From CRED to Meesho, Bengaluru emerges as hub for unicorns in 2021

The combined valuation of the five startups from Bengaluru is over $9.3 billion.
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India’s startup ecosystem seems to be thriving if one looks at the number of startups that have turned unicorns already this year. A total of 10 startups have entered the prestigious $1 billion valuation club as of April, with six of them achieving this status in just the past week. Moreover, Bengaluru has turned out to be a hub, contributing five of these. The list includes companies from fintech, healthtech, insurtech, social commerce sectors, among others.

Here is a look at the 10 unicorns:

Digit Insurance

Digit Insurance is a Bengaluru-based startup founded by Kamesh Goyal. The platform employs services like smartphone-enabled self-inspection, audio claims to simplify the process of buying general insurance.

Digit Insurance was the first Indian startup to enter the unicorn club this year, with a valuation of $1.9 billion. The funding round saw participation from A91 Partners, Faering Capital, and TVS Capital Funds.

The company has so far raised $244.5 million since its inception in 2016 and says it has a customer base of 1.5 crore.


The San Francisco-based company is valued at $1.3 billion after its latest round of funding led by Tiger Global Management. It was founded in 2014 by Sandeep Gupta, Kanav Hasija, and Abhinav Shashank.

OMERS Growth Equity joined as a new investor in the funding round, along with existing investors Steadview Capital, Dragoneer, B Capital Group, Mubadala Capital, and M12 (Microsoft's Venture Fund).

The funding amount is estimated to be nearly $105 million. It had earlier raised $70 million in a Series C round in February this year. The company, which has an office in Noida, has so far raised around $229.1 million, since its inception in 2014.

Five Star Business Finance

Five Star Business Finance is a lender to small businesses and is currently valued at $1.4 billion after raising $234 million. Existing investor Sequoia Capital India, with Northwest Venture Partners and new investors led by KKR, along with TVS Capital participated in this round.

The Chennai-based lender aims to provide financing solutions to more small businesses in India by expanding its lending business with the capital raised. The company is present across eight states in the country with 262 branches.


Bengaluru-based Meesho raised $300 million in a new round of funding led by SoftBank Vision Fund 2. The latest investment pushed Meesho’s valuation to $2.1 billion and saw participation from existing investors — Prosus Ventures, Facebook, Shunwei Capital, Venture Highway and Knollwood Investment.

Meesho says its vision is to enable 100 million small businesses, including individual entrepreneurs, to succeed online in India. These small businesses include individual businesses owned and run by women entrepreneurs, and homepreneurs who have become financially independent through Meesho.


Infra.Market raised $100 million in Series C funding led by Tiger Global, taking its valuation to $1 billion. This round saw participation from existing investors, including Nexus Venture Partners, Accel Partners, Sistema Asia Fund, Evolvence India Fund, and Fundamental Capital GmbH. 

The Mumbai-based B2B commerce company was founded in 2016 by Souvik Sengupta and Aaditya Sharda. Infra.Market is a procurement marketplace that is focussed on the infrastructure sector in the $140 billion construction materials market.


Fintech startup CRED entered the unicorn club with its latest Series D funding of $215 million, taking its valuation to $2.2 billion. Falcon Edge Capital came in as a new investor along with existing investor Coatue Management LLP, while Insight Partners joined the CRED cap table. This came just three months after the company’s Series C round, as part of which it raised $81 million at an $806 million valuation. 

CEO Kunal Shah told employees that this was an opportunity to create value.

The Bengaluru-based startup also offered an ESOP (employee stock option plan) buyback opportunity for a value of $5 million. It had last raised $86 million in January 2020 in a Series C round.


API Holdings, the parent company of Mumbai-based online pharmacy Pharmeasy, recently raised $350 million (around Rs 2,750 crore) in its latest Series E round of funding. The company was estimated to be valued at $1.5 billion post the deal.

New investors viz. Prosus Ventures and US-based private equity firm TPG Growth led this round of funding. Existing investors, including Temasek, LGT Lightrock, Eight Roads, Think Investments and CDPQ, also participated in this round.

The company wants to reach 1,20,000 pharmacies in the next 12 months with the fresh capital infusion and further expand to 2,00,000 pharmacies over the next two years.


Online trading platform Groww raised $83 million in its latest Series D round led by Tiger Global, thereby entering the unicorn club. This round was led by Tiger Global with the participation of existing investors — Sequoia Capital India, Ribbit Capital, YC Continuity and Propel Venture Partners.

The Bengaluru-based startup was founded in 2017 by four former Flipkart executives, and now has over 1.5 crore registered users. Groww enables users to invest in stocks, mutual funds, ETFs, IPOs, and gold in a paperless manner. The platform claims to have opened over 20 lakh new demat accounts.

Groww plans to expand its product suite with the new fundraise, hire talent, and invest in financial education and awareness. In the next two years, the company plans to launch several financial education initiatives aimed at millennials and expand the market for financial services.


Conversational messaging platform Gupshup raised $100 million in funding from Tiger Global, taking the company’s valuation to $1.4 billion. Gupshup, founded by Beerud Sheth, will use this investment to rapidly scale product and go-to-market initiatives worldwide in order to accelerate the transformation of business-to-consumer interactions with conversational experiences delivered over messaging channels.

According to the Silicon Valley headquartered company, its API enables over 100,000 developers and businesses to build messaging and conversational experiences delivering over 6 billion messages per month across 30+ messaging channels. GupShup has offices in Delhi, Mumbai, Chennai and Bengaluru.


Mohalla Tech, the parent company of social media platform ShareChat and short video app Moj, raised $502 million in its latest round. The investment was led by Lightspeed Ventures and Tiger Global, along with participation from Snap Inc, Twitter and India Quotient amongst others. This took the Bengaluru-based company’s valuation to over $2.1 billion.

The fresh funds will be utilised for doubling down on tech initiatives, supporting user growth, and improving platform safety features. Moj and ShareChat together, with a 280 million user community, want to build a cohesive AI-powered content ecosystem.

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