It's been quite a startup marathon for Naveen Tewari who grew up in Kanpur, Uttar Pradesh in a family that was steeped in academia. While his father was a professor at IIT Kanpur, his grandmother was the first woman professor in the same institution. Tewari, himself a graduate of IIT Kanpur and Harvard Business School, had a professional stint at McKinsey before starting up. Naveen Tewari in fact is the founder of two unicorns- InMobi and Glance, a subsidiary of InMobi group that also owns the app Roposo. InMobi is the first unicorn to come out of India. In this episode of Bits to Billions, Tewari spoke to Moneycontrol's Chandra R Srikanth on why many Indian unicorns face an existential crisis, the funding winter, why back to office is crucial and the future of live commerce.
Founded in 2017 by former PayU and Citrus Pay executives and serial entrepreneurs Anish Achuthan, Mabel Chacko, and Ajeesh Achuthan, along with Deena Jacob, Open focuses on small and medium-sized businesses by offering them a business current account. Their next big bets include revenue-based financing early settlement, working capital loans, and business credit cards to SMEs on its platform. Open is aiming to disburse $1 billion in loans through the new suite of products on the platform in the next 12 months. In this episode of Bits to Billions, the founders opened up to Moneycontrol's Chandra R Srikanth on the early years, why Open is relevant, and the criticism that family dominates the leadership.
PhonePe, India's largest player when it comes to digital payments, was founded in December 2015. It has had a very different journey compared to rivals who raised big VC money. Instead it chose to work as an independent unit backed by Flipkart, and now Walmart. Today, PhonePe has more than 360 million registered users, with one in four Indians now using it. It has digitised over 27 million offline merchants spread across Tier II, III, and IV cities and beyond. In this episode of Bits to Billions, PhonePe founders Sameer Nigam and Rahul Chari spoke to Moneycontrol's Chandra R Srikanth on the PhonePe culture, why they will only list in India, why they have never fired an employee and the road ahead as they look to become a financial services super app.
India is currently the largest market for game downloads across the world with over 840 million installs. This has triggered a boom that helped startups like Mobile Premier League or MPL. Founded by Sai Srinivas and Shubh Malhotra in 2018, it joined India's startup unicorn club in September last year, with its valuation zooming to $2.3 billion and counts Virat Kohli as an investor and brand ambassador. The Bengaluru-based unicorn’s platform hosts virtual tournaments across more than 70 games and claims to have over 85 million users across India, Indonesia, and the United States. Sai Srinivas, a second-time entrepreneur tells Moneycontrol's Chandra R Srikanth that he aims to make MPL the underlying platform for people to play competitive tournaments in any game, with ambitions to also design world-class games from India.
Preparing for tough times is something Vedantu is used to by now, as it has seen boom and bust cycles in the past. But it survived, and went on to become a unicorn in 2021, and now competes with Byjus and Unacademy. Founded by Vamsi Krishna, Pulkit Jain, Anand Prakash, and Saurabh Saxena in 2014, Vedantu currently provides live coaching classes for K12 students, including for entrance exams such as IIT JEE Main and Advanced for engineering and NEET for medical colleges. It also provides classes for CBSE, ICSE and various state boards. In this interview with Moneycontrol's Chandra R Srikanth, the founders spoke about the slowdown in edtech post pandemic, tough calls that need to be taken and growth.
CoinSwitch, which helps retail investors invest in cryptocurrencies via an app, was founded in 2017 by Ashish Singhal, Govind Soni and Vimal Sagar Tiwari as a global aggregator of cryptocurrency exchanges. Today, CoinSwitch lets users invest in dozens of other currencies. It became a unicorn in October last year when it raised over $260 million led by new investors Coinbase Ventures and top Silicon Valley fund Andreessen Horowitz. While cryptocurrency has had a tumultuous time in India because of uncertainty over regulation, it is gaining increasing traction as an investment avenue. Coinswitch's registered user base is 18 million, making it one of the largest crypto platforms in the country. The founders of Coinswitch spoke to Moneycontrol's Chandra R Srikanth about their journey, the early days, the volatility of crypto and their plans to become a full-fledged wealth-tech platform.
Harshil Mathur and Shashank Kumar – 2 widely respected founders of the startup world – met as students in IIT Roorkee. After graduating, Kumar, who was Mathur’s senior, floated the idea of the two starting something of their own at some point. A year and several rejections later, Razorpay kickstarted its journey with a seed funding of $9 million, led by leading investment firm Tiger Global. Today, the company enables payments and banking solutions for over 8 million businesses and has added a host of marquee investors to its captable. Razorpay’s valuation jumped from $1 billion to $7.5 billion in just 14 months and it is now the most valued among unlisted fintechs.
Welcome to the second episode of our brand new show, Bits to Billions: The Unicorn Story, where we take you through the journey of some of India’s most prominent and successful entrepreneurs. In this episode, online commerce firm Meesho’s founders Vidit Aatrey and Sanjeev Barnwal speak to Moneycontrol’s Chandra R Srikanth about Meesho’s journey from a social commerce channel to a mainstream e-commerce player, where a majority of its sale comes from direct channels, pitting it against Flipkart and Amazon
Welcome to the first episode of our brand new show, Bits to Billions: The Unicorn Story, where we take you through the journey of some of India’s most prominent and successful entrepreneurs. In this episode, Zerodha founder and CEO Nithin Kamath spoke to Moneycontrol’s Chandra R Srikanth on why he chose to build Zerodha differently – with zero debt, zero funding, and zero loss. We also spoke to his A team: Nikhil Kamath and Dr Kailash Nadh He spoke to us about - Why his office is in South Bengaluru - Why does he hate taking money from people - His personal philosophy - His vision for Zerodha - His life guru, Dr Kailash Nadh - What money means to him - What he tells his son about wealth