Meet all the 42 unicorns born in 2021, the highest ever for any year

Indian startups, from fintech, edtech, healthtech and even proptech, are becoming favourites of investors at home and across the world. Here's a quick lowdown of all the 42 unicorns that were born in India in 2021

Published: Dec 31, 2021 11:00:00 AM IST
Updated: Dec 31, 2021 12:47:13 PM IST


Image: Shutterstock

As of November 24, 2021, India has emerged as the third-largest ecosystem for startups globally. It has over 59,000 startups across 634 districts recognised by the Department of Promotion of Industry and Internal Trade. As per Invest India, the national investment promotion and facilitation agency, the Indian startup ecosystem has seen a 9x increase in the number of investors, a 7x increase in the total funding of startups, and a 7x increase in the number of incubators.

In today’s dynamic economy, Indian unicorns are flourishing. At the time of publishing (December 31, 2021), India is home to 79 unicorns, with a total valuation of $260.5 billion.

Out of the total, 42 unicorns with a total valuation of $82.1 billion emerged in 2021 alone, a record year for the country. 2020 and 2019 saw 10 and 9 unicorns, respectively. Bengaluru is India’s unicorn capital with the highest number of unicorns headquartered there, followed by Delhi (NCR) and Mumbai.

Here’s a list of all the 42 unicorns that were born in India in 2021:

Pristyn Care - Became unicorn in December 2021

Co-founded by Dr Vaibhav Kapoor, Harsimarbir Singh, and Dr Garima Sawhney, Pristyn Care provides secondary surgeries via its network of 90-plus clinics, 400-plus partner hospitals, and 300-plus in-house surgeons. The surgeries include laser and laparoscopic treatment for several diseases around urology, ENT, gynaecology, among others. The health-tech startup raised a funding of $96 million in Series E funding around December 2021 to turn unicorn. Started in 2018, it doubled its valuation in the last seven months, and is now valued at $1.4 billion. The company was the 42nd unicorn of 2021.

Unicorn Makers (Investors of the funding round that took the company beyond $1 billion valuation) - Sequoia Capital, Tiger Global, Winter Capital, Epiq Capital, Hummingbird Ventures, Trifecta Capital, Kunal Shah (founder and CEO, Cred), Deepinder Goyal (co-founder and CEO, Zomato), Abhiraj Singh Bhal (co-founder and CEO, Urban Company) and Varun Alagh (co-founder & CEO, Mamaearth).

Spinny - Became unicorn in December 2021

Earlier in December 2021, Spinny, a new age, used car end-to-end platform in India raised $283 million in its latest round of funding to become a unicorn. Earlier in 2021, the company had raised $108 million and $65 million in July and April, respectively. Spinny is co-founded by Niraj Singh, Mohit Gupta, and Ramanshu Mahuar.

Unicorn Makers - ADQ, Tiger Global, Avenir Growth, Arena Holdings, and Think Investments

Slice - Became unicorn in November 2021

Slice, founded by Rajan Bajaj, is a fintech startup focused on India’s youngsters. Built by millennials, it is headquartered in Bengaluru and aims to build a smart, simple, and transparent financial platform to redesign the financial experience for the millennials. At the end of November 2021, the fintech startup raised $220 million, taking the valuation of the company over $1 billion.

Unicorn Makers - Tiger Global, Insight Partners, Gunosy, Blume Ventures, 8i Ventures, Advent International’s Sunley House Capital, Moore Strategic Ventures, Anfa, Guillaume Pousaz, founder, Checkout.com, and Binny Bansal, Flipkart co-founder.

Upstox - Became unicorn in November 2021

Valued at over $3 billion, Upstox is an online investment brand of RKSV Securities. The platform offers online stock trading in the Indian stock market. The company is the brainchild of three founders—Ravi Kumar, Kavitha Subramaniam, and Shrini Viswanath.

Unicorn Maker - Tiger Global

NoBroker - Became unicorn in November 2021

Founded by Amit Kumar Agarwal, Akhil Gupta, and Saurabh Garg, NoBroker is a real-estate platform that makes it possible to buy, sell, or rent a house without giving any brokerage. Raising $210 million as the latest round of funding, the company became India’s first property tech unicorn.

