The coronavirus pandemic, which took the world by storm in the month of March 2020 and onwards, had a definitive impact on the overall functioning of the global economy. There was a dire need for operations to be taken online, with minimal contact and as much efficiency as was assured with offline economical transactions.
As a result, companies were forced to adapt quickly to the sudden change in demands by the world population. There were businesses and corporates that rose beautifully to cater to the needs generated by the pandemic, whilst many faced a major setback in their functioning; some companies even having to shut down owing to their inability to generate revenue based on usage.
The economic shock that was caused by the pandemic required quick adaptation to the needs generated by the majority of the global population. There were significant reductions in demands of certain products and services, while there emerged an urgent requirement to allow for a smoother lifestyle post-lockdown initiation.
The list that we have compiled for you today is one that discusses the companies and corporates that introduced solutions to the problems caused by the pandemic in new and novel ways, making them economical survivors and thrivers with their innovation and adaptation. These are the 10 latest companies that have joined the Unicorn Start-Up Club, as of 2021.
Before we begin, let’s give you an idea of what the Unicorn Start-Up Club is. In the finance industry, the term “unicorn” is attributed to privately-owned start-ups that have a valuation of more than 1 billion USD. This club of 1B USD plus generating start-ups that are privately owned, is referred to as the Unicorn Club.
If you look closely, there are numerous unicorns around you that have quietly woven their way into your lifestyle, making it difficult to allow smooth functioning in their absence. For instance, the FinTech industry has seen a surge owing to the need for easy, contactless, quick and reliable payment modes. An example of such a unicorn is PayTM, and another is Razorpay.
The reason that unicorns are hugely successful is that they have introduced solutions to problems rampant in the current world functioning (as the FinTech industry did when the need for contactless payment options arose). The solutions that have been generated by these start-ups have contributed to making the lives of consumers, customers and clients easier and provided real value in terms of the benefits gained from employing their solution.
The 10 Latest Companies to Join the Unicorn Start-Ups Club (as of April 2021) are:
1. Digit Insurance (Sector – Insurance-Tech)
This was the first Indian start-up to enter the Unicorn Club in 2021 with a valuation from existing investors of 1.9 billion dollars. This achievement was made after 3 years of operations and a profit earned during the turbulent financial year of 2020-2021. Digit entered the club with its created provision of fixed benefits for policyholders who have contracted COVID-19. Another successful launch was its illness insurance that covered more than 2 million Indians.
2. InnovAccer (Sector – Health-Tech)
InnovAccer’s success and entry into the Unicorn Club of 2021 with a value of 1.3 billion dollars can be attributed to the increased need for analysed data generated by the healthcare sector. The company provides solutions that are sustainable and actionable to hospitals, insurance companies, organizations and any business that require the same and more in the face of the coronavirus pandemic.
3. Five Star Business Finance (Sector – Non-Banking Financial Companies)
Valued at 1.4 billion dollars, the company owes its profits to the creation of a small-business lending space that provides collateralized loans that are based on assessments of the borrower’s business and cash flow of the household.
4. Meesho (Sector – Social Commerce)
Valued at 2.1 billion dollars, Meesho has created an online sales platform where micro, small and medium businesses in India sell to interested internet users. The idea is to take e-commerce to smaller towns and cities in India that are beyond the metropolitan grasp of larger online retailers.
5. Infra.Market (Sector – B2B E-Commerce)
This company is a B2B start-up that caters to the construction and infrastructure sector and joined the unicorn club with an estimated value of 100-million dollars.
6. CRED (Sector – Fin-Tech)
In a 2.2 billion fundraising round that allowed it to enter the unicorn club, CRED works in tandem with financial institutions and consumer brands to allow regular credit card bill-paying customers to gain rewards for paying on time.
7. Pharmeasy (Sector – Health-Tech)
With 350 million dollars in investments, this company works with pharmacies and digitizes them by creating connections between them and an efficient supply and demand chain.
8. Groww (Sector – Fin-Tech)
Groww is an investment company that allows Indians to place investments in stocks, mutual funds, exchange-traded funds (ETFs), initial public offer (IPOs) and gold, free of charge via their website, Android and iOS applications. The company joined the unicorn club with 83 million dollars successfully raised.
9. GupShup (Sector – Messaging)
With a value of 1.4 billion dollars, GupShup is a messaging platform that allows businesses, customers and clients to interact easily amongst themselves and with each other using digital mediums such as SMS and WhatsApp. The company owes the majority of its revenue generation to a per-message basis from enterprises.
10. Sharechat (Sector – Social Commerce)
According to investors, the company reached a post-money valuation of 2.1 billion dollars, making it a unicorn. There are claims of the usage of this service being more than 160 million units.
An understanding of the above companies would reveal that their services and products catered greatly to the changed requirements of the economy in the face of the global pandemic. From digitalized delivery of medication to easier, safer modes of communication, to investment applications designed to maximize the financial benefits of the user, to introducing platforms where local sellers can engage with interested buyers – all of the above companies created a solution that benefited the affected population by a great deal and hence earned their way into the Unicorn Club.