scorecardOfBusiness was the only woman led startup that entered the unicorn club this year
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OfBusiness was the only woman led startup that entered the unicorn club this year

OfBusiness was the only woman led startup that entered the unicorn club this year
Business6 min read
  • Over 27 startups have been valued over a billion dollars this year, however, only one of them was led by women.
  • Out of the 136 unicorn startup founders in India, five of them are female.
  • Mamaearth, Mobikwik and Acko General Insurance are expected to be valued at over $1 billion in the next four years.
It has been raising unicorns since the start of this year. So far 27 startups — ranging from diverse segments such as online pharmacy, social commerce, infrastructure-led marketplace, and more — have been valued over a billion dollars this year and entered the unicorn club.

However, only one of them is actually led by women. OfBusiness, which offers raw material procurement service and credit to small and medium businesses (SMBs), was founded by Ruchi Kalra, Vasant Sridhar, Bhuvan Gupta and Nitin Jain over six years ago.

ALSO WATCH: “45% of our startups are based out of Tier-II and Tier-III cities,” says Aastha Grover from Startup India.

The company turned unicorn in July, after the $160 million round led by SoftBank Vision Fund II that valued the company at a whopping $1.5 billion. The business-to-business (B2B) ecommerce startup counts Falcon Edge Capital, Alpha Wave Incubation, and Matrix Partners India, among others.

OfBusiness was the only woman led startup that entered the unicorn club this year
BI India

“We can look at it as glass half empty or glass half full. There are now more women entrepreneurs in the start up space than ever before. When I started off as a tech entrepreneur in 2009, we could be counted on one hand. Now there are founders — Phalguni Nayar of Nykaa and Upasana Taku of Mobikwik who are at the helm of taking their companies public with many lining up. The reason for delay in women reaching the mark at the same pace as men is because they started slightly later”- Anisha Singh, founding partner at She Capital, told Business Insider India.

Singh has formerly led coupon provider MyDala and content marketing solutions Kinis Software Solutions.

She noted that there are several reasons why women got a delayed start in the Indian startup scene. One of those reasons is that there were not enough female role models to prove that women were capable of building and scaling a business, which pushed back investors to invest in women-led businesses. Emergence of strong businesses like Bumble or Nykaa has led investors to believe more in women-led startups now, Singh added.

ALSO WATCH: Kiran Majumdar Saw, Vani Kola and Nandini Piramal talk about the lack of women in the workforce and how it can be overcome.

“Just check out the investments coming from venture capitalists to women startups as compared to the male founders...A maximum number of Venture Capitalists are men. The age-old beliefs somehow dictate the funding in the tech industry too. Men invest in men, for business. Women entrepreneurs have to overcome the scenario,” Rachitta Juneja, Founder, Whide.

More female-led companies to enter unicorn club in next four years

The year 2021 has been a record breaking year for Indian startups so far — with the new age companies hitting the public market, cracking the biggest funding deals and more companies being valued at over a billion dollars.

According to a business intelligence firm Tracxn, Indian startups have raised $23 billion in 2021 till September 1. This is significantly higher than $13 billion raised by the ecosystem in 2020. The massive interest of the investors has increased India’s unicorn tally to 56.

The new estimates show that 150 startups will be valued at over a billion dollars in the next four years, by 2025. Of this, Hurun India report estimates the following female-led startups to make it to the list.

StartupWomen EntrepreneurTimeline
ZilingoAnkiti BoseBy 2023
MamaearthGhazal AlaghBy 2023
MobiKwikUpasana TakuBy 2023
Pristyn CareDr. Garima SawhneyBy 2023
Ecom ExpressManju DhawanBy 2023
Acko General InsuranceRuchi DeepakBy 2023
Qure AIPooja RaoN/A
WinZoSaumya Singh RathoreBy 2025
MyGlammPriyanka GillBy 2025
Square YardsKanika GuptaBy 2025
BankbazaarRati ShettyBy 2025
PratilipiSahradayi ModiBy 2025
SirionLabsKanti PrabhaBy 2025
ZivameRicha KarBy 2025