Unicorn Maker - General Atlantic, Tiger Global Management, and Moore Strategic Ventures

Mensa Brands - Became unicorn in November 2021

After raising $135 million in November this year, Mensa Brands, founded by Ananth Narayanan, became the fastest Indian startup to reach unicorn status. Headquartered in Bengaluru, the company acquires digital-first brands and scales them domestically and overseas.

Unicorn Makers - Alpha Wave Ventures (Falcon Edge Capital), Prosus Ventures (previously Naspers), Accel Partners, Norwest Venture Partners and Tiger Global Management

Cure.fit - Became unicorn in November 2021

After raising $50 million in cash from Zomato, the health and wellness startup became a unicorn. Founded by Mukesh Bansal, Cure.fit is a part of the parent company Cult.fit and is headquartered in Bengaluru.

Unicorn Maker - Zomato Ltd

MyGlamm - Became unicorn in November 2021

Headquartered in Mumbai and co-founded by Priyanka Gill, Naiyya Saggi, and Darpan Sanghvi, MyGlamm is a subsidiary of the Good Glamm Group. It is a D2C beauty brand that raised $150 million in its most recent round of funding to become a unicorn in November 2021.

Unicorn Makers - Prosus Ventures (Naspers), Warburg Pincus, Stride Ventures, Alteria Capital, beauty brand L’Occitane, Bessemer Venture Partners, Amazon, Ascent Capital, and the Mankekar Family Office

Acko - Became unicorn in October 2021

Founded by Varun Dua, Acko is a digital, direct-to-consumer insurance company. It started with auto insurance and later moved into health insurance. It specialises in bite-sized insurance products with premium starting from Re 1 and going up to Rs 500-600. The startup raised $255 million in the latest round of funding to become a unicorn.

Unicorn Makers - General Atlantic, Multiples Private Equity, Canada Pension Plan Investment Board, Lightspeed Growth, and Intact Ventures and Munich Re Ventures

CarDekho - Became unicorn in October 2021

Raising $250 million in its pre-IPO round funding, CarDekho acquired the unicorn status in the month of October. The online car search and buy startup was founded by Amit Jain and Anurag Jain in 2008, and is based in Jaipur. It is one of the few unicorns that are headquartered beyond the metro cities.

Investors - LeapFrog Investments, Canyon Partners, Mirae Asset Financial Group, Harbor Spring Capital, Sequoia Capital India, and Sunley House

Rebel Foods - Became unicorn in October 2021

In 2011, Jaydeep Barman and Kallol Banerjee founded Rebel Foods—the online restaurant company which operates various cloud kitchens including Faasos, Behrouz, Lunch Box, Oven Story, Slay Coffee, and more. The company is headquartered in Mumbai and raised funding of $175 million in its latest round to be included in the 2021 unicorn list.

Unicorn Makers - Qatar Investment Authority, Coatue Management, and Evolvence India

CoinSwitch Kuber - Became unicorn in Oct 2021

Founded in 2017 by Ashish Singhal, Govind Soni, and Vimal Sagar, the digital crypto trading platform became the second Indian crypto unicorn this year. It is India's highest valued crypto startup, with a valuation of $1.9 billion. And Andreesen Horowitz's first investment in an Indian startup, and Tiger Global's first in an Indian cryptocurrency company. The company raised $260 million in its latest round of funding to turn unicorn.

Unicorn Makers - a16z (Andreesen Horowitz), Coinbase Ventures, Paradigm, Ribbit Capital, Sequoia Capital, and Tiger Global

Licious - Became unicorn in October 2021

The Bengaluru-based D2C startup, which deals in selling meat and seafood online, raised $52 million in its latest round of funding to be anointed a unicorn. The startup is co-founded by Abhay Hanjura and Vivek Gupta. It counts 3one4 Capital cofounded by Pranav and Siddarth Pai as one of its early investors.

