Startups in India reached new highs this year. As we move in another year, we brace for the next wave of innovation, disruption, consolidation, and dissolution. The year 2016 brings lots of optimism for the startups.


KnowStartup looks at top 25 startups that have the potential to turn heads well into 2016 and beyond.

1. Paytm

Paytm was founded and incubated by One97 communications in 2010 as a prepaid mobile recharge website. Based in Delhi-NCR, its investors include Ant Financials (AliPay), SAIF Partners, Sapphire Venture and Silicon Valley Bank. Today,it is India’s most popular online destination for prepaid mobile and DTH recharges and shopping, and its Android and iOS apps have been ranked among the most popular apps. In three years since the founding, the company created a user base of 25 million wallet users and 10 million app downloads.


Flipkart is an e-commerce company founded by Sachin Bansal and Binny Bansal, two IIT Delhi graduates in 2007. It is a Singaporean company which operates in India, where it is headquartered in Bangalore, Karnataka. Flipkart has launched its own product range under the name “DigiFlip” with products including tablets, USBs, and laptop bags. In May 2014, Flipkart received $210 million from DST Global, in July 2014 it raised $1 billion led by existing investors Tiger Global and South Africa’s media group Naspers and in May 2015 it raised $550 million from some of its existing investors. Flipkart’s last fundraising round in May 2015 had pegged its valuation at $15 billion

3. Snapdeal

Snapdeal is an online marketplace, New Delhi, India. The company was started by Kunal Bahl, a Wharton graduate as part of the dual degree M&T Engineering and Business program at Penn, and Rohit Bansal, an alumnus of IIT Delhi in February 2010. Bahl originally launched as a daily online deals site and was often touted as India’s answer to Groupon. The model has, however, changed and is today one of India’s largest online marketplace.

4. Ola

OlaCabs, commonly known as Ola, is a mobile app for personal transportation in India. Ola started as an online cab aggregator in Mumbai, now based out in Bangalore and is among the fastest growing businesses in India. Ola founders Ankit Bhati, 28, and Bhavish Aggarwal, 29, who are also the youngest on the list of super rich Indians. With their personal fortunes estimated at Rs 2,385 crore each, the duo are jointly ranked 238th. This year, Ola bagged the Economic Times Startup Awards, highest honour of being the startup of the year 2015.

5. Quikr

Quikr was co-founded in 2008 by Pranay Chulet and Jiby Thomas, and was originally named Kijiji India, but later changed. It has received investments from Tiger Global, Warburg Pincus, Steadview Capital and Norwest Venture Partners. Quikr is among the 10 most valuable startups in India and competes with Argentina based OLX. Its main category are cars, real estate, jobs, household electronics and goods. It also recently launched QuikrJobs to cater to the job seekers, which has 2.5 Million active candidates and 1.6 million jobs listed on the platform.

6. Ecom Express

The three year old company was launched by TA Krishnan, Sanjeev Saxena, K. Satyanarayana and Manju Dhawan. It serves over 2,800 pin-codes through more than 320 delivery centers and 8,000 employees in about 210 cities. Delhi based Ecom Express had raised a amount of $133 million from private equity firm Warburg Pincus. In September 2014, it raised $16 million from Peepul Capital.

7. Foodpanda

Foodpanda is among the top three food startups in India, the company was founded by Amit Kohli and Rohit Chadda in the year 2012. It raised $100 million in funding led by Goldman Sachs in May this year.

8. Inmobi

InMobi is a performance based mobile ad network backed by Soft Bank and Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers. The company was founded in 2007 in India by Naveen Tiwari with offices in several countries. Recognized by MIT Technology Review as one of the 50 Most Disruptive Companies in the world, InMobi enables over 100 billion discovery sessions on mobile across a billion users every month, becoming the largest discovery platform in the world.

9. OYO Rooms

Launched in 2013, Gurgaon-based OYO Rooms(a unit of Oravel Stays Pvt. Ltd., popularly known as “OYO”) is India’s first technology driven branded network of hotels. As of July 2015, the company has 1000+ hotels and 12,000 plus available room in 63 cities. Oyo Rooms is the ‘oldest startup’ in the space which was started as Oravel in 2011 by the then 18-year-old Ritesh Agarwal. After graduating from the Peter Thiel Fellowship program, Oravel pivoted to Oyo Rooms.

10. Pepperfry

The company, founded in January 2012 is India’s largest furniture and home online marketplace headquartered in Mumbai. A managed marketplace, Pepperfry is known for its differentiated product range which offers over 80,000+ products across categories like Furniture, Home Décor, Kitchen & Dining, etc. Pepperfry which was founded by former eBay executives Ambareesh Murty and Ashish Shah in 2011. The company claims to have about 2.5 million unique monthly visitors and more than 1,000 merchants on its marketplace.

11. Saavn

Music streaming company, Saavn had a B2B offering till about 2009, where they partnered with several distribution platforms streaming legal movies. They distributed Bollywood films on Hulu, for online viewers in the USA and partnered with YouTube to offer free, legal Bollywood movies online for a global audience. Then in 2009 they shifted their focus to being a destination for Bollywood music and launched, a free music streaming service, with features like playlists. As India becomes the leading market for Android handset growth, Saavn has been growing its monthly active users by over 1 million users a month.

