YourStory’s Top 50 Disruptive Startups: Indian companies that dominated the news in 2019 – YourStory

Posted: January 2, 2020 at 7:41 am

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Modern technologies, be it AI, machine learning, 5G, Internet of Things, or blockchain, are transforming our future. Leading the way are startups that are harnessing disruptive innovation to create a new market and value network, displacing established firms and products.

The ranking of the 50 Most Disruptive Startups for the year 2019 was based on a well-defined methodology that takes into consideration key valuation metrics and leverages the YourStory teams rich experience and knowhow in the space. As the most prominent startup ecosystem enabler in India, YourStory is rightly equipped with the qualitative data and industry insights to create the most authentic listings of its kind.

Our ranking of the Top 50 Most Disruptive Startups spotlights startups with groundbreaking ideas that are creating a deep impact for good with the help of technology.

To arrive at the rankings for the 50 Most Disruptive Startups, a jury comprising YourStory Research and Data Heads, senior editorial staff, and industry experts narrowed down the initial list of around 300 nominations through multiple deliberations. A score was assigned to various valuation metrics such as market opportunity, team, technology or the product or service provided, innovation, and growth potential to determine the ranking of each of these startups.

The jury carefully considered the teams capabilities and skills to create disruptive tech-based solutions and scale the business in its addressable market. In addition, the extent of the product innovation of startups, both in terms of product utilisation and defensibility, its market potential, the scalability of the solution, and clarity of the revenue models were also carefully considered by the jury before making their final selection of 50 Most Disruptive Startups.

Ola, one of the worlds largest ride-hailing companies, announced 'Mission: Electric', with a commitment to place 10,000 e-rickshaws in its service in the next 12 months.

From cycle rickshaws to shuttles and last-mile transport, three-wheelers continue to be a dominant form of daily transit for many people in India. Building on the pioneering EV pilot by the company in Nagpur, Ola believes electrification can improve outcomes for drivers, customers, and its business model.

Ola is the market leader in app-based hailing and intends to leverage its scale to bring cleaner, more comfortable, and safer products to the market.

With investments from SoftBank, Tiger Global, Ratan Tata, and several others, the well-heeled startup became the fastest unicorn after Udaan.

Ola Electric has an ambitious target to deploy a million EVs by 2021, with around 10,000 of them by end-2019 itself. It is also building charging infrastructure and swappable batteries for these vehicles.

In March this year, Hyundai Motor and Kia Motor announced an investment of $300 million in Ola with a focus on electric vehicles. As part of this partnership, Hyundai, Ola, and Kia will develop unique fleets and different mobility solutions.

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Paytm Money is a wholly-owned subsidiary of One97 Communications, which owns and operates Paytm. The company has partnered with all 40 AMCs, making it the only investment platform that offers investments in direct plans of mutual funds from all AMCs in India.

The company has received regulatory approvals for offering Stock Broking NPS services and is expected to launch soon.

Paytm Money aims to become a full-stack investment and wealth management platform in its journey to bring wealth creation opportunities to millions of Indians. It is headquartered in and operates from Bengaluru with its 250+ member team.

Paytm Money, the wealth management division of Paytm, one of Indias biggest payment brand, launched with a bang last year. Pre-launch, the platform already had close to 850,000 signups, 65 percent of which came from Tier II and III geographies.

The diversification includes its foray into stock broking servicesfor which it has acquired necessary approvals from SEBI, earlier this yearas well as the sale of National Pension Scheme, exchange traded funds (ETFs), and other financial instruments.

This comes when just two percent of Indias population has invested in equity-related vehicles. Meaning plenty of opportunities for new-age digital investment platforms like Paytm Money.

The One97 Communications subsidiary is also looking to pick up Rs 250 crore from its parent in the next 18-24 months, and reach 50 million users in the next three years.

The wealth management space in India has caught the eye of several investors this year, including the likes of Ribbit Capital, and Y Combinator with their investment in Bengaluru-based wealth management startup Groww.

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Ninjacart undertakes the risk of picking up fruits and vegetables from farmers and delivering it to small retail outlets, its revenue is largely dependent on the commission it earns from the entire transaction.

