Indian start-up environment

India is a breeding ground for cultural, grassroots, and frugal innovation. Add a population of over one billion to the mix—it becomes exciting geography for start-ups to create scalable and repeatable business models.

Indian start-ups raised a total (disclosed) funding of $8.4 Billion between January 2020 and mid-November 2020. This is a 30% decline compared to the funding raised by Indian start-ups in 2019 and for reference, is almost equal to the funding amount raised way back in 2015.For the year, Indian Startups are projected to end with ~$9.3B raised. The number of deals declined as well, at 765 total deals for this period, below the recent low of 829 in 2017. At the beginning of the 3rd quarter, Indian businesses and the economy began to recover from the worst of the pandemic. In September especially, there was a massive increase in funding, totalling $1.9B — up from $276 million in August. September was buoyed by a massive $500MM investment into Byju, a rapidly scaling EdTech start-up. This funding gain was also due to aggressive funding and growth in FoodTech, OTT, and online gaming sectors. Collectively, $3.6B was invested into Indian start-ups during the three-month period of Q3 2020.

Let’s look at some of the hottest start-ups of India. 


Wow! Momo

This is a food chain that are growing ever so fast in India. You will find branches in Delhi, Chennai, Kochi, and many other spots. Wow! Sell burgers, Tibetan food, and just about anything you can imagine. 

Founded In: 2008

Offices In: Kolkata, West Bengal

Total Funding: $470 Million



Ola Cabs

You may think Uber is causing a storm right now, but Ola Cabs is taking over India as we speak. If you need a minicab in the India area, be sure to try Ola Cabs out. They are currently competing with Uber, which says it all really!

Founded In: 2010

Offices In: Bengaluru, Karnataka

Total Funding: $3.8 Billion


PharmEasy became an essential service in 2020 and in 2021, I predict they’ll see even more impressive growth along with competitors like 1mg. In 2021, these companies will become a part of day-to-day life for more and more Indians.

Offices In: Mumbai

Total Funding: $328 Million

 CRED: Get Rewarded for Paying Credit Card Bills

CRED has created something new from something boring and old (paying your bills). Rather than simply paying your credit bills and getting nothing for it (other than perhaps preserving your credit score), CRED flips this model on its head and offer a carrot instead of a stick: Pay your credit card bills on time and earn CRED “coins” that can be redeemed for rewards or used to enter in contests. They’re clearly onto something. They’ve already attracted 3MM+ members since their founding in 2018 and have raised $255MM in total funding, most recently raising an $80MM Series C in November 2020.

Founded In: 2018 

Offices In: Bengaluru

Total Funding: $255MM


Zomato is one of the most well-known start-ups and perhaps one of the most successful food tech start-ups around in India that has turned into an international business.

Founded In: 2008

Offices In: Gurgaon, Haryana

Total Funding: $755.6 Million


This is a delivery service that focuses on meat and fish. The company was founded in March 2016, and has grown so much that its aim to expand to 20 cities throughout 2017!

Founded In: 2014

Offices In: Bengaluru, Karnataka

Total Funding: $152 Million


CureFit operates a platform to a healthy power lifestyle and holistic cure across fitness, food, and mental well-being. The Company offers both digital and offline experiences across fitness, nutrition, and psychological well-being through its three products:, eat. Fit and

Founded In: 2016

Offices In: Bengaluru, Karnataka

Total Funding: $174.6 Million


Razorpay is the only payments solution in India which allows businesses to accept, process and disburse payments with its user-friendly product suite to all companies from start-ups to large enterprises.

Founded In: 2013

Offices In: Bengaluru, Karnataka

Total Funding: $31.7 Million


Incred is a financial service group that leverages technology and data science to make lending quick and easy. The idea behind Incred is their belief that traditional ways of lending exclude the most that need it most because of outdated, rigid, and insufficient processes.

Founded In: 2016

Offices In: Mumbai, Maharashtra

Total Funding: $116.9 Million


Shuttl is an app based transportation service for commuters. First launched in 2015 to improve India’s disorganized public transportation system by allowing people to pre-book rides on affordable busses.

Founded In: 2015

Offices In: Gurgaon, Haryana

Total Funding: $48.8 Million


Nykaa is a premier online beauty and wellness destination. It offers beauty and wellness products for men and women at the best prices. Their products are 100 percent genuine and authentic, sourced directly from the brands.

Founded In: 2012

Offices In: Mumbai, Maharashtra

Total Funding: $107.9 Million


Urban Ladder

Urban Ladder is a Bangalore-based online furniture company. This hot Indian start-up furniture company aims to provide a curated destination for home solutions, to help the Urban Indian build well-furnished, beautiful homes.

Founded In: 2012

Offices In: Bengaluru, Karnataka

Total Funding: $112.8 Million

FAQs (Frequently Asked Questions)

Where are start-ups located in India?

More than half of Indian start-ups are based in Delhi and Bengaluru. Based on the start-ups we listed in this article, almost 41% are based in Bengaluru or Bangalore. Around 20% are based in Mumbai, 15% are based in Gurgaon, 15% are based in New Delhi and 9% are based in other cities such as Gurugram, Kolkata, Hyderabad, and Pune.

What is the best startup in India?

One97 (Paytm) is the best-funded startup in India with $4.4 Billion raised. It is a mobile commerce and digital goods platform that provides transport tickets, bill payments, hotel bookings, and more. Its headquarters are in New Delhi and it has more than 4,500 employees.

What are the Indian unicorns?

There are 100 unicorns in India, according to Credit Suisse. The list includes Paytm, Byju’s, OYO Rooms, Ola Cabs, PhonePe, Dream11, Swiggy, Udaan, Cars24, Lenskart, Zomato, Zerodha, and Policy Bazaar among many others.


How many start-ups are there in India?

India had about 50,000 start-ups in 2018; around 9,000 of these are technology-led start-ups. 3,061 start-ups were born in India in 2020.

Why are there so many start-ups in India?

  • Big enterprises are realizing the potential of start-ups and are investing or partnering with them.
  • Indian government understands the value of disruptive innovators across the value chain. More than 26 states have start-up policies.
  • Cheaper internet and higher mobile adoption opened a way to serve millions of new customers.
  • First-generation entrepreneurs inspired new ones to start their businesses.

What is the success rate of start-ups in India? 

The success rate of start-ups can vary from country to country, but overall only 1 out of 10 start-ups succeed. This number originated from the Start-up Genome Project, but in some of their more recent reports, they even say only 1 in 12 entrepreneurs succeed. We go deeper on that topic in this article.

Who is the youngest CEO in India?

Shravan and Sanjay Kumaran, siblings aged 18 and 16 respectively are the youngest entrepreneurs of India. They founded GoDimensions, which develops simple technological solutions for the digital world.