India’s new unicorns raise more than $400 million during the pandemic- The New Indian Express

Express News Service

NEW DELHI: India added seven companies to its unicorn club this year taking the total number of billion-dollar start-ups in the country to 32 now. During the pandemic alone, five start-ups raised over $400 million at a valuation of over $1 billion, marking their entry in the elite unicorn club. These start-ups have been able to attract  both home-grown and overseas investors at a time when a majority of their peers have been challenged by cash-flow concerns. 

Indian start-ups that have entered the unicorn club during the pandemic are Firstcry, Postman, Zerodha, Unacademy, and now, Razorpay. For the whole year, the total funding raised by the seven new unicorns stands at over $700 million.

On Monday, Razorpay, a Bengaluru based fintech firm, said that it has raised $100 million in a Series D funding round led by Singapore’s sovereign wealth fund GIC and Sequoia capital. Existing investors Tiger Global, Y-Combinator, and Matrix Partners also participated in the round, said the company which has been valued at $1 billion in a statement. According to its CEO Shashank Kumar, Razorpay’s ability to help businesses, individuals transact digitally through multiple payment  channels has seen positive outcomes due to digital transformation witnessed in the pandemic.

“With Covid-19 causing a potential paradigm shift in the way commerce happens in the country, we are seeing multiple new demographics of businesses looking to move online and start leveraging internet and mobile technology,” Kumar said.  

Last month, edtech firm Unacademy was able to convince Japan’s leading tech investor Softbank to lead its $150 million Series F funding round which valued it at $1.45 billion. The Gaurav Munjal-led companys has onboarded millions of learners and professionals on the platform during the pandemic which has led to an edtech boom.

In August, stock brokerage firm Zerodha, a bootstrapped start-up valued itself at $1 billion after CEO Nitin Kamath announced a share buyback  from its employees even as he downplayed the criticism around the self valuation. In 2019, the company had set up a `200 crore ( $28 million) ESOP for its employees. Prior to that software service start-up Postman had announced a $150 million fundraise at a $2 billion valuation, making it the fourth SaaS startup to enter the club.

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