These 25 Startups Are Making Chennai the Hottest Market for Business Aspirants
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Chennai is among the Indian cities with most talented and skilled individuals. Despite being an underrated region due to the modest background of investors and entrepreneurs, the city has turned many heads in the recent years for creating internet companies like Freshdesk and Indix, which have made their presence felt in the international market.
The city that initially started emerging as a successful ground of automobile startups is gradually becoming a SaaS hub and meanwhile, attracting the entrepreneurs from every field including manufacturing and engineering. What makes Chennai the hottest market for business aspirants is the availability of a competitive but hassle-free climate.
Due to the presence of Special Economic Zones (SEZ), the business and trade laws are different in those areas. As of now, there are 55 such zones operational in Tamil Nadu, out of which 18 are in Chennai. The region’s moderate standard of living further makes it the most preferred destination for startups.
In comparison to Mumbai, Chennai’s consumer prices and rent are 54 per cent cheaper whereas life in Delhi and Bengaluru is 18 and 13 per cent more expensive than the Tamil Nadu capital, respectively. While the environment is suitable for businesses, the city is also catching up in terms of infrastructure. It is opening up to high-end facilities and research spaces of late.
Funding no more seems to be an issue as many angel investors with deep pockets are willing to invest in startups with innovative ideas. The lack of startup policies in Tamil Nadu which had become a matter of concern earlier for aspiring entrepreneurs also seems to have met a solution with the state government’s recent announcement confirming that investments worth Rs 45,000 crore are in the pipeline.
In the past years, a variety of startups have dug their heels in Chennai with the purpose of reshaping the future of the startup ecosystem. Here are 25 top startups which are redefining the business scope of Chennai:
Freshdesk is a SaaS customer support software that offers everything a business needs to deliver exceptional support. A journey which started in 2010 from a bad customer experience gave founders, Girish Mathrubootham and Shan Krishnasamy an unbeatable startup idea. Over 150,000 companies trust the software to run their business. The startup recently raised $100 million in a Series G funding round led by Accel Partners and Sequoia Capital.
Founded in 2008 by Adhil Shetty, Arjun Shetty and Rati Shetty, the online financial marketplace helps the customers access the right financial products. As of 2017, the total investment in the startup is noted to be $110 Million. BankBazaar has appointed former RBI Deputy Governor (DG) S. S. Mundra as an advisor to the company.
The subscription and recurring billing solutions, ChargeBee uses its plug-and-play capability to allow businesses to automate billing, invoicing and leverage transactional emails to improve communication with their customers across different industries. The company founded by Krish Subramanian, KP Saravanan, Thiyagarajan T and Rajaraman S in June 2011 had raised its first round of $350k from private investors in December, 2012 followed by Series A funds of $800k from Accel Partners in 2014 and Series B funds of $5,000k from Tiger Global Management and Accel Partners in 2015.
4. YELDI Softcom
Founded by the father-daughter duo Lakshmideepa and Ra. Arjunamurthy in July 2015, YELDI is a core NFC technology company. With contact-less NFC-enabled cards, the solutions are designed to handle a variety of payments and security access applications. The RBI-licensed startup recently partnered with online payments wallet Paytm for manufacturing Paytm Tap Card. The card allows Paytm customers to make payment by simply tapping the card at a merchant terminal.
The renowned jewellery portal founded in 2007 has opened to gates to the world’s largest collection of solitaire gems and innovative contemporary designs. The platform sources directly from vendors, eliminating inventory and real estate costs. The startup received a major boost in 2016 after Titan group acquired a majority stake in the e-commerce firm. Being associated with Tata sure has brought credibility to the Chennai-based startup.
Founded in 2009 by Suresh Sambandam, OrangeScape is one of the leading cloud-based B2B Indian tech company offering disruptive SaaS platforms for business process and workflow automation.
Founded in 1997, BharatMatrimony is an online matrimony service and a part of Matrimony.com. Today, one of the largest matrimony services in India, the company has 130 offices in India and outside including Dubai, Sri Lanka, United States and Malaysia to cater to its customers. Interestingly, founder Murugavel Janakiraman later met his wife through his own creation.
The comprehensive real-time tracking, FourKites is the fastest-growing predictive supply chain platform which delivers real-time visibility and execution for Fortune 500 companies and third-party logistics firms. Founded in 2014, the startup uses a proprietary algorithm to calculate shipment arrival times. FourKites enables customers to lower operating costs, improve on-time performance, and strengthen end-customer relationships.
Recently launched Wsquare is a dedicated co-working space for women. The startup encourages a collaborative workspace situated in a residential area and in the vicinity of daycare centres. It is equipped with Wi-Fi, security, power back-up, yoga sessions, food delivery and spa treatments. They provide a Working Desk for Women who are looking for an alternative to working from home or to just work independently.
10. Terragreens Organic
The platform for 100% certified organic products grown, processed and packaged by Terrafirma Projects Pvt Ltd. The startup believes in the farmer's first strategy, making it one of the only companies with core competence in farming. The company aims to revive sustainable agricultural practices in India through organic farming. The startup has a firm presence in metros and steadily penetrating Tier 2 cities as the organic popularity increases.
