The world’s largest professional network, LinkedIn, on Tuesday announced the 2018 LinkedIn Top Startups List for India, revealing the 25 most-wanted startups by professionals.
It's fuelled by proprietary LinkedIn data including employment growth, engagement, job interest, and attraction of top talent.
Topping the first edition of this list is five-year-old hospitality startup OYO followed by health startup Cure.Fit, and on-demand delivery service dunzo.in.
From consumer tech to health tech, and logistics to hospitality, these 25 companies represent the thriving startup landscape in India, the third largest startup ecosystem in the world.
The debut list sees B2B companies make up 50 percent of the list whereas 20 percent of the companies, Nineleaps, Zapr Media Labs, BrowsterStack, SigTuple and Exadatum, are deep technology companies.
“Professionals turn to LinkedIn for news, views, and insights to stay informed, to hire, or to get hired. LinkedIn’s data helps us identify the top trends that drive India’s young economy – why these are the most preferred places to work for professionals today and how their innovative business ideas are changing the way we live," said Adith Charlie, India Editor, LinkedIn.
With a global headcount of 4,700, OYO is on an expansion spree. Headquartered in Gurugram, the 5-year-old hospitality startup is already India’s largest hotel network with more than 100,000 rooms in 230 cities (compared to Marriott’s 23,000 and Taj Hotels’ 17,000). Over the last nine months, the budget hotel brand has ventured into Malaysia, China and the UK.
Bengaluru-based wellness startup, Cure.Fit has four offerings: no-equipment gyms, health food, yoga and meditation centres, and primary care. With a global headcount of 120, the company just raised $120 million from existing investors and acquired premium gym chain Fitness First in a deal worth $30-35 million.
Bengaluru-based Dunzo has the distinction of being Google's first direct startup investment in India and is fast becoming a verb in Bengaluru. With a global headcount of 160, users of the concierge services venture are “dunzoing” everything from buying groceries to picking up laundry and arranging last-minute gifts.
Gurugram-based Rivigo attained near-unicorn status recently when it raised $50 million at a valuation of $945 million. Why are investors betting on the logistics services firm? With a global headcount of 3,700, the company is a unique driver relay model that reduces turnaround time, marquee clients such as Maruti Suzuki, ITC and Marks & Spencer, and a freight e-marketplace that's already India's biggest.
5. Digit Insurance
The Bengaluru-based online general insurer says that 87 percent of its claims are approved in 24 hours. With a global headcount of 630, Digit believes in simplifying processes: every insurance product is explained to customers in a 2-page document. Billionaire Prem Watsa's Fairfax Holdings recently put $44 million more in the two-year-old startup.
6. LBB - Little Black Book
The Delhi-based Little Black Book (or LBB) started as a Tumblr blog with an initial investment of Rs 80,000 before it morphed into an online platform for cultural goings-on. With a global headcount of 80, its recommendations span everything from food and fashion to theatre and shopping across eight cities. Presently, the company is busy scaling up its curated marketplace for local products and events.
7. Republic World
With a global headcount of 400, Arnab Goswami's Republic TV has ruled viewership ratings in the English news genre since its launch in May 2017, but bigger rival Times Now seems to be clawing its way back. The Mumbai-based Republic was successful in monetising eyeballs and went on to clock Rs 155 crore in revenue for FY18. But the channel is often accused of having a pro-establishment stance and being over-dependent on Goswami.
8. The Minimalist
A bootstrapped design agency, The Minimalist started as a Facebook page for witty content. With a global headcount of 60, Mumbai-based startup works with clients such as Saint-Gobain, Bharti Airtel, Berkshire Hathaway, Coca-Cola and Abbott. The last fiscal year was a watershed moment for The Minimalist, one in which its revenue and headcount doubled.
Bengaluru-based online payment solutions provider, Razorpay, now services more than 100,000 businesses, including names such as Bharti Airtel, IRCTC and Goibibo. With a global headcount of 230, the company is clocking a monthly growth of 35% and it bagged $20 million in a Series B funding round led by Tiger Global and Y Combinator earlier this year.
Bengaluru-based Nineleaps accelerates product development for other startups by providing web and mobile application services. With a global headcount of 200, it's expanding into new markets such as Singapore and Indonesia and diversifying into data science, blockchain and other emerging fields.