In a country like India, the supply chain of fruit and vegetables is riddled with inefficiencies where the ends of the chain, meaning the producer (read farmer) and consumer, are generally shortchanged in terms of quality and price. Bengaluru-based startup Ninjacart wants to change that with the adoption of technology.

The startup sources agricultural produce directly from farmers and supplies to small retailers. Fruits and vegetables are highly perishable commodities, and any lag can severely impact the entire supply chain.

A huge endorsement for Ninjacart was when the young startup got the attention of Tiger Global. In April this year, the PE fund led the $100 million round for Ninjacart. Walmart has also reportedly expressed interest as an investor. The staratup has raised $154 million till now.

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Residents use the MyGate app to communicate with neighbours, discuss matters of the community and society on internal discussion forums, manage visitors (guests, deliveries, cabs etc), maintain attendance records, and salary payments for daily help, discover services, pay society maintenance bills, among other services.

The huge market opportunity has seen many players throwing their hats into the ring. MyGate competes with the likes of Reliance Industries (which has entered the segment with its apartment-management app JioGate), NoBroker, and Adda, to name a few.

Bengaluru-based startup MyGate offers security management and convenience service for gated communities and apartments. Its mobile app allows home-owners and residents to have control and monitor entries and exits, communicate with their neighbours, log attendance for domestic workers, and pay society maintenance bills.

In October 2019, the security management startup bagged $56 million in its Series B funding from Chinas Tencent, Tiger Global, JS Capital, and existing investor Prime Venture Partners.

The startup said it would invest the funds in its technology architecture and hire almost 200 individuals across its product and technology functions. With a team of 700 employees, MyGate plans to take its employee count to 2,000 over the next year.

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Meesho is creating an environment where anyone can start their business with zero investment. The startup aims to create about 20 million micro-entrepreneurs by 2020.

The word meesho means my shop, and the hook of the company is to enable people to start their business from home without any investment, the biggest problem that any small entrepreneur faces.

There are over two million resellers on the Meesho platform; more than 20,000 manufacturers from 500 towns get distribution facilities through Meesho across the country. Meesho works on approximately 10-15 percent commission and sellers can earn by adding a profit margin on every sale.

The company saw 50X growth in two consecutive years and the growth in the number of orders (HY18 to HY19) has been 1451 percent.

The biggest validation for the company was when Facebook invested in the company. Till date, the startup has raised $215.2 million in funding.

Bengaluru-based Meesho is a mobile-first social commerce platform for small businesses that typically use WhatsApp and Facebook to keep in touch with customers. It is touted to be one of Indias first reselling apps, providing an "escape route" to homemakers.

While social apps have seen a lot of traction in Bharat, social commerce is still in its early days in the country: while 300 million people use social apps like Facebook on a regular basis, less than 100 million of them buy online trust and discovery being the biggest issues.

Meesho, which has stated its vision is to enable an environment where anyone can start their business with zero investment, is solving for these problems, by providing micro-entrepreneurs with trusted supply, social sharing tools, efficient logistics, and payment capabilities.

It began with with apparel, but Meesho now sells a range of products, including cosmetics, jewellery, accessories, and kitchenware. According to RoC filings, the startup reported a revenue of Rs 84.88 crore for FY19, an increase by 14x from Rs 6.01 crore in FY18.

Facebook recently made an undisclosed investment in the startup - the social media giants first in a startup in India.

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CleverTap claims to have generated over $2 billion in incremental revenue to its customers, and currently, has a reach of more than one billion devices and over 8,000 consumer apps in more than 100 countries.

Since 2015, the startups revenue has been growing at 250 percent year over year.

Recently, the startup opened its APAC headquarters in Singapore and has expanded its presence in the US and Europe to serve rapidly-scaling brands.

The India market has a clear dearth in providing viable solutions that drive needed business outcomes for mobile conversion, retention, and growth. CleverTap is solving this pain point, and is the only player that has shown significant growth metrics in India.

The platform offers customer lifecycle management and engagement, so as to promote growth and long-term user retention for startups run by mobile apps. Leveraging machine learning, it offers an engagement suite that enables brands to convert, engage, retain, and grow their mobile user base.

Led by its existing investors Sequoia Capital India and Tiger Global Management, CleverTap raised $26 million in Series B and $35 million in Series C funding rounds, raising its valuation to $385 million.

