Mumbai has long been regarded as the financial hub of the country. Well before the launch of the Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s ‘Make in India’ venture, the city was already witnessing a boom in startups, with many innovative entrepreneurs making their first forays into the marketplace here. The ‘Make in India’ campaign has given fresh energyto this culture of startups. Here are 15 enormously successful Indian startups that trace their origins back to Mumbai:
1. Purple Squirrel
Purple Squirrel is the brainchild of IIT, Mumbai, alumni Aditya Gandhi, along with financial analyst, Sahiba Dhandhania. The company’s goal has been to bridge the disconnect between India’s college campuses and actual trends and dynamics of various industries. The Mumbai-based startup now acts as a bridge, providing industry-driven education. It connects students with various sectors, through site visits, workshops and projects, in collaboration with industry experts and campuses. With an annual revenue of Rs. 3 crore, the company, which was founded just 3 years ago, already has a presence in 12 cities and works in collaboration with more than 350 businesses and 100 educational institutes.
Image Sourced From: http://purplesq.com/
Chillr was launched by Sony Joy in 2014 and is a multi-bank mobile banking app. Aimed at eliminating the need for cash, credit cards, and mobile wallets, Sony created Chillr as a peer-to-peer app for money transfer and recharges. Users can send funds to anyone on their phone’s contact list through the app, without the need for any of their bank account information. The app, which is linked to the user’s bank account, also allows users to pay utility bills, recharge their phones, and lots more. The startup has already managed to get banks like HDFC and Bank of Baroda on board. In just one round of funding in 2015, the company managed to raise USD 7 million in funding from investors.
Image Sourced From: https://www.chillr.in/
Grabhouse was founded by Pankhuri Shrivastava and Prateek Shukla in 2013, soon after the two had moved to Mumbai. Their initial struggles with housing and rentals in the big city were the inspiration for Grabhouse. The startup is aimed at helping consumers find rental flats without having to deal with demanding brokers. Landlords and tenants can interact directly on their platform, which also gives house-hunters added convenience. The listings on their site are well-organized, with photographs, information on amenities and neighborhood, and preferences. The company is operational in 4 major cities and has already secured more than Rs. 65 crores in funding in the past year alone.
Image Sourced From: https://grabhouse.com/
Doormint is a local consumer service provider that connects users with utility services on demand. The startup was launched in January 2015 by 3 IITians, Naman Lahoty (IITB), Abhinav Agarwal (IITB) and Piyush Ranjan (IITK). The startup now provides home-owners and business in Mumbai with a single platform where they can request the services of various specialists from electricians and plumbers, to carpenters and mechanics. The company also does thorough background checks and seeks police verification before taking any service provider on board. This adds to their appeal, as safety is a huge concern for consumers. The company has already received around Rs. 16 crores in funding, to finance its expansion plans to cities like Delhi, Gurgaon, and Bengaluru.
Image Sourced From: https://doormint.in/
Quikr is one of the most successful startups to have emerged from Mumbai. The online classified advertising platform was established by Pranay Chulet in 2008, after he had worked in the United States and witnessed the dotcom boom. Inspired by the success of Craiglist there, he saw no reason why the idea should not work in India, but investors at the time were reluctant. Since then, the market has changed drastically and Quickr has grown exponentially, as one of pioneers in India’s startup economy. The company is now valued at USD 1 billion and last year attracted funding of USD 150 million from existing investors like Tiger Global Management and Steadview Capital Management.
Image Sourced From: http://www.quikr.com/
Pepperfry is one of the biggest names in the ecommerce sector, but it was only launched in 2012. The startup was founded by Ambareesh Murty and Ashish Shah to offer consumers a variety of lifestyle products. It then evolved to sell furniture and home décor products, creating its own niche in the market. The company is now a household name in most of India’s big cities and its huge inventory includes more than 80,000 products in various furnishing and home décor products. All of these are sourced from merchant partners that include SMEs, artisans, and big brands. The company has a reputation for its customer service and for the craftsmanship of products marketed on the platform. Initially funded by the founders themselves, the company managed to raise USD 100 million in 2015.
Image Sourced From: http://www.pepperfry.com/
Housing.com is a leading search portal for real estate, catering to around 40 Indian cities, including the metros of Mumbai, Delhi, Bengaluru, Kolkata, and Chennai. The Mumbai-based startup was launched in 2012 by a group of 12 enterprising IITians, including co-founders Rahul Yadav, Advitiya Sharma, and Suvir Sajan. Housing.com has enjoyed tremendous success because of its innovative approach to the online real estate sector, featuring interactive maps, photographs of every listed property, information on the rooms, restrictions, amenities, and lots more. Users can look for various properties listed by individuals, landlords, and brokers, and can use various search parameters and filters to get the best results. After starting out with initial funding of Rs. 1.5 crores the company now has a team of 1,500 people across 45 cities and is valued at over Rs. 1,500 crores.
Image Sourced From: https://housing.com
8. Ola Cab
The demand for reliable alternatives to public transport and ‘black and yellow’ metered taxis led to the rise of online cab aggregator in many cities of India. Ola Cabs has emerged as one of the leading providers of such transport services today. The startup was launched in December 2010, from Mumbai, by Bhavish Aggarwal and Ankit Bhati. The company grew rapidly to include a network of over 200,000 taxis across 85 cities. By the end of 2014 this network was further expanded to include auto rickshaws, with a service called Ola Auto. Consumers have responded enthusiastically to offerings from the company because of their reliability, great customer service, and user-friendly platform. Not surprisingly, the company attracted external funding of USD 1.3 billion in 2015 and is valued at over USD 5 billion today.
