Sat. Oct 1st, 2022

Hurun Research Institute on Thursday released the Hurun India Future Unicorn List 2021 that tried to read India’s start-up ecosystem. 

The basic prerequisite for a startup to be evaluated in the Hurun India Future Unicorn List 2021, needs to have a value of US$200mn (INR 1,500 crore). 

Anas Rahman Junaid MD and Chief Researcher, Hurun India said, “India is home to more than 600 million internet users and is expected to have 900 million users by 2025. The adoption of the internet in rural areas will further complement the rise of technology start-ups. Fintech companies operating in mobile payments, insurance, blockchain, stock trading and digital lending will grow further to capitalize on internet penetration.”

“India is the third largest Unicorn ecosystem in the world and the number of Gazelles and Cheetahs in India is growing at an exponential pace. Over the last year, India added circa 3 Unicorns every month.”

“Although the Indian start-up ecosystem is growing, some of the start-ups, who reach a certain scale, migrate from India, in search for better regulatory incentives and risk capital availability. For instance, some of the best Enterprise SaaS companies are born in India but “flipped” to the USA. This is a lost opportunity for India and it is important that these start-ups are incentivised to stay back in the country”

“The list also evidences the ballooning investor interest for Indian start-ups. More than 300 investors that include angel investors, corporates, AIFs, family offices and institutional investors have invested into the Cheetahs and Gazelles. Sequoia is the top investor in these start-ups, followed by Tiger Global”


Key Observations In Hurun Report: 

India’s Position In the World Ecosystem:

India stands at  the third position in the Unicorn ecosystem in the world with 51 start-ups followed by the USA with 396 start-ups and China with 277 startups. 


Top 10 Future Unicorn List 2021

  • Zilingo : It is an online B2B platform for small fashion merchants, founded in 2015 by Ankiti Bose and Dhruv Kapoor. It is backed by  Sequoia Capital, Temasek Holdings, Beenext, EDB Investments and others.
  • Mobile Premier League : Bengaluru based unicorn was founded by Sai Srinivas Kiran and Shubham Malhotra in 2018. It is backed by Sequoia Capital, Moore Strategic Ventures, SIG, Pegasus Tech Ventures, Founders Circle and others. 
  • Rebel Foods: It is India’s first cloud kitchen start-up founded in 2010 by Jaydeep Barman and Kallol Banerjee Rebel Foods.It operates cloud kitchens brands Faasos, Behrouz Biryani, Oven Story and others.
  • Cure.Fit : It is a fitness startup which is backed by global investors such as Temasek, Accel Partners, Epiq Capital, Unilever Swiss and others.
  • Spinny : It is a Pre-owned car platform founded by Niraj Singh, Mohit Gupta and Ramanshu Mahuar in 2015. 
  • RateGain: It is a travel technology company that provides modern travel technology solutions to Hotels.
  • Mamaearth: It is a D2C personal care brand founded in 2016 by Varun Alagh and Ghazal Alagh. Company was founded with a name– Honasa Consumer Private Limited, which is currently known as Mamaearth. It is backed by Sequoia Capital, Sofina, Fireside Ventures, Stellaris Venture and Kunal Bahl.
  • CarDekho: It is an auto marketplace  founded in 2007 by brothers Amit and Anurag Jain. They founded Cardekho as an IT outsourcing firm but later turned it into an online portal for new and used car sales. The company is backed by Sequoia Capital, Ping An, Hillhouse Capital Group, Times Internet, Ratan Tata and others.
  • GreyOrange: It is a Singapore based robotics start-up founded by BITS Pilani alumni Samay Kohli and Akash Gupta in 2009. So far the company has raised a total investment of US$70mn and its key investors are Tiger Global, Blume Ventures, Peter Thiel, Binny Bansal and others.
  • MobiKwik: It is a gurugram-based digital payments application that was founded in 2009 by Bipin Preet Singh and Upasana Taku. 


Top 10 Gazelles Startup

Gazelles are those start-ups founded after the year 2000 and have the potential to go Unicorn in 2 years. Their valuation ranges from US$500mn to US$1bn. Once you exceed the $1 bn valuation, you become a unicorn.


  • Zilingo
  • Mobile Premier League
  • Rebel Foods
  • Cure.Fit
  • Spinny
  • RateGain
  • Mamaearth
  • CarDekho
  • Grey Orange
  • MobiKwik


Top 10 Cheetah Startup

Cheetah” start-ups are those founded after the year 2000 and have the potential to become a Unicorn in the next four years. Their estimated valuation ranges between  US$200mn to US$500mn. Currently, as per the report, India is home to 54 Cheetahs, who have received a cumulative investment of US$6bn.

  • Pepperfry
  • Deal Share
  • Mswipe Technologies
  • Xpressbees
  • NoBroker
  • ElasticRun
  • MedPlus
  • FarEye
  • Ixigo
  • Freshtohome


Headquarters of Startups

31 ( 11 Gazelles and 20 Cheetahs) startups are headquartered in Bengaluru followed by Mumbai ( 13 startups),  Gurugram (12 startups), New Delhi  and Noida both are home to 5-5 startups.

Top investors

Hurub Indian Future Unicorn List 2021 shows that Sequoia tops the list by funding 37 startups followed by Tiger Global Management with 18 investments.


Top 10 investors 

1) Sequoia

2) Tiger Global Management

3) InnoVen Capital

4) Accel

5) Trifecta Capital Advisors

6) Falcon Edge Capital

7) Elevation Capital

8)Matrix Partners

9) Blume Ventures

10) Chiratae Ventures


Alumni of start-up founders

Hurun India found in their research that the majority of the startup founders have studied from IIT Delhi on under-grad level. 17 start-up founders have studied from there followed by IIT Bombay with 15 co-founders followed by IIM Ahmedabad (13) on a post graduate level. 


 Alumni of start-up founders on the Hurun India Future Unicorn List 2021

Alumni graduation of start-up founders on the Hurun India Future Unicorn List 2021


Alumni Graduation          No. of Start-ups

IIT Delhi                                                          17

IIT Bombay                                                     15

IIT Kanpur                                                      13

University of Mumbai                                  13

IIT Kharagpur                                               12

Alumni post-graduation of start-up founders on the Hurun India Future Unicorn List 2021:

IIM Ahmedabad                                               13

Indian School of Business                                6

IIM Lucknow                                                      5

IIM Calcutta                                                         5

IIT Bombay                                                          4


By Harshita Sharma

I bring to you startup, stock market, economy, and business news. So, stay tuned!

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