The company said the latest round of funding would enable it to help more companies achieve their retention goals as they build long-lasting relationships with their customers.

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BulkMRO caters to large corporate customers that procure MRO (maintenance, repair, and operations) products in high volumes. It supplies products usually categorised under 'indirect spends', 'category C spends' or 'miscellaneous spends' in the company's finances. This includes products across hardware, tools, electricals, and office supplies.

BulkMRO was one of the eight Indian startups shortlisted for YCombinator's Winter 2017 batch. In April 2017, it raised an undisclosed amount from YCombinator with other investors, including Ace & Company, Bain Capital Ventures, FJ Labs, and a few other angels also participating in the round.

According to the founders, BulkMRO works with large corporate customers across industries. It makes margins from the difference in the buying and selling price of the products it supplies.

BulkMRO was founded to consolidate the otherwise fragmented B2B marketplace for long-tail industrial products. Its customers are giant corporates that manufacture everything from medicines and cars to locomotives and turbines. The market for these industrial products is completely fragmented and corporates need to deal with thousands of mom-and-pop shops.

Major government reforms such as GST, Make in India, and the push to digitise the supply chain have created opportunities for players to consolidate the highly fragmented market. According to BulkMROs founders, this is their 'Flipkart moment.'

BulkMRO acts as a master vendor for large corporate customers, managing the entire pool of MRO through a network of indirect vendors on its platform. Thus, BulkMRO, as one centralised vendor, reduces the order intensity and reconciles GST input credits. By consolidating orders across multiple, large customers, BulkMRO is able to negotiate better rates across brands. These discounts are ultimately passed on to the customer.

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OkCredit uses digitisation to reduce the merchants burden of maintaining business accounts. It also allows them to send collection notifications to customers in case of delayed or missed payments.

To solve the trust problem, once a merchant registers a transaction on the platform against a customer, s/he is immediately informed through text or WhatsApp.

Eventually, the startup became a part of YCombinators 2018 summer batch and raised money from the US-based seed accelerator during its $1.7 million pre-Series A round. The round saw participation from LightSpeed India Partners, Venture Highway, Y Combinator, along with other angels.

In January 2018, OkCredit picked up seed investment of $300,000 from Lightspeed India Partners. Post the June 2019 Series A funding, the founders said the capital will be used primarily for scaling up the team and hiring across functions, including product and technology.

OkCredit will use the funds to grow its customer base by focusing on aspects of customer stickiness.

It was 2017 when serial entrepreneurs Harsh Pokharna, Gaurav Kumar, and Aditya Prasad realised that despite the proliferation of digital payment instruments and point of sale machines, most customers purchase goods on credit recorded in a notebook. Small businesses are yet to completely digitise their bookkeeping processes.

Their interactions with daily grocery stores helped them understand that most of the accounting and credit given by these shopkeepers were recorded on paper; small pieces that could easily be misplaced.

This system meant that it took longer to calculate and also lacked the aspect of trust since there was no way to verify accounts. This is what led them to start a digital-based credit balance recording solution for small business owners later that year.

Investors have taken notice of the startups success. In June 2019, OkCredit stated that it had raised $15.5 million as a part of its Series A round led by Tiger Global Management. The round also saw participation from new investor Morningside Venture Capital and existing investors Lightspeed India Partners, Venture Highway, and Y Combinator. Lightspeed had also made an initial seed investment in the company.

Just three months later, OkCredit raised $67 million as part of its Series B fundraise from Lightspeed (India and US) as well as Tiger Global. This round took OkCredits total fundraise from June 2019 to September 2019 to $83 million.

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The parent company of Glance is InMobi, which was Indias first unicorn. A little more than a year old, this startup has achieved a key milestone of having customers running into millions and an endorsement by way of investment from a leading Silicon Valley venture capital firm.

These are still early days to talk about monetisation for Glance as this is the initial phase. The monetisation route will depend on how the content players are willing to enter into a revenue-sharing model. It would also be dependent on how the users continue to explore newer avenues that go beyond mere consumption of information.

Glance is available in multiple languages like English, Hindi, Tamil, and Telugu and also in Indonesian language Bahasa. This gives the startup access to a wider captive audience.

The opportunity is quite large for Glance and with the deployment of technologies such as artificial intelligence and machine learning, it gives it the heft to make a difference in the dynamic world of mobile content.

