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5 Start-ups to Watch Out For in 2014

Published: Jan 7, 2014 06:49:45 AM IST
Updated: Jan 7, 2014 11:31:26 AM IST
5 Start-ups to Watch Out For in 2014
Image: Bmaximage
Bhavish Aggarwal

1. Ola Cabs
Bhavish Aggarwal was frustrated with the cabs he used. Fortunately, this computer engineer from IIT-Bombay decided to do something about it. He realised that there were fleet operators in Mumbai with abysmal fleet utilisation. Why not bring them under one umbrella and offer customers a reliable and efficient option? Ola Cabs was born with the idea that it would be asset-lite and tech-intensive. A free downloadable app or a phone call is what connects you to the service. Customers can monitor their cabs via GPS. Heat maps tell the company where their cabs are and what demand is like. At present, the service is available in five cities—Delhi, Pune, Banagalore, Mumbai and Chennai—with plans to expand to 10 by the end of next year.

2. Floh.in
For young professionals across India, finding a spouse can often be a daunting challenge. Enter Floh or Find Life Over Here, an invitation-only network connecting singles. (More recently, Floh has started allowing a select number of people who apply to join.) What does one get? Entry costs a flat fee of Rs 7,500 for three months or Rs 15,000 for the whole year. That gives you a chance to buy separate tickets to events and attend them in the company of ‘like-minded singles’. At present, the service is available in Mumbai, Delhi and Bangalore.

5 Start-ups to Watch Out For in 2014

3. Portea Medical
Serial entrepreneur K Ganesh has defied critics and the law of averages to achieve success and handsome exits in each of the businesses he started. But Portea Medical, the newest and most ambitious bet of him and his wife, could be yet another test of how the two confound critics with their choice of industries and business models. The company, which the two bought out only in July this year, received a venture funding of $8 million from Accel Partners and Ventureast just weeks ago. Portea Medical provides subscription based, affordable home-healthcare plans targeted at elderly people. Its own staff of doctors, nurses and physiotherapists visit homes to provide preventive care and early diagnosis. Visits cost as little as a few hundred rupees, but with over 144 million Indians over the age of 60, that’s a multi-billion dollar market.

4. Instamojo
For those of us who want to sell a book or a TV set, the answer is simple. Log on to one of the many sites that sell second-hand goods and you’re done. But what if you want to sell an ebook or digital music? Enter Instamojo. Founded by Aditya Sengupta, Akash Gehani, Harshad Sharma and Sampad Swain, the startup is based in Mumbai and Mountain View, California. All a merchant has to do is register and put a link to his digital products. The company has so far signed on 4,300 merchants, most of whom are from India. A small number are from the US, the UK and Canada. Recently, Instamojo received angel funding from Rajan Anandan and Sunil Kalra.

5 Start-ups to Watch Out For in 2014

5. Interviewstreet / HackerRankX

Interviewstreet (which is rebranding itself as HackerRankX from 2014) came out of a simple idea by collegemates Vivek Ravisankar and Harishankaran K to create an online platform to conduct mock interviews for campus placements at their college. It led them to conduct online programming tests for companies that wanted to hire software programmers. After being selected by what is arguably the world’s most respected startup accelerator programme, Y Combinator, Interviewstreet is today the platform of choice for over 1,000 small and large companies (including Microsoft, Facebook, Amazon and Yahoo!).

Image: Neha Mithbawkar

(This story appears in the 10 January, 2014 issue of Forbes India. To visit our Archives, click here.)

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  • Ankit

    These are some really interesting start-ups that are solving valid problems. Would really appreciate if you guys consider IRentshare (http://www.irentshare.com/), a marketplace for renting and sharing stuff like cameras, computers, electronics, furniture etc.) the next time you compile a list.

    on Sep 3, 2014
  • Mansoor

    Yeah there are many startups like http://www.megavenues.com/ are going to grow nationally and internationally which need to be included in the list.

    on Aug 7, 2014
  • Bhagchand

    Paid or Unpaid, Innovative or not, this article is definitely motivating for new start ups as they watch getting such small as well as big initiatives noticed. And when such initiative is for a common cause, it definitely deserves a plause. Check http://schooladmissioninfo.in .A free service for parent community introduced for first time ever providing such admission information while there are either sites that gather data one time which become obsolete, or there are forums where parents have to rely on their peers for such inormation. RTI when it comes to school is breached and this initiative strives to restore such rights.

    on Aug 5, 2014
  • Sumon Chaudhury

    is this paid article? x number of Start-ups to Watch Out For in 2014 pls do research and don\'t stick to few metros in India.

    on May 26, 2014
  • Aj

    Great!!!! but there are other interesting start ups which has the capability to change the dynamics in consumer space. Please have a look at http://www.rentmasti.com/. As renting is gaining popularity, Rent Masti has great potential ahead.

    on Jan 30, 2014
    • Sameer

      I do agree with you. Shared economy is picking up now and there are many startups coming in this field like renotomojo, furlenco,cityfurnish etc.

      on Dec 19, 2015
  • Abhisekh

    fan of ola cabs

    on Jan 16, 2014
  • Raghu Mohan

    Would be good to understand the methodology behind coming up with such a list.

    on Jan 14, 2014
  • Anand

    Very interesting list - it seems like each one of these startups seeks to either disrupt an existing category (Ola Cabs) or create a new one altogether (Portea, Instamojo) or do both (Floh.in and InterviewStreet). I\'ve used Ola and it\'s pretty good. I know of a few people (one at work) who\'ve met their spouses via Floh and I\'m pretty sure that people in my parents\' generation will be interested in Portea\'s offerings (assuming that the quality will not be compromised). The other two I\'ve heard of, but never used. A bold list, Forbes. Keep it up.

    on Jan 10, 2014
  • Tarani

    Personally I am big fan of Ola cabs. I use them vastly, especially their mobile app. I remember this guy\'s presentation on a startup event. Thought he wouldn\'t go this far, but I am impressed. There\'s something about this cab services, that is very different. Floh.in - I don\'t find it too interesting. In my opinion, it doesn\'t deserve to be in top 5 atleast. Portea Medical is interesting concept, and I am going to try it out for my oldies. Instamojo - Why top 5? Interviewstreet - Love the idea. Some more research could\'ve made this article impactful..

    on Jan 9, 2014
  • Harshad Patil

    Considering Forbes, the article couldn\'t intrigue. There are so many innovative projects than the above top 5 to look for.

    on Jan 7, 2014
    • Samar Srivastava

      Hi Harshad, Care to enlighten us on some of these \"innovative\" projects that you mention?

      on Jan 8, 2014
  • Sirkanth

    Not exactly great !!!! I think forbes team lost it interest to do some home working on this post

    on Jan 7, 2014
    • Harshad

      Hi Samar, I wouldn\'t exactly term it as lost interest, however, my post rated the article for where i read it. In regards enlightening on \"innovative\" projects, I would do so if I get paid like you guys in forbes.

      on Jan 8, 2014
      • Rishabh

        Poor article and snarky response by author in comments! I know now why I don't read Forbes India. And it still needed two authors! Lol

        on Jan 9, 2014
  • Vijayam

    Wow! To OLA cabs! Doing a great job. All the best to become the best online cab services in India.

    on Jan 7, 2014