Unicorn Maker - IIFL’s Late Stage Tech Fund, and Avendus

Vedantu - Became unicorn in September 2021

The edtech platform is co-founded by Pulkit Jain, Anand Prakash, and Vamsi Krishna. Based in Bengaluru, Vedantu became one of the few edtech unicorns in 2021 after raising $100 million in its last round of funding.

Unicorn Makers - ABC World Asia, Coatue Management, Tiger Global, and GGV Capital

apna - Became unicorn in September 2021

Nirmit Parikh started apna, a professional networking platform for blue and grey collar workers. Headquartered in Bengaluru, after only 21 months of its founding, apna raised $100 million in its recent financing round to become a part of the unicorn club.

Unicorn Makers - Tiger Global, Owl Ventures, Maverick Ventures and GSV Ventures, Sequoia Capital India, and Insight Partners

Mobile Premier League - Became unicorn in September 2021

As per news reports, the online gaming platform MPL, co-founded by Sai Srinivas and Shubham Malhotra, raised $150 million in its last round of funding to become a unicorn this year. The startup is based out of Bengaluru.

Unicorn Makers - Legatum Capital, Accrete Capital, Gaingels LLC, Moore Strategic Ventures LLC, RTP Global, Sequoia Capital India, SIG, Moore Strategic Ventures, Play Ventures, Base Partners, Telstra Ventures, and Founders Circle Capital

Zetwerk - Became unicorn in August 2021

Zetwerk, a B2B marketplace for custom manufacturing, became a unicorn after raising $150 million in funding. The Bengaluru-based startup is led and co-founded by a team that includes Amrit Acharya, Srinath Ramakkrushnan, Rahul Sharma, and Vishal Chaudhary. It is one of the largest B2B global manufacturing networks for custom manufacturing, ranging from steel pipes to aircraft engine components.

Unicorn Makers -
D1 Capital, Avenir Growth, IIFL, Greenoaks Capital, Lightspeed Venture Partners, Sequoia Capital, Accel, Aroa Ventures, and QED Innovation

Grofers - Became unicorn in August 2021

Grofers, an online grocery service, became a unicorn after raising $120 million from Zomato. Grofers is based in Gurugram and is co-founded by Albinder Dhindsa and Saurabh Kumar.

Unicorn Makers - Zomato Ltd and Tiger Global Management

Eruditus - Became unicorn in August 2021

Edtech platform, Eruditus raised $650 million in its latest round of funding before becoming a unicorn. As per news reports, it became the fourth edtech unicorn in 2021. Eruditus is based out of Mumbai and is founded by Ashwin Damera. Damera also featured in Forbes India Tycoons of Tomorrow list this year for building a global business out of India which is on course to break even in 2022.

Unicorn Makers - Accel US, SoftBank Vision Fund II, Canada Pension Plan Investment Board, Prosus Ventures, The Chan Zuckerberg Initiative, and Leeds Illuminate

CoinDCX - Became unicorn in August 2021

Acquiring the status of India’s first crypto unicorn, CoinDCX, founded by Sumit Gupta, raised $90 million in its recent round of funding. CoinDCX was founded in 2018 and is based out of Mumbai.

Unicorn Makers - B Capital Group, Coinbase Ventures, Polychain, Block.one, and Jump Capital

upGrad - Became unicorn in August 2021

Co-founded by a team of four—Ronnie Screwvala, Mayank Kumar, Phalgun Kompalli, and Ravijot Chugh—upGrad is an edtech platform headquartered in Mumbai. The company raised $185 million in funding before being anointed a unicorn.

Unicorn Maker - Temasek, IIFL, and International Finance Corporation (World Bank)

Mindtickle - Became a unicorn in August 2021

Mindtickle, a sales readiness platform Software-as-a-service (Saas) based out of Pune, was co-founded by Nishant Mungali and Deepak Diwakar in 2011. The company raised $100 million in the last round of funding to become a unicorn.

Unicorn Makers - SoftBank Vision Fund II, Norwest Venture Partners, Canaan, NewView Capital, and Qualcomm Ventures

BharatPe - Became a unicorn in August 2021

Financial services provider BharatPe raised $370 million in its latest round of funding to enter the unicorn club. BharatPe, headquartered in New Delhi, is co-founded by Ashneer Grover and Shashvat Nakrani.