11. Innov8 Coworking
New Delhi-based Innov8 says it’s in the business of building entrepreneurs. With a global headcount of 75, the Y-Combinator-backed coworking venture has 13 centres across the country. This year, Innov8 aspires to add 100 employees and treble its seat count to 12,000.
Mumbai-based Schbang is a digital solution agency that also dabbles in original content. With a global headcount of 240, it counts marquee names — Ashok Leyland, Hot Wheels, Amazon Fashion, and RAW Pressery — as clients. Schbang wants to be India’s first agency export and plans to open an international office next year.
13. Acko General Insurance
Mumbai-based Acko raised $30 million even before its launch and went on to bag $12 million from Amazon exactly a year later. With a global headcount of 115, the digital insurance firm solves everyday pain points with solutions such as in-trip covers for Ola users and screen protection for devices. Its biggest draw is personalised policies based on user behaviour.
14. Treebo Hotels
With a global headcount of 795, Bengaluru-based Treebo scorched its way to 9,000 rooms in three years. The budget hotel chain’s headcount grew by 18% over the past year but it laid off a tenth of the workforce in July, shortly after the data window for this list closed. Bigger rival OYO’s strong investor backing, rapid growth and its rekindled partnership with travel site MakeMyTrip are hurting Treebo, media reports suggest. Treebo did not respond to a LinkedIn survey.
Mumbai-based InCred offers personal, education and home loans as well as credit to small and medium-sized businesses. With a global headcount of 1,000, the firm counts former Deutsche Bank co-CEO Anshu Jain as a backer and has secured the banking regulator’s nod for launching wholesale lending operations.
Bengaluru-based Jumbotail is a B2B e-marketplace that connects neighbourhood stores with their suppliers. With a global headcount of 125, the Nexus Venture Partners-backed startup also provides shopfront delivery of groceries and arranges working capital credit for store owners through its lending partners.
17. Zapr Media Labs
With a global headcount of 110, Bengaluru-based Zapr Media analyses TV viewership data to provide actionable insights to broadcasters, advertisers and media agencies. To date, the media-tech startup has raised $13 million from Star India, Flipkart, Saavn and Micromax, among others.
After being bootstrapped for 7 years, Mumbai-based BrowserStack hit the headlines for the largest ever Series A funding round of $50 million, led by Accel Partners. With a global headcount of 165, as many as 2 million developers and more than 25,000 paying customers — including Disney, Tesco, and Facebook — use its mobile app and web-testing platform.
Founded by three former Flipkart executives, Bengaluru-based Udaan.com is an online B2B marketplace for food, clothing and electronics. With a global headcount of 401, the company became the fastest Indian startup to bag unicorn status and expanded its reach to more than 500 cities.
With a global headcount of 120, Bengaluru-based SigTuple applies robotics and AI to make medical screening tests more accurate. Its offerings include smart hematology analyser Shonit and AI100, a low-cost device that digitises pathology slides. The team has applied for 19 patents in the US and India.
With a global headcount of 390, Mumbai-based online educator UpGrad.com offers industry-relevant courses in subjects such as digital marketing, data science and product management. Co-founded by media magnate Ronnie Screwvala, the startup claims to have empowered more than 300 career transitions in the last year and has earmarked 200 crore for expansion in Southeast Asia and the Middle East.
With a global headcount of 45, InterviewBit is a preparation site for tech jobs. The Pune-based self-funded startup also sources pre-screened technical talent for coveted employers such as Facebook, Amazon, Uber and Flipkart.
With a global headcount of 300, Gurugram-based bus aggregation startup Shuttl recently raised $11 million from Amazon, Dentsu Ventures and existing investors including Sequoia Capital. The company clocks 45,000 daily rides in five cities. It aims to expand to two new cities by the end of the year, even as experts feel achieving healthy unit economics remains a challenge.
With a global headcount of 225, Bengaluru-based reseller marketplace Meesho uses social media platforms like WhatsApp and Facebook to connect sellers directly with suppliers. In June, the Y Combinator-backed firm raised $11.5 million in Series B funding from Sequoia India and a bunch of existing investors.
25. Exadatum Software Services
With a global headcount of 70, Exadatum positions itself as a one-stop shop for everything Big Data. Pune-based company offerings make Big Data implementation faster, cheaper and standardised for Fortune 500 clients, the two-year-old venture says. Exadatum’s next target — developing products and rendering services in machine learning and artificial intelligence.
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