Introduction

2020 was a challenging year for all of us, but the pain was felt more acutely by startups which were founded amidst one of the worst recessions in modern times. As a part of revisiting the year, let’s analyze the startups that have braved all odds and were founded in 2020.

Source-Data: Crunchbase (as on Jan 2nd, 2021), Infographic: Rajan Mithra@VCBay

Start-ups considered for this analysis are Indian unlisted non-government entities founded in 2020. Also included are start-ups which have been acquired but whose identity has largely been intact and subsidiaries of private/public companies. The primary source of data is Crunchbase, and this is by no means an exhaustive list of all the Indian startups that were founded in 2020. Overall, 29 start-ups have been considered for this analysis, and total funding data was available for 20 startups. 

 They’ve been classified (classification is subjective and has been made considering the sector/industry they closely resemble) based on Global Industry Classification Standard (GICS) developed by Morgan Stanley Capital International (MSCI) and Standard & Poor’s. According to GICS, start-ups are classified into 11 sectors namely Energy, Materials, Industrials, Consumer Discretionary, Consumer Staples, Healthcare, Financials, Information Technology, Communication Services, Utilities and Real Estate. Examples of some of the industries present within different sectors: 

  1. Energy: Energy equipment & services and Oil, Gas & Consumable Fuels.
  2. Materials: Chemicals, Construction Materials and Metals & Mining.
  3. Industrials: Capital Goods, Transportation and Commercial & Professional Services.
  4. Consumer Discretionary: Automobiles & Components, Consumer Durables & Apparel and Retailing.
  5. Consumer Staples: Food & Staples Retailing, Food, Beverage & Tobacco and Household & Personal Products.
  6. Health Care: Health Care Equipment & Services and Pharmaceuticals & Biotechnology & Life Sciences.
  7. Financials: Banks, Diversified Financials and Insurance.
  8. Information Technology: Software & Services, Technology Hardware & Equipment and Semiconductors & Semiconductor Equipment.
  9. Communication Services: Telecommunication Services and Media & Entertainment.
  10. Utilities: Electric Utilities, Gas Utilities and Water Utilities.
  11. Real Estate: Equity Real Estate Investment Trusts and Real Estate Management & Development.

Analysis

The startups are spread across 8 Indian cities from Gurgaon, Haryana in the North to Cochin, Kerala in the South. 

Gurgaon: Located in the state of Haryana in northern India, Gurgaon is a city known for its financial and technology hub and is situated 42kms away from the national capital of Delhi. Five of the startups are headquartered in this city. Classified into 3 industries- Communication Services, Financials and Real Estate, the startups have attracted the lion’s share of the funding- 55% or roughly $25.5 million (USD). 

Source-Data: Crunchbase (as on Jan 2nd, 2021), Infographic: Rajan Mithra@VCBay

The top 2 startups in terms of total funding received are also from Gurgaon- MPowered and TrueFan. MPowered which has raised $21 million (USD) till date, assists property owners in converting their real estate liabilities into profit-generating ventures. TrueFan is a celebrity-fan engagement platform which gives users a chance to get a personalized video from their favourite celebrities. 

Delhi: There are two startups headquartered in the national capital- Junio and FanPlay Technologies. Junio ranked fifth in terms of total funding develops smart cards which can be used by parents to transfer pocket money to their children, the card can be used to shop online and at physical stores. FanPlay Technologies is a platform where users are offered a chance to participate in live video-based quizzes hosted by micro-celebrities, to earn cash prizes. 

Mumbai: Located in the western part of India, Mumbai is the financial centre of the nation. Mumbai based startups spread across different industries ranging from Healthcare to Information Technology have raised roughly $1.4 million (USD)

Sawo offers authentication as a service platform aiming to provide a more secure way to authenticate users for apps and websites. Backed by StartupXseed Ventures and 100X.VC, Sawo has raised close to $780K (USD) in 2 rounds, the latest being a seed round. Propreturns is another interesting startup which aims to simplify real estate investing through the use of technology. Propreturn has raised an undisclosed amount in pre-seed funding.

Source-Data: Crunchbase (as on Jan 2nd, 2021), Infographic: Rajan Mithra@VCBay

 Bangalore: Known as the Silicon Valley of India, the city of Bangalore is located in the southern part of India. Bangalore is ranked first, with 41% of all the startups analyzed based in this city. Bangalore based startups have raised nearly $13 million (USD) and are ranked second in terms of the total funds raised. The 12 startups are from varied industries ranging from Consumer Discretionary to Information Technology and Healthcare. Jodo which has raised close to $3.8 million (USD), eases the burden of the lower-middle-class households by offering a way to pay school fees in instalments. Jodo is backed by acclaimed venture capital funds- SAIF Partners and Matrix Partners. 

In the age of online classes, Teachmint offers a set of digital tools to simplify the process of marking attendance, creating content and conducting tests, easing the burden of teachers and enabling the students to learn efficiently. Teachmint has raised $3.5 million (USD) across two rounds from Titan Capital, Lightspeed India Partners and Better Capital. 

Conclusion

Overall startups considered for this analysis have raised close to $46.7 million (USD) with a majority of the funds (USD 21 million) going to Real Estate based startups. Consumer discretionary and Information Technology are ranked second and third in terms of total funding. Most of the startups have had a single round of funding (72%) with Seed round being the most common. These startups are a symbol of resilience in times of distress.

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