Image Sourced From: https://www.olacabs.com/
Toppr is an adaptive test preparation platform for students preparing for various entrance exams in India. At first, Toppr only catered to IIT JEE students, but it has now diversified and offers pre-medical courses such as AIMPT, as well as foundation courses for students studying for board and higher secondary examinations. Toppr was founded by Zishaan Hayath in 2013. Initially, it consisted of just 5 people working out of an apartment, but today, Toppr has a team of over 100 and serves more than 1,50,000 students across the country. The company has received USD 2 million seed funding from SAIF Partners and Helion Ventures. Toppr acquired Jodhpur-based Easyprep, in April 2015, and in February 2016, it acquired edu-tech startup Manch. Zishaan Hayath is also an angel investor and has backed ventures such as Housing.com and Ola Cabs.
Image Sourced From: https://www.toppr.com/
Saurabh Saxena, one of the founders of HolaChef, describes it as a “fine-dine restaurant in cloud”. This food tech company was started in September 2014 by Saxena and Anil Gelra and it aims at delivering affordable, but chef-crafted home-cooked meals. While there are several things that set this venture apart from other players, one of the reasons HolaChef is such a hit is because their menu changes on a daily basis. The company received Rs. 2 crores funding from India Quotient during its seed stage. The quality and quantity of their meals coupled with the affordability pushed them far ahead of their competitors and in exactly one year from their launch, their place in the market was cemented when they received further investment for an undisclosed sum from none other than Ratan Tata, chairman emeritus of Tata Sons.
Image Sourced From: http://www.holachef.com/
Bookmyshow was started by 3 friends – Ashish Hemrajani, Parikshit Dar and Rajesh Balpande in 1999. Today it is the largest online movie ticketing brand and their mobile app has been rated by experts as the most successful mobile e-commerce app in India. In the initial stages, all operations were handled by a small team based in Mumbai, but today, they have over 400 employees with offices in New Delhi, Bangalore, Chennai, Kolkata and Hyderabad. Bigtree Entertainment Pvt. Ltd., the parent company for Bookmyshow, received backing from the Network18 group and Accel Partners. In 2014, it raised a futher USD 25 million from SAIF Partners and is currently valued at over USD166 million. The company’s revenue for the fiscal year 2014-2015 was Rs. 127.6 crores.
Image Sourced From: https://in.bookmyshow.com/
Justdial is marketed as India's No.1 local search engine as it provides search services across the country. The information can be relayed to customers via the phone, internet, mobile app, or SMS. The company was founded by V S S Mani in 1996 with an initial investment of just Rs. 50,000. Justdial was started with 6 employees but today, it employs over 7,400 people. JustDial launched their web-based version in 2007 and their android app in 2011. Their android app, Search Plus has 28 integrated apps – this enables a user to perform everyday tasks such as grocery shopping, flower delivery, booking movie tickets, ordering food online, all from a single platform. The company has seen multiple funding rounds beginning with Rs. 50 crores from SAIF Partners in 2006. In 2012, Sequoia Capital and SAP Ventures (both based in California) invested a total of USD 57 million in the company.
Image Sourced From: http://www.justdial.com/
Annkur P Agarwal and Tirthesh J Ganatra launched PriceBaba in 2011 to cater to consumers who prefer to research online, but shop offline. This startup serves 3.5 million users per month and helps them connect with over 1500 offline retailers in 11 cities across India. The two co-founders met on a serendipitous train journey and together they brought their idea to life. Ankur made the initial investment, but once the first version of their product was launched, they raised a small round from 5 angel investors. In 2013, 500 Startups, which is an early-stage venture firm and accelerator backed Pricebaba and accepted them as part of the 2013 batch at their incubator office in California.
Image Sourced From: http://pricebaba.com/
Weddingz was launched in January 2015 and has already established itself in the industry. The startup was founded by Sandeep Lodha after he attended a cousin’s wedding and witnessed the stress that couples and their families must endure to manage the celebrations. Weddingz provides a wedding planning platform, using digital technology. Users can find and choose various services at the best rates on this integrated system. The company has a listing of over 2,000 venues and vendors across 10 locations in the country. Although Weddingz only started operations in Mumbai a year ago, they have already expanded to other cities and states like Delhi, Bengaluru, and Goa. In December, the company received funding of over USD 1 million from a group of angel investors and barely 2 months into the new year, they have raised an additional undisclosed amount from Sixth Sense Ventures.
Image Sourced From: http://weddingz.in/
Bajaao.com is a labor of love for musician and entrepreneur Ashutosh Pandey. As the frontman for Xenon, one of the leading metal bands of the city in the early 2000s, he was already all too familiar with the plight of struggling musicians. He understood the problems of poor access to world-class musical instruments. Soon after the band had broken up in 2005, he created Bajaao to sell musical instruments online, with an initial investment of just Rs. 2.5 lakhs. As the first online musical store, and with excellent service and an impressive inventory, the startup soon broke even. Today Bajaao is India’s largest e-retailer for musical instruments and has an annual turnover of over Rs. 13 crores.
Image Sourced From: http://www.bajaao.com/
Mumbai is home to some of country’s finest educational institutions, draws the best talent, and offers plenty of opportunities to those who will persevere. Not surprisingly, the city has produced an impressive list of startups over the years, and it looks like they will continue to do so.