Published On: January 16th, 2021
Table of Contents
The Economic Shutdown
With a drop of 3.1% in the fourth quarter of the fiscal year 2020, India continues to be one of the most economically affected countries in the world. It is said that India’s growth for FY2021 is the least in the last three decades since the 1990s India’s Economic Liberalisation. But who is responsible for such a humongous decline? Well, it’s definitely Covid19 but it’s not the only ONE.
There’s more to the story. India was facing deceleration even before Covid 19 pandemic, which just worsened due to the pandemic. According to the World Bank, the pandemic has “magnified pre-existing risks to India’s economic outlook”. But there are few of them which found the opportunities in these situations. We are talking about those 5 startups that shone amidst covid19 and challenged their competitors.
Nearly 53% of businesses faced an economic shutdown. Around 14 crore Indians lost their job. The venture capital of startups declined by over 50%. More than 45% of households faced an income drop. And the most dangerous of them all was that the Indian economy was expected to lose over 32,000 crores.
That’s how bad Covid 19 virus was for the Indian Economy. But as Albert Einstein once said, “Out of clutter, find simplicity. From discord, find harmony. In the middle of difficulty, lies opportunity.” So did some of the sharpest Indians.
Yes! You read it right. Some of the startups or more precisely “Mastermind Entrepreneurs of India”, outshined Covid 19 lockdown. And it is those 5 Startups that we are going to discuss who shone amidst all the hardships, amidst Covid19.
Top 5 Startups That Shone Amidst Covid19 in 2020
The very basic impact of Covid 19 was the lockdown which got imposed by governments worldwide. But this adverse situation became a boon for Ed-tech startups like Unacademy. Unacademy is one of the best tech startups in the education industry. The basic motto behind it is to train students for various professional and educational entrance examinations for which it streams live lectures both paid and free. When schools, colleges, and coaching centers got closed, Unacademy earned billions.
Nearly 1.5 billion students got enrolled on such platforms spending hours on apps & smartphones, out of which Unacademy registered a whooping 1.4 Billion watch minutes. Which once started as a Youtube channel by Gaurav Munjal in 2010 is now a company worth 1.45 Billion USD.
Currently, it has nearly 18000 educators and isn’t limited to teaching lectures online. When we call it a tech startup, it does function like an ambitious business. Acquiring Wifistudy, Codechef, Kreatryx, Prepaddler, K12, and Coursavy in just mid of 2020, it has grown 3X times, hitting 100 Million ARR.
Even various eminent personalities like Pranab Mukherjee, former Indian President, Virat Kohli, Indian cricket team captain; have delivered online lectures. Don’t get surprised but all this happened amidst Covid 19 when you were locked inside your home.
Unacademy paved its way through all the hardships, be it leakage of millions of consumers data on the Dark Web in May 2020 or the competition from competitors, it gave a tough fight, hence Unacademy is the first startup in our list which shone when the world was shutting down.
The Chennai Super Kings official partner this IPL 2020, Trell is the new lifestyle video app, replacing Tiktok in India. After the government banned Tiktok and a lot of controversies associated with it, Tiktok had to leave the Indian market. This was when Trell became the #1 lifestyle vlogging app in India. Launched in August 2017; Trell was founded by a group of geeks – Arun Lodhi, Prashant Sachan, Pulkit Agrawal, and Bimal Kartheek Rebba, alumni of IIT Bombay and NITIE.
This app has currently over 25 Million active users, 75 Million downloads, and has raised a funding of $11.4 million. This App supports 3-minute videos among 20 categories in 8 Indian languages. It was also a part of the second cohort of Surge, Sequoia Capital India’s rapid-scale up program, and has witnessed 500% growth.
An app for recreation which has the potential of making someone a social media influencer, do you think it won’t gain popularity in lockdown when people are either working from home or are chilling? Covid 19 truly helped Trell become a success in 2020.
Incred is a Non-Banking Financial Company (NBFC) in India which was founded by Bhupinder Singh, ex-head of the Corporate Finance division of Deutsche Bank in the year 2016. Later the co-CEO of the same bank, Anshu Jain joined hands with him.
Incred works behind their tagline of “Borrow with Confidence” and helps its consumers with Consumer Loan, Home Loan, Education Loan, and SME Lending. Recently Incred got into the news after Zomato declared its partnership with Incred to extend financial assistance to cash-strapped businesses which in turn would suffice its capital needs and boost the business. Even it’s said that KKR has signed a treaty with Incred, investing around 6000 Crore.
This NBFC startup has always bagged crores of funding and 2020 couldn’t stop it from playing its A-game and has raised around 500 crores in debt financing in the year 2020, the Pandemic year. Incred announces to have over 500,000 customers in 20 plus cities across India and looks at expanding its lending operations across select segments in the consumer, education, and MSME markets.
After the government’s push to the MSME market, it’s most likely that Incred will outshine various other NBFC startups and let its finances soar high, making the competitors borrow from it with CONFIDENCE.
With over 70% revenue rise in FY 2020, 1 Mg surpassed all that people could ever assume and expect out of it. A 2015 startup by Prashant Tandon, Vikas Chauhan, and Gaurav Agarwal, 1 Mg is an online healthcare platform that offers users to buy drugs prescribed by a doctor or look for the perfect healthcare professionals for their needs. It is transparent, cost-effective, and offers real-time services to its consumers at affordable services.
When Amazon and Reliance entered the pharmacy business with Netmeds, Medlife, and Pharmeasy, 1 Mg struggled through its way and raised funds in early 2020 in a debt of $17.8 million from a consortium of investors like MPOF Mauritius, MAF Mauritius, Swiss healthcare, etc.
The journey wasn’t that easy, 2020 wasn’t an apple pie for online pharmacies. Due to Covid 19 lockdown, online delivery had become a threat rather than a boon for people and it appeared like inviting the virus at home. But gradually the delivery system gained back the trust of people and started functioning fluently again with all the safety precautions. With the growing need for medication, doctor consultation or just exploring drugs, everything drove traffic to 1 Mg website and app, and clearly, Covid 19 became a blessing in disguise for this start-up post lockdown uplifted.
Who doesn’t know Grofers? Even if we don’t describe Grofers here, it’s a phenomenal digital marketing and public relations has let the world know who Grofers is. This mega online grocery store or better known as a portmanteau of “grocery grophers” started in December 2013 by two geniuses Saurabh Kumar & Albinder Dhindsa. Today it has delivered groceries to over 1 million households in 22 cities during this lockdown 2020.
Their immense campaigning, warehouse management, supply chain stabilization, and noble partnerships with NGOs garnered a lot of attention and led to 30% growth month on month. The CEO is now aiming at 2.5$ billion business and Grofers is soon going to tie up with private brands to beat the FMCG giants. And in this regard, they have partnered with over 1500 stores. An online delivery system that too amidst lockdown when local kiranawalaas got shut made the market diverge to digital media and enabled Grofers to flourish like anything this lockdown 2020.
What to learn from these “Masterminds”?
Now that you have heard the success stories of these startups cum Masterminds, you very well must have acknowledged that all of them focused on the market demand and customized their services according to it.
Launching a start-up over a digital platform makes it more accessible and far more popular than any normal business because it’s rating increases with total traffic coming to the website or the app. And once your app is delivering what most people want, it will eventually top the charts and save your capital & effort in marketing. So the learning that we can derive from these Masterminds is to “Know your Audience” and “Make every Difficulty an Opportunity”. If you excel in this ideology, you are surely going to be the next Mastermind on this list.