Need inspiration for the New Year? Here's YourStory's top 50 startup stories of 2017

Need inspiration for the New Year? Here's YourStory's top 50 startup stories of 2017

Sunday December 31, 2017,

17 min Read

For sure, December is a month of lists. Lists of things we were meant to do in the past months but did not. Lists of things we plan to do in the New Year and hope the resolve lasts at least until the end of January.

But there are some lists that are sans guilt, and we know you will happily lap this one up. This is the list of our top 50 stories of startups and entrepreneurs that you most loved in 2017.

As you sip in the last few hours of the year, take time to read these stories of passion and grit and be inspired to do great things yourself in the New Year.

HipBar: Reserve your whisky on the cloud, say cheers anywhere 

Prasanna and Prashant

This startup is going after the $35-billion liquor industry in India, and will enable people to use smartphones to buy their favourite spirit bottle on their app, which can be redeemed by a portion in any hotel across the country, writes Vishal Krishna.

Read the full story here

How two 21-year-olds made Rs 20 crore in 2 years selling t-shirts

Sindhuja K and Praween KR , co-founders of Young Trendz

NIFT students Praween KR and Sindhuja K set up Young Trendz to target fashion-conscious 20-somethings; their bootstrapped brand sold 25,000 units on Flipkart in five days during the 2017 festive sale, writes Athira Nair.

Read the full story here.

Meet the husband-wife duo who sold their flat to build their dream business, Samosa Singh

Samosa Singh Founders
The brains behind Samosa Singh - Founders Shikhar Singh and Nidhi Singh.

The couple, who modernised India’s favourite snack, is now set to expand their retail presence in Hyderabad and Pune, and will soon offer a direct-to-consumer frozen range, writes Radhika Nair.

Read the full story here.

From the 'pizza delivery girl' of her office to world's top 50 women in business list – meet Manisha Girotra

Manisha Girotra

Fun fact: The personality behind some of the most big-ticket M&A deals, Manisha Girotra, actually vouches for her middle-class upbringing to have made her one of world's top 50 women in business, writes Binjal Shah.

Read the full story here.

How this TV actress and investment banker couple are bagging a new niche in e-commerce

Founders of TheBagTalk (L to R): Anita Hassanandani with Rohit Reddy

TheBagTalk is a curated marketplace for bags, luggage, handbags, clutches, wallets, and more. In partnership with his wife, television actress Anita Hassanandani, and good friend Tushar Jain, Managing Director, Mumbai-based High Spirit Commercial Ventures, Rohit started, last year, writes Tarush Bhalla.

Read the full story here.

Meet the man behind Bisleri in India, who started up again at 70

Khushroo Suntook

The curious case of Khushroo Suntook... One would think that the maestro's career peaked when he crafted a brand that the best of us have absentmindedly demanded from a shopkeeper when we really just meant to buy bottled water, but the 81-year-old is still effortlessly adding his strokes of genius to India's entrepreneurial canvas, writes Binjal Shah.

Read the full story here.

To help his mother, this rural innovator built a roti maker that makes 180 rotis in an hour

Hailing from a small village in Karnataka, Bommai N has also invented a sustainable coal stove that can cut down up to 80 percent of the pollution produced by traditional cooking methods, writes Amoolya Rajappa.

Read the full story here.

Nitesh keeps his entrepreneurial dream alive even as he battles stage IV cancer

The IIM alumnus newlywed couple, Dimple and Nitesh, have decided to give their startup a break and are now focussing on their immediate goal — ‘Making his life cancer-free', writes Shruti Kedia.

Read the full story here.

Buttalks, an underwear subscription service from Chennai, wants men to 'diversify their portfolio'

The Buttalks team

What happens when a product designer, engineer, and an MBA grad see a gap in the men’s undergarments space? They figure out a solution that aims to help lazy and clueless men make better choices when it comes to innerwear, observes Harshith Mallya.

Read the full story here.

Youngsters moving to Bengaluru for college or job can set up their new homes with Boriya Bistar starter kit

boriya bistar featured
(L-R) Kanak Kundlia, Ashwin Agarwal, Rishav Singh and Shubham Jain.

Moving to a new city, whether for higher education or a new job, is primarily fuelled by dreams of a better life. But youngsters also have to cope with the sadness of leaving behind one’s home and support system. Boriya Bistar is a startup that will help make this transition not just easier but just a click away, writes Sharika Nair.

Read the full story here.

Three IIT Roorkee grads ditch placements, offer coaching assistance for government exams

Alok Katiyar, Sanjay Jagarwal, and Vishal Meena - Founders, MadGuy Labs

MadGuy Labs, as its core offering, provides coaching for various government exams. It has partnered with several coaching institutes and mentors who offer courses online. The exam categories include banking, SSC, railway, state public services, educators, and defence services, writes Neha Jain.

Read the full story here.

23-year-old IIT Delhi alumnus Anu Meena is building a farm to business agritech startup

AgroWave team.

The seven-month-old startup is using technology to bridge farmers and businesses. The young founders have raised an undisclosed amount in a seed round and are clocking sales of more than Rs 50,000 in a day, writes Vallabh Rao.

Read the full story here.

From a model with Rs 10 to the lawyer who fought for Talwars and Lata Mangeshkar: Meet Priyanka Khimani

Priyanka Khimani

The lawyer-founder who lends her name to the firm thus landed on our radar, albeit leaving behind a stream of intrigue in her wake. This was because a little digging revealed that the woman with humble beginnings could just as easily have been a notable writer, model, and theatre personality, but decided to pledge her allegiance to saving the day for the distressed, writes Binjal Shah.

Read the full story here.

Staring at a fan, he invented a simple yet revolutionary product every Indian will need and use: Hemal Saraiya's story

Hemal Saraiya, founder of AirCare Innovations

It was April 2015, when, like the heroes in several films, our protagonist was also staring up at the fan deep in thought – albeit contemplating the gaps that persist in our modernised lives. And just like in the movies, he was struck by a newfound lucidity and could suddenly see a lot more clearly — literally, writes Binjal Shah.

Read the full story here.

This bootstrapped apparel startup has gone from Rs 10K to more than Rs 1cr in 2 years

Darshan Desai and Bharath Hegde (Co-founders of InertiaCart)
Darshan Desai and Bharath Hegde (Co-founders of InertiaCart)

InertiaCart has sold two lakh products so far and notched up more than Rs 1 crore in annual sales. Here's how it did it, writes Aparajita Choudhury

Read the full story here.

4 IIT-Kanpur graduates start Pariksha to help students ace the placement test

Founders of Pariksha

Pariksha is an analytics-driven, gamification modeled, adaptive testing and mastery learning based online exam preparation, practice, and assessment platform, writes Vishal Krishna.

Read the full story here.

This 21-year-old is the No. 1 young entrepreneur in India and will be felicitated by PM

Amit Agarwal

In a small tea estate village named Hope Tea Garden in Jalpaiguri, a little boy was told not to bother dreaming if he planned on continuing to live in that hamlet. Little did they know that he was the boy who once travelled 108 km for school using three modes of transport, who believed in his roots and his own