And the countdown begins… especially if you’ve heard and have been tracking the projections for the number of unicorns that will emerge from the Indian startup ecosystem.
Only two months into 2021, the Indian startup ecosystem has already added two new companies to the coveted $1 billion-valuation club. With more than 125 deals and raising over $1.5 billion in funding in 2021, the country is already cheering its two new unicorns — insurtech startup Digit Insurance and SaaS startup InnovAccer.
Heading into 2021, research firms and industry experts had predicted that India will see a significant increase in the number of unicorns. At least 12 more startups are expected to join the unicorn club in 2021, taking the total count of 50 from the current 38.
In 2020, even with a pandemic wreaking havoc on the economy, 11 startups from India attained unicorn status while PhonePe reached a $5.5 billion valuation as an independent entity after its spin-off from Flipkart. Already, India’s unicorn club boasts startups like fintech majors Paytm and Zerodha, mobility player Ola, foodtech startups such as Zomato, and Glance, Cars24, Postman, among others.
Nevertheless, these new-nicorns have boosted hopes higher for the ecosystem. Let’s have a look at the two new unicorns of 2021 — Digit Insurance and InnovAccer, which was also part of YourStory’s Tech30 list of 30 most disruptive startups in 2015.
Bengaluru-based startup Digit Insurance is the brainchild of Kamesh Goyal. The platform leverages technology to simplify the process of buying general insurance with services like smartphone-enabled self-inspection and audio claims.
Valued at $1.9 billion, Digit Insurance is the first Indian startup in 2021 to enter the much-coveted and tracked unicorn club. Although the fundraising amount was not disclosed, a few media reports suggest the funding took place in two tranches of $84 million and $18.5 million. A91 Partners, Faering Capital, and TVS Capital Funds participated in this round of funding.
Since its inception in 2016, Digit Insurance has so far raised a total of $244.5 million. It claims to be a profitable venture, having seen profits in all three-quarters of FY21. Also, it grew 31.9 percent between April and December of 2020, earning a premium of $186 million. It claims to have a customer base of 1.5 crores.
A few key milestones achieved by the company in its journey so far are:
- January 2021: Raised $84 million / Series Unknown
- August 2020: Launched an online DIY insurance advisory tool for SMEs
- February 2020: Actor Anushka Sharma and Indian cricketer Virat Kohli join investor consortium
- November 2019: Named Asia’s Best General Insurance Company of the Year
- June 2019: Raised $50 million / Series Unknown
- July 2018: Raised $45 million / Series Unknown
- July 2018: Acquired ITI Reinsurance Ltd. for $72.8 million
- June 2017: Raised $47 million / Series Unknown
Founded in 2014 by Sandeep Gupta, Abhinav Shashank, and Kanav Hasija, this YourStory 2015 Tech30 company is valued at $1.3 billion after its latest funding round led by Tiger Global Management.
Existing investors Steadview Capital, Dragoneer, B Capital Group, Mubadala Capital, and M12 (Microsoft’s Venture Fund) participated in the round, along with new investor OMERS Growth Equity.
Although the amount of funding remained undisclosed, it is estimated to be around $105 million. Prior to this, the startup had raised $70 million as part of its Series C round in February this year.
Since its inception in 2014, the company has raised around $229.1 million.
A few key milestones achieved by Innovaccer in its journey so far are:
- February 2021: Raised $105 million / Series D
- February 2021: Earns NCQA PHM Prevalidation
- October 2020: Launched Risk Adjustment Solution for Improved Coding Accuracy
- February 2020: Raised $70 million/ Series C
- June 2019: Awarded as the “Best Healthcare Big Data Platform” in 2019 MedTech Breakthrough Awards
- February 2019: Launched Its AI-Based Data Activation Platform at HIMSS19
- January 2019: Raised $11 million/ Series B
- May 2018: Raised $25 million/ Series B
- July 2016: Raised $15.6 million/ Series A
- October 2015: Recognised among 30 most disruptive Indian startups in YourStory’s Tech30 list
- May 2015: Raised $2.5 million/ Seed
Going forward, an October 2020 report by TiE-Delhi and research firm Zinnov predicted that India will have 100 unicorns by 2025, despite the impact of COVID-19.
In 2020, a key trend showcased by Indian unicorns is the continuous fall in the average age of attaining unicorn status. Going further in 2021, Indian startups are expected to continue to demonstrate this trend.
The potential soonicorns poised to turn unicorn in 2021 include agritech startup CropIn, social commerce SaaS Meesho, e-pharmacy startup Pharmeasy, logistics company BlackBuck, auto-tech startup CarDekho, hyperlocal consumer services firm Urban Company, and edtech startup Vedantu, among others.