and delivery — Logistics startups are an important part of the India tech ecosystem’s backbone, from end-to-end solutions like Delhivery to companies like Blowhorn that move goods within cities.
- Gaming and media — In this category, we’ve included startups producing content aimed at an Indian audience. Octro is gaining popularity with games like Teen Patti (Indian poker), while noteworthy digital media companies include ScoopWhoop, which creates content for Indian millennials, and Indian music streaming site Gaana.
- Other — This category includes several startups that are important to the ecosystem but that operate in categories that are not not indicative of larger trends in their sector, such as Ather Energy, which creates electric scooters, and Knowlarity, which provides cloud-based telephony services.