Disruptive Quotient

In a mobile-first economy like India, smartphones have seen rapid adoption, and startups are innovating for the handset. Here is a startup that has built a captive customer base at the entry point of any mobile handset: the screen.

Bengaluru-based Glance provides content on the screen of a mobile handset that is snappy, consumable, and in sync with the needs of both the millennial and Generation Z.

The aim of InMobis mobile-first platform Glance is simple: provide visually rich content that informs and entertains users be it an entertainment factoid, a sporting event result, a news snippet, or a fashion recommendation. And all this, one lock-screen at a time.

Today, Glance has over 50 million daily active users under its belt who spend an average of 22 minutes. Glance is not an app, but comes as a service that is pre-installed on mobile phones manufactured by Samsung, Xiaomi, Gionee, and Vivo.

As the entry point of Glance is through the mobile handset manufacturers, it gives them an edge in reaching out to the content consuming public.

Affirmation for Glance came in the form of investment from Mithril Capital, whose Co-founder Peter Theil is a legend in his own right in the Silicon Valley.

This is just the beginning for Glance as mobiles as the platform for content consumption is going to remain for a long time and this will only enable this startup to come out with newer innovations.

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About Company

Yulu's vision is to decongest urban traffic by providing scalable, affordable, efficient, and clean modes of transportation as solutions for first and last-mile connectivity and short distance commute.

Meant for one commuter, Yulu EVs or its scooters have a 48-volt motor controller and a maximum speed of 25 km per hour, and they require no licence or helmet.

A single charge can take the light-weight bike (45 kg) up to 60 km. The user need not worry about the battery; it has a swappable lithium-ion battery. Like a smartphone, the scooter interacts with the server every five minutes. This helps the company know the charge level of every Yulu Miracle being operated across the city, and the team gets an update the minute the battery levels drop below 10 percent.

If required, they can send the on-ground ops team to swap the battery. Yulu is currently operational in Bengaluru, Pune, Delhi, Mumbai, and Bhubaneswar. In Bengaluru alone, Yulu has over 850 Yulu zones or parking zones. Users pay a mandatory Rs 10 for a Yulu Miracle ride, and an additional Rs 10 per 10 minutes of ride time.

Disruptive Quotient

Founded in 2017, the bike-sharing solution platform Yulu first launched its shared-cycles in Bengaluru. It aims to address traffic problems with an IoT solution. Its light blue cycles and electric bikes are visible even in some of the most traffic-congested areas of cities. There are different moving parts in Yulus system that ensure these bikes are available in the right density at every location at the right time.

Founder Amit Gupta estimates that the market size of the shared mobility space with bicycles is currently close to $8-$10 billion globally, and is expected to grow beyond $1 billion in India by 2022.

Since mobility solutions need a high-frequency use-case, Amit believes Yulu can be grown into a platform with the business potential between five to 10 times.

Yulu launched its electric vehicles, Yulu Miracle, in Bengaluru in February 2019. It expanded this offering to Delhi in August. The startup also recently partnered with Uber with pilot operations in Bengaluru. With this tie-up, the Uber app redirects users to the registration page of Yulu.

In Delhi, due to the extreme weather conditions, the company doesn't find it feasible to launch its cycles. Yulu is planning to deploy 5,000 Miracles across metro stations in Delhi by the end of this year and up to 25,000 of the EVs by 2020.

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About Company

Avaada Energy is a leading independent power producer (IPP) of renewable energy projects. With a portfolio of over 1.8 GW of renewable energy projects in India, Avaada is one of the fastest-growing green energy firms, developing sustainable energy through its innovative utility and open access solutions in the solar, wind, rooftop, and hybrid energy markets.

Avaada works with various businesses, supporting them in interweaving business goals with initiatives of environmental sustainability and social responsibility, producing mutually beneficial results. Avaada aims to uplift the livelihood of the communities it works with through its engagement initiatives.

The company claims to have commissioned over 1.8 GW of renewable energy plants and has a portfolio of over 500 MW of open-access solar plants in the commercial category.

Avaada Energys annual revenue is estimated as $3 million.

Disruptive Quotient

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YourStory's Top 50 Disruptive Startups: Indian companies that dominated the news in 2019 - YourStory

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