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How Has 2018 Been for These Eight Unicorns We take a close look at the journey of startups that achieved the unicorn status in the previous year

By Komal Nathani

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From funding to global expansion, 2018 has been a great year for Indian startups in varied ways. This year, the startups in India saw 108 per cent growth raising about $4.2 billion funds, said the NASSCOM report.

Not just that, this year eight startups joined the unicorn club crossing the mark of $1 billion valuations as against nine unicorns in six years from 2011 to 2017, which was quite a meteoric rise. However, the seed-funded startups showed slow growth in terms of funding as most of the major funds were raised by unicorns this year.

As 2018 comes to an end, we take a close look at the journey of these startups that achieved the unicorn status in a few years.

  • Byju's

This December India's largest ed-tech startup Byju's became the world's most valued ed-tech startup achieving the net worth of USD3.6 billion. The company joined the unicorn club earlier this year, and in just nine months it raised $540 million in funding led by Naspers Ventures to fuel its expansion plans.

The Bengaluru-based startup, which also has the backing of Mark Zuckerberg's foundation, is aiming to focus on its international expansion in the UK, US and Australia. Founded in 2008, the company is now eying for IPO next year.

  • OYO

The hotel chain app OYO became India's second most valuable startup when it raised $1 billion this September from its existing investors SoftBank Vision Fund, Sequoia Capital, and Lightspeed Venture Partners. The company has been vigorously working on its global expansion targeting markets like China, Southeast Asia, UAE and UK.

Ritesh Agarwal's shot up its bar spreading its presence outside Asia. It is also foraying into India's $40 billion wedding industry with the acquisition of weddingz.in.

  • Paytm Mall

The e-retailer of India's digital payment firm Paytm, Paytm Mall joined the unicorn club early this year. The company raised the $450 million reportedly, which crossed its valuation of $1 billion in April. Paytm Mall has been investing to improve its technology to buy and sell products this year. The company launched many new initiatives like QR-code technique to allow customers to scan the product, browse information, and make purchases online via the Paytm Mall app.

  • Zomato

The ten-year-old food-delivery app, Zomato climbed the success ladder with one after and other new developments in the Indian food-tech space. The company crossed $1 billion valuations when it raised $200 million in a round led by Ant Small and Micro Financial Services Group in February early this year. Throughout the year, the company has aggressively worked on its marketing and delivery services. It has also launched a number of key innovative offers and packages for consumers. Zomato Gold is one of the successful examples, which now has around 1,60,000 subscribers, said the company's blog.

At the beginning of 2018, the company had its presence in just 15 Indian cities, but today it is present in more than 100 cities across India.

  • Swiggy

This food delivery app is the latest member of the Indian unicorn club, which raised $201 million in Series H round led by South Africa's Naspers. This four-year-old startup is India's fastest food-delivery app to join the unicorn status. The company has more 10+ million app downloads and is serving in up to 50 cities. Its arch rival includes Zomato, UberEats, Foodpanda and Grabon.

In 2018, the company has acquired two on-demand delivery app to strengthen its operations. In August, it acquired Scootsy and the Mumbai-based milk-delivery app SuprDaily. Over the course of the year, Swiggy has been focusing on its hyperlocal expansion in India.

  • PolicyBazaar

The online insurance aggregator platform became unicorn when it raised $200 million funding in June this year. The company has scaled its fast growth over the course of 2018 with its new investment in the health tech sector. Launched in August this year, Policy Bazar's DocPrime allows users to book appointments with doctors and diagnostic labs. The company will retain its focus on its healthcare vertical in 2019 too, as per reports.

  • Freshworks

The software provider Freshworks is the second SaaS-based startup after ZOHO to join the unicorn club this year when it raised $100 million this August from existing investors Sequoia Capital, Accel Partners and CapitalG. The Chennai-based startups, which currently has top-notch clients like Honda, Hugo Boss, Toshiba, has been betting high on its global expansion.

Started by the ex-ZOHO executive, Freshworks is headquartered in San Bruno, California, with global offices in India, the UK, Australia and Germany.

  • Udaan

One of the fastest growing b2b startups, Udaan has achieved unicorn status within just two years of its inception. Early this year in February, the company raised $50 million in Series B. The company raised $225 million funding in September from DST Global and Lightspeed Venture Partners. This was the second round of funding in a single year.

Komal Nathani

Former Correspondent, Entrepreneur Asia Pacific

A firm believer of hard work and patience. Love to cover stories that hold a potential to change the momentum of business world. Currently, a part of all-women web team of Entrepreneur’s Asia Pacific edition to jig the wheel of business journalism!

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