12. Shopclues

Founded in July 2011, Shopclues a online managed market place has a team of over 850 people and had added close to 1.7 lakh merchants to take the seller-base on its platform to 2.5 lakh in September this year. The startup is backed by Tiger Global, which has a market share of “under 10 per cent”, hopes to grab 15 per cent share of the online marketplace pie by early next year.

13. Practo

Founded in 2009 by Shashank ND and Abhinav Lal, both alumni of NIT Surathkal, Practo has product for the doctor (Practo Ray), clinic and the patient (Practo Search) and is running pilots with Uber and Ola as a part of its upcoming partnership. Practo has grown over 6 times with nearly 200,000 healthcare practitioners on it and over 10M monthly searches by consumers looking to make the right healthcare choices.

14. Delhivery

Gurgaon-based e-commerce fulfillment company Delhivery which was started by Sahil Barua along with Mohit Tandon, Bhavesh Manglani, Suraj Saharan and Kapil Bharati as a transportation services provider in 2011, now provides a wide range of products and services for businesses looking to go online. Delhivery has so far collected more than $125 million in capital and has been focused on delivering e-commerce clients, but now it has plans of expansion into express and hyperlocal markets as well.

15. FreeCharge

FreeCharge is an e-commerce website which was started in August, 2010 by Rajesh and Sandeep Tandon. It is headquartered in Mumbai. On 8 April 2015, Snapdeal acquired Freecharge what is being referred as the biggest take over in Indian e-commerce sector so far and the biggest Venture Capital exit in India to date and deal close to around US$400 to 450 million.

16. BillDesk

BillDesk, a property of Ltd. was conceived in early 2000 to solve the frustrations of most of the people when it comes to paying bills. Co-founded by three former Arthur Andersen executives M N Srinivasu, Ajay Kaushal and Karthik Ganapathy the company is now valued at $1 billion. Mumbai-based BillDesk counts many of the country’s top utilities providers, e-commerce engines, mobile and fixed line service providers, insurance companies and banks as its clients, making it the largest payment gateway in the country.

17. YepMe

The Gurgaon based startup YepMe was launched in April 2011 by Vivek Gaur, Sandeep Sharma and Anand Jadhav who were three alumni of IIT and IIM. Its a online fashion brand which makes its own brand name clothes showcasing menswear and accessories featuring formal, casual, outdoor and party wear. It also focusses on selling apparels, watches, specs, footwear and other items.

18. BankBazaar

Established in 2008, BankBazaar is one of India’s first neutral online marketplaces that gives consumers access to customized rate quotes on loans, credit cards or personal finance products such as insurance policies, bank loans and credit card offers. Twenty-three of India’s leading financial institutions and insurance firms have chosen to integrate themselves with BankBazaar.

19. Zomato

Zomato, the leader in the food startup space was Founded in 2008 by IIT Delhi alumni and ex-Bain employees Deepinder Goyal and Pankaj Chaddah has presence over 22 countries.It was initially named Foodiebay. The startup is now valued at over $1 billion.

20. BigBasket

Started in 2011 by Hari Menon, VS Sudhakar, Vipul Parekh and Abhinay Choudhari, BigBasket has its presence in 8 cities with operations. It is being rolled out in Kolkata and Ahmedabad currently. Around, 6,000 orders a day are handled and is looking to set up around 10 warehouses in each metro city in its network and one each in 50 towns to ship orders quickly.


Auto classifieds portal CarDekho was founded by Amit and Anurag Jain, both IIT-Delhi alumni, after their visit to the Delhi Auto Expo in 2008. The company received its first institutional round by Sequoia Capital in 2013. CarDekho is Indian online marketplaces for buyers and sellers of new and used vehicles. The portal also has car news, photos, video galleries, vehicle specification.

22. Freshdesk

Freshdesk was founded in Chennai by Girish Mathrubootham and Shanmugam Krishnaswamy in October 2010. The company has its headquarters in San Francisco, California. It has a mission of making all their customers, irrespective of their size to provide great customer service. Freshdesk has 50,000 customers around the world, including 3M, Honda, Hugo Boss, University of Pennsylvania, The Atlantic, and Petronas.

23. Homelane

Bengaluru-based startup was founded in 2014 by former Pearson CEO Srikanth Iyer, along with a former colleague Rama Harinath. It assists homeowners with customizable home solutions including kitchens, wardrobes, entertainment and vanity units.

24. Urban Ladder

Bengaluru-based online furniture and home décor company UrbanLadder was co-founded in July 2012 by Ashish Goel and Rajiv Srivatsa, it is a curated marketplace for furniture that is backed with more than USD 75 million from investors like Sequoia Capital, Steadview Capital, SAIF Partners, Ratan Tata etc. With over 4000 products and 35 categories, at present, Urban Ladder delivers to 12 cities in India.

25. Meru Cabs

Meru Cabs is a taxi aggregator company based in Mumbai. It provides cab booking facilities through calls, website or through their mobile application and operates in 23 cities. It was founded by Neeraj Gupta in Mumbai on April 2007.

About Author

Biplab Ghosh

Biplab lives his life around technology and is particularly keen to explore the intersection of technology and human behaviour. Always looking for new ideas, and ways that can make things simpler. He is a geek with the flair for travel and has great passion for music and theatres.

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