Unicorn Makers - Tiger Global Management, Dragoneer Investment Group, Steadfast Capital, Sequoia Capital, Insight Partners, Coatue Management, Amplo, and Ribbit Capital

OfBusiness - Became unicorn in July 2021

The B2B ecommerce platform managed to raise $160 million in its recent round of funding before being anointed as a unicorn. OfBusiness is founded by Ruchi Kalra, Vasant Sridhar, Asish Mohapatra, Nitin Jain, and Bhuvan Gupta. The company is based out of Gurugram. The founders of OfBusiness also feature on the 2021 Forbes India Tycoons of Tomorrow list.

Unicorn Makers - SoftBank Vision Fund II, Matrix Partners India, and Falcon Edge Capital

Droom - Became unicorn in July 2021

Founded by Sandeep Aggarwal, the online automobile marketplace became a unicorn in July this year after raising $200 million in a round of funding. The startup originated in 2014 and is based out of Gurugram.

Unicorn Makers - 57 Stars, Seven Train Ventures, Beenos, Lightbox, Beenext, Digital Garage, Integrated Asset Management, Toyota Tsusho Corp., and the office of Joe Hirao (founder of ZigExn)

BlackBuck - Became a unicorn in July 2021

The Bengaluru-based online trucking platform raised $67 million in a funding round before becoming a unicorn. The company was founded by Rajesh Yabaji in 2015.

Unicorn Makers - Tribe Capital, IFC Emerging Asia Fund and VEF, Wellington Management, Sands Capital, and International Finance Corporation

BrowserStack - Became unicorn in June 2021

SaaS startup BrowserStack raised $200 million in a round of funding to join the unicorn club. The company is based in Mumbai and is co-founded by Nakul Aggarwal and Ritesh Arora.

Unicorn Makers - Mary Meeker’s Bond, Insight Partners, and Accel

Zeta - Became unicorn in May 2021

Raising $250 million in a round of funding, banking tech startup Zeta became a member of the unicorn club. The startup is co-founded by Bhavin Turakhia and Ramki Gaddipati, and is based out of Mumbai.

Unicorn Makers - SoftBank Vision Fund II, and Sodexo

Moglix - Became unicorn in May 2021

Moglix, a B2B ecommerce platform for manufacturing goods, raised $120 million in a round of funding to become a unicorn in May this year. The company was founded by Rahul Garg in 2015. Garg also featured on the Forbes India Tycoons of Tomorrow list this year.

Unicorn Makers - Falcon Edge Capital, Harvard Management Company, Tiger Global, Sequoia Capital India, and Venture Highway

Urban Company - Became unicorn in April 2021

On-demand beauty-to-repairs home services provider Urban Company raised $190 million in its last round of funding before joining the unicorn club. The company is co-founded by Abhiraj Singh Bhal, Varun Khaitan, and Raghav Chandra, and is based out of Gurugram.

Unicorn Makers - Prosus (formerly Naspers), Tiger Global Management, Steadview Capital, Vy Capital, DF International Partners, and Wellington Management

Chargebee - Became a unicorn in April 2021

Chargebee, a subscription billing and revenue management platform, raised $125 million to enter the unicorn club. The company, based in Chennai, is co-founded by Saravanan KP, Rajaraman Santhanam, Thiyagarajan T, and Krish Subramanian.

Unicorn Makers - Sapphire Ventures, Tiger Global Management, Insight Venture Partners, and Steadview Capital

Gupshup - Became unicorn in April 2021

Gupshup, a conversational messaging startup, joined the unicorn club after raising $100 million in funding early in the current financial year. Gupshup was founded by Beerud Sheth in 2004 and has come a long way before being called a unicorn.

Unicorn Maker - Tiger Global Management

ShareChat - Became unicorn in April 2021

Founded in 2016, ShareChat is a social media company based in Bengaluru for the vernacular market. The parent company behind the social media app, which also runs the short video platform Moj, Mohalla Tech raised $502 million in a funding round, giving it the coveted unicorn status with a $2.1 billion valuation. Founder Ankush Sachdeva features on the Tycoons of Tomorrow list this year.

Unicorn Makers - Lightspeed Ventures, Tiger Global, Twitter, and Snap Inc

Groww - Became a unicorn in April 2021

Co-founded by Lalit Keshre, Harsh Jain, Ishan Bansal, and Neeraj Singh, the investment platform raised $83 million in the latest round of funding before entering the unicorn club. Groww was founded in 2016 and is headquartered in Bengaluru.

Unicorn Makers - Tiger Global Management, Sequoia India, Ribbit Capital, YC Continuity, and Propel Venture Partners

PharmEasy - Became unicorn in April 2021

Online pharmacy platform PharmEasy, owned by API Holdings, raised $323 million in a round of funding to enter the unicorn club. The company is headquartered in Mumbai. It scripted startup history later in June when it bought Thyrocare.

Unicorn Makers - Prosus Ventures, TPG Growth, Temasek, CDPQ, LGT Lightrock, Eight Roads, and Think Investments

CRED - Became unicorn in April 2021

Fintech startup CRED got anointed as a unicorn with a $215 million fundraise in the early part of the current financial year. The company is based out of Bengaluru and is founded by Kunal Shah.

Unicorn Makers - Falcon Edge Capital, Coatue Management, Insight Partners, DST Global, RTP Global, Tiger Global, Greenoaks Capital, Dragoneer Investment Group, and Sofina

Meesho - Became unicorn in April 2021

The social commerce platform Meesho became a unicorn after raising $300 million in a round of funding. The company is co-founded by Sanjeev Barnwal and Vidit Aatrey—Forbes India Tycoons of Tomorrow listees this year. Meesho is headquartered in Bengaluru.

Investors - SoftBank Vision Fund II, Prosus Ventures, Facebook Inc., Shunwei Capital, Venture Highway, and Knollwood Investment

Five Star - Became unicorn in March 2021

Private lender Five Star Business Finance Limited closed a $234 million funding round to acquire the unicorn status in March 2021. The company has its head office in Chennai and is founded by V K Ranganathan.

Unicorn Makers - Sequoia Capital India, Norwest Venture Partners, KKR, and TVS Capital

FirstCry.com - Became unicorn in February 2021

The online store for baby products, FirstCry.com raised $300 million in a round of funding to enter the unicorn club. It was founded by Supam Maheshwari and is based in Pune.

Unicorn Makers - SoftBank Vision Fund II

Infra.Market - Became unicorn in February 2021

Founded by Souvik Sengupta and Aaditya Sharda in 2016, the Mumbai-headquartered tech firm claims to be a one-stop marketplace for all construction material. The company raised $100 million in a funding round to join the unicorn club. Founder Aaditya Sharda also features on the Tycoons of Tomorrow list.

Unicorn Makers - Tiger Global, Accel Partners, Nexus Venture Partners, Evolvence India Fund, Sistema Asia Fund, and Fundamental Gmbh

Innovaccer - Became unicorn in February 2021

After raising $103 million in a round of funding, Noida-based healthtech startup became India’s first health-tech unicorn in 2021. Innovaccer is cofounded by Abhinav Shashank, Kanav Hasija, and Sandeep Gupta.

Unicorn Makers - Tiger Global, Steadview Capital, Dragoneer, B Capital Group, Mubadala Capital, M12 (Microsoft’s Venture Fund), and OMERS Growth Equity

Digit - Became unicorn in January 2021

Digital insurance company, Digit Insurance, became India’s first unicorn of 2021. Founded by Kamesh Goyal, the company was established in 2017. It had raised $84 million in a round of funding last year. An existing investor pumped some additional funding (Rs 135 crores) for it to become the first company this year to join the unicorn club. Kamesh Goyal also features in the Roaring 50s issue, a special issue to recognise entrepreneurs who have made it big in their 40s and 50s.

Unicorn Maker -
A91 Partners, Faering Capital, and TVS Capital

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