India has a history of leaving its mark through innovative new startup concepts and rapidly expanding unicorns. Many startups have generated a multibillion dollar sector and drawn significant international investment. Additionally, several successful Indian startups have gone global.
Indian Government’s Startup India Initiative
The Indian government has launched an initiative called Startup India. During a speech on August 15, 2015, Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi made the initial announcement of the campaign.
This initiative’s action plan focuses on three areas:
Facilitation and Simplification.
Funding assistance and rewards.
Partnerships and incubation between industry and academia.
The elimination of the state government’s restrictive regulations in this sector, such as License Raj, Land Permits, Foreign Investment Proposals, and Environmental Clearances, is another area connected to this project. The Department of Promotion of Industry and Internal Trade organised it (DPI&IT).
A startup is defined as a business with its headquarters in India, that was founded less than ten years ago, and that makes less than Rs 100 crores ($14 million) in yearly revenue. The government has already started two programmes under this initiative: the MUDRA Bank programme (Pradhan Mantri Mudra Yojana), which aims to offer microcredit to business owners from low socioeconomic backgrounds at low interest rates, and the I-MADE programme, which will assist Indian entrepreneurs in starting 10 lakh (1 million) mobile app start-ups. For this scheme, an initial capital budget of Rs 20,000 crores (about Rs 230 billion or US$3.2 billion in 2019) has been set aside.
In 2023, the top 5 most profitable Indian startups to watch
1. Zoho Corp.
●Head Office: Chennai
●Founded Year: 1996
●Founders: Sridhar Vembu, Tony Thomas
●Total Funding: $0
An international technology company established in India called Zoho Corporation creates web-based business tools. The company’s online office suite, Zoho Office Suite, is its most well-known product. Tony Thomas and Sridhar Vembu launched the business, which has seven locations, in 1996. Its corporate offices are located outside of Austin in Del Valle, Texas, while its worldwide headquarters are in Chennai, Tamil Nadu, India. Radha Vembu, Shridhar Vembu’s sister, is the company’s largest shareholder.
Total Profit in FY22: Rs 1962 Crore
●Head Office: Bengaluru
●Founded Year: 2010
●Founders: Nithin Kamath, Nikhil Kamath
●Total Funding: $0
In order to make stock investment simple and painless, India’s largest stockbroking platform was introduced in 2010.
Without ever soliciting outside funding or advertising their goods, Zerodha has successfully changed the whole stock trading sector on their own. For each intraday trade, Zerodha now costs its clients merely Rs 20 (or 0.03% in commission, whichever is smaller).
Zerodha ranked second among the most profitable startups in India, according to reports.
Total Profit in FY22: Rs 1841 Crore
3. Mu Sigma
●Head Office: Bangalore
●Founded Year: 2004
●Founders: Dhiraj Rajaram
●Total Funding: $211.4 Million
Indian decision sciences firm Mu Sigma specialises in offering data analytics services. The statistical terms “Mu ()” and “Sigma (),” which stand for the mean and standard deviation of a probability distribution, respectively, are the source of the company’s name. Mu Sigma has a main office in Chicago, Illinois, and a global delivery hub there as well.
Dhiraj Rajaram, a former strategy consultant at PricewaterhouseCoopers and Booz Allen Hamilton, created Mu Sigma in 2004. In 2008, FTVentures invested $30 million in Mu Sigma as part of its first institutional investment round (now FTV Capital). Sequoia Capital gave the business an additional $25 million in April 2011. The business disclosed a $108 million fundraising round from Sequoia and growth investor General Atlantic in December 2011.
Mu Sigma passed the $1 billion (Rs. 5,400 crores) milestone in February 2013 thanks to a $45 million investment from MasterCard.
Pat Ryan, the founder of Aon Corp, sued the company in the beginning of 2016, claiming that Mu Sigma had minimised its growth prospects in order to repurchase Ryan’s stock in the business.
Rajaram took over as CEO in October 2016 when Ambiga Subramanian, who had been the CEO at the time, and Rajaram divorced.
Reports place Mu Sigma third among the most profitable startups in India.
Total Profit in FY22: Rs 463 Crore
●Head Office: Mumbai
●Founded Year: 2006
●Founders: Bhavin Pandya, Trivikraman Thampy
●Total Funding: $75Million
Bhavin Pandya and Trivikraman Thampy, two economists with degrees from New York University, founded the online gaming company Games24x7 in 2006. It is based in India and offers both skill games (RummyCircle and My11Circle) and casual games (Ultimate Games). The business specialises in utilising behavioural science, technology, and artificial intelligence to offer exceptional gaming experiences across all of its platforms, and is backed by illustrious investors like Tiger Global and The Raine Group.
RummyCircle, the top online rummy platform in India, and My11Circle, one of the top fantasy sports platforms there, are both run by Games24x7. In order to create new games for the international market, the business also established the casual games studio Ultimate Games.
The crew at Games24x7 is multicultural, talented, and enthusiastic, and they have offices in Mumbai, Bangalore, Kiev, Philadelphia, and Miami.
Games24x7 was listed as the fourth most profitable startup in India, according to reports.
Total Profit in FY22: Rs 409 Crore
●Head Office: Noida
●Founded Year: 1995
●Founders: Sanjeev Bikhchandani
●Total Funding: $51Million
When Info Edge was first established in 1995, its website first posted copies of classified ads from newspapers. Then, in 1998, Jeevansathi.com, in 2005, 99acres.com, and in 2008, Shiksha.com were all released.  In 2006, Info Edge listed on the stock market as “Naukri.” In 2018, the Naukri.com job platform generated more than 70% of the business’s income.
Info Edge reportedly invested in Policybazaar in 2008 before the launch of its website. Info Edge was one of the early investors in Zomato (then known as FoodieBay).
The business launched the Info Edge Venture Fund in 2020 to invest in online entrepreneurs.
Based in Noida, Uttar Pradesh, Info Edge (India) Limited is a pure-play internet business in India. In 1995, Sanjeev Bikhchandani started it. The business runs the websites Shiksha.com for education, 99Acres.com for real estate ads, Naukri.com for jobs, Jeevansathi.com for matrimony services, and 99Acres.com for jobs. It also has small investments in 23 other online businesses as of September 2020, including two previous unicorns, the food delivery service Zomato (15.23 percent as of July 2021), and the insurance aggregator Policybazaar (13.33 percent as of November 2021).
Infoedge was listed as the fifth-most profitable startup in India, according to reports.
Total Profit in FY22: Rs 350 Crore
India is one of Asia’s cultural and population centres, and given its size, it is not surprising that the nation produces many successful companies. Indian entrepreneurs profit from a fast expanding and evolving environment that provides access to a sizable pool of homegrown talent. The fact that VC funding in India climbed from $20.5 billion in 2018 to $24.1 billion in 2022 is evidence of this.
The ecosystem is predicted to develop by between 12% and 15% annually, which emphasises the growth of the ecosystem. Also, the nation is home to more than 100 unicorns, highlighting the untapped potential for India to become one of the biggest startup powerhouses.
With the launch of the Startup India Initiative in 2015, the Indian government is actively supporting with the growth of the startup ecosystem in the nation. The goal of this initiative is to make it easier for enterprises to operate under the law, increase access to early-stage finance, and foster stronger collaborations between business and academia to develop talent.