11. Snack Experts
The healthy snack providers from Chennai is a leader in healthy snack delivery for offices and institutions. The startup aspires to provide the best possible solution for the working community’s daily snacking needs in a smarter and healthier way. They aim to help organizations irrespective of the size to improve company culture, explore new workplace wellness ideas, increase employee engagement and thereby improving overall productivity.
The buzz around artificial intelligence has made it many tech-based startups joining the bot revolution. Developed by Chennai-based Acumenist Analytics Pvt Ltd as a Part of Target’s fourth batch of accelerators, Lawbot is the brainchild of Manaswani Krishna and Krishna Sundaresan. The bootstrapped platform that is essentially an AI-powered contract engine automatically checks for common errors and loopholes, pointing out missing obligations and restrictions when a contract is uploaded at the backend. The product also helps in drafting and reviewing contracts automatically.
The Chennai-based startup that produces educational activity boxes for children, Flintobox was founded in 2013 by Shreenidhi Srirangam, Arunprasad Durairaj and Vijaybabu Gandhi. The company makes resources for Early Child Development on a monthly basis. The company follows a subscription operational model and delivers the boxes straight to a child’s doorstep.
The foodtech platform which started in 2008 had already built a profitable chain of 50 outlets in Chennai and Bengaluru serving over 8,000 customers in a day. The outlets are available in both Café and Kiosk formats at premium locations across both cities.
15. KiSSFlow by Orangescape
In 2012, one of the leading cloud-based B2B Indian tech companies, OrangeScape introduced KiSSFlow, an cloud-based workflow tool for business process automation. The online workflow tool is used by over 10,000 customers across 160 countries.
Founded in early 2015, the meat-procurement omnichannel platform, Tendercuts is leveraging agile and robust technology with the aim to provide meat and seafood lovers with clean, hygienic, and quality food. It was started with a vision that everyone should eat fresh and hygienic meat door delivered in 90 minutes. They procure meat directly from farmers and fishermen and maintain quality and hygiene throughout the supply chain.
17. Fuel Book Technology
The tech company not only delivers a smarter driver experience but also awakens an innovative and safer community. The startup has been helping the trucking community save money with millions of fuel searches every year by recognizing the important need to help truckers search for low fuel prices and helping fleet drivers make sense of complex fuel discounts.
Energyly is a startup that helps building managers and businesses reduce their utility bills by better managing energy use. Founded by Dayal Nathan and Dilip Rajendran, the startup can connect up to 10 devices to monitor via its analytics dashboard. The firm has gained considerable recognition after receiving the “Best Startup – Energy” Award by CII Startupreneurs and “Best Utility App” Award by Global Mobile App Summit & Awards.
The e-commerce market intelligence firm predicts the next moves of eCommerce & 'Direct to consumer' companies using its sales prospecting program. The platform attracts investors curious about how they hunt for “nuances” among sales leads that hint at a higher likelihood for a deal.
Bootstrapped by Karthik Venkateswaran, Nandha Kumar and Sundar Natesan, GoBumpr helps vehicle owners find, book and pay for automobile services from service stations. The array of services include OEM-authorised free services, regular scheduled paid services, ad-hoc repair jobs, 24/7 on-road assistance, vehicle insurance renewals and finding the nearest petrol bunks on road. Interestingly, within two months of its launch, the venture had registered over 700 car- and bike-owners, clocking Rs 15 lakh in revenues.
The Speech Recognition software company, Uniphore was founded in 2008 by Umesh Sachdev and Ravi Saraogi. The company aims to allow any software application to understand and respond to natural human speech. Having integrated their smart speech recognition application, the firm’s solutions are centred around voice biometrics, a virtual speech assistant, and speech analytics. The Chennai-based company has recently raised an undisclosed amount as part of its series-B round of funding from investors including IDG Ventures and JC2 Ventures, a venture founded by John Chambers.
The SaaS-based GRC (governance, risk management, and compliance) platform, FixNix automates the processes of compliance and risk management linked to corporate governance. Initially bootstrapped by Shanmugavel Sankaran (Shan), the startup founded in 2012 raised its pre-Series A funding of $500,000 from Jay Vijayan, CIO of Tesla Motors along with other angel investors.
23. Vortex Engineering
Founded in 2001, Vortex Engineering is making self-service transaction systems for banks. With the mission of helping banks reach out, Vortex ATMs are deployed in 8 different countries all over the globe, especially in Asia & Africa. The innovative startup has 9 patents in its name already.
24. Immi Life
The mobile-based cardiac services venture offers doctors access to on-demand opinions of cardiologists who help quickly and reliably identify patients with an imminent heart attack (myocardial infarction) and can even guide pre-hospital stabilization, whenever necessary.
25. Proklean Technologies
Probiotics chemicals company Proklean founded by Dr Sivaram Pillai, B. Chandrasekhar and Vishwadeep Kuila in 2012 has developed a host of customers in the textile and leather processing industries. Being completely non-toxic and biodegradable, Proklean finds its products marketed in USA, Brazil, Mexico, South Africa, Germany, Spain, Hungary, Turkey, Thailand, China, the Philippines, Australia, and Bangladesh.