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When there is an increasing clamor across the globe for India’s growth to be the centerpiece of 21 century, it doesn’t essentially means the change in political will and the economic u-turn.
What it signifies lying beneath the surface is the rise of millennial entrepreneurship in this country that has grown by going against the tide.
Out of these enterprising youths, Entrepreneur picks some millennial entrepreneurs who had most electrifying growth in this vibrant ecosystem in a short span of time and are all pumped up to break into the big league in 2016.
Cashback Queen: Swati Bhargava, Co-founder, CashKaro
Impressed by the growth of cashback businesses in the West, Swati Bhargava started cashback and coupons site Cashkaro in April 2013 along with her husband Rohan Bhargava. The startup since then has grown fastest in the space by tying up with more than 1,000 e-tailers and registering over 10 lakh users. Cashkaro last month got Ratan Tata's backing. The firm is expected to enter Singapore by April this year as a part of its Southeast Asia expansion plan.
Home Away From Home: Yogendra Vasupal, Founder & CEO, Stayzilla
One of the earliest entrants in budget stay space, which has seen OYO Rooms leading it, the growth for Stayzilla, started by Yogendra Vasupal, picked up tremendously in last two years as the market opened up. Stayzilla currently has more than 40,000 rooms, and it expects to add around 0.5 million rooms by next three years. At present, it has around 32,000 budget hotels listed on its portal across more than 4,500 cities in India. The company had around 10,000 room nights a day in 2015.
The Content King: Sameer Pitalwalla, Co-founder & CEO, Culture Machine
Started by Sameer Pitalwalla and Venkat Prasad, former Disney UTV and YouTube executives respectively, in July 2013, Culture Machine is a digital content creation company across genres including comedy, news, music and lifestyle.
The start-up already managed more than 400 YouTube Channels till last year and had around 400 million views in 2014. Last month, it launched a new video under its UnBlushed series featuring actress Kalki Koechlin with her poem on violence against women, "printing machine," and has already got more than 10 lakh views. It raised $18 million from Tiger Global and others, the largest funding in multichannel network space in Asia.
In The Best of Health: Saurabh Arora, Co-founder & CEO, Lybrate
Launched in April 2013 by former data scientist at Facebook, Saurabh Arora, Lybrate is a platform for patients to seek multiple opinions from doctors for free and initiate a one-on-one dialogue with any healthcare expert online while helping doctors and health experts build their reputation online and allows them to practice beyond boundaries, thus serve more people. Ratan Tata, Tiger Global and others invested $10.2 million in August 2015 in Lybrate, which has more than 80,000 doctors and health experts on its platform.
The Fashionista: Avinash Saxena, Co-founder & CEO, Roposo
Started by Avinash Saxena and two other co-founders from IIT Delhi in 2013, Roposo is a fashion focused discovery platform for women that help them discover fashion online. The start-up has been growing phenomenally with content creation growing twice every month as its app hit two million downloads last month. The start-up has so far raised $20 million and is expecting close to around 10 million active users per month by next year on the app.
Betting Big on Data: Dhruvil Sanghvi, Co-founder, LogiNext
Started in February 2014 by Dhruvil Sanghvi, LogiNext is a big data analytics start-up for logistics companies to optimize and make their delivery operations more efficient by giving real-time weather and traffic update and customers’ location information. LogiNext is currently closing two acquisitions, in first mile and last mile segment. Its solutions are used in more than 30 cities across India, and it boast of around 55 customers including Paytm, Mahindra, Reliance and DTDC.
A Smart Driver: Tarun Mehta Co-founder, Ather Energy
Bengaluru-based Ather Energy started in October 2013 in IIT Madras by Tarun Mehta is building India’s first smart electric scooter (S340). S340 is expected to hit the market by the mid of 2016, which will outperform existing petrol scooters in critical aspects including weight, maintenance cost, ride quality and cost. S340 has connectivity with customers’ smartphones and has on-board navigation system with profile for users and controls builtin, which current large players are not building. The price for 110 cc scooter and Vespa ranges from Rs 45-75k.
Beating The Odds: Sriharsha Majety, Co-founder & CEO, Swiggy
Swiggy is among few food-tech start-ups in India that are scaling up in the current wave of consolidation and restricted funding. Started by serial entrepreneur Sriharsha Majety in August 2014 in Bengaluru, Swiggy last month raised its Series C investment worth $35 million. Within a short duration of one and a half years, the start-up scaled up operations to eight cities and now it expects to have one million monthly orders by April 2016. The startup rapidly taking over its relatively larger competitors like Tinyowl and Foodpanda.
First-Hand Growth: Sumit Chhazed, Co-founder, CredR
Sumit Chhazed along with two other co-founders created a vertical marketplace for used bikes called CredR in February 2015. Apart from Snapdeal’s Kunal Bahl and Rohit Bansal who invested an angel amount in CredR, it raised Series A round worth $15 million in September last year. It currently sells 100 bikes daily across Bengalaru,
Delhi, Mumbai, Hyderabad and Pune and looks at entering 10 other cities. Moreover, the platform claims of selling over 10,000 bikes so far while listing 150 bikes everyday on a daily basis.
The Make-up Man: Manish Taneja, Co-founder & CEO, Purplle
The beauty and grooming space, which is growing steadily, has got marketplaces including Purplle that has been witnessing surprising growth since 2014. Claiming to be leading the space, Purplle, launched by Manish Taneja has since then added more than 450 product brands and around 6,300 salons and spas in more than 12 cities, offering beauty products at competitive pricing of Rs 50-10,000. The company receives around 2,000 orders a day and expects to hit 10,000-order mark by the end of 2016. Also, from current $10 million in turnover, it expects to close FY16 at $40 million.
(This article first appeared in the Indian edition of Entrepreneur magazine (February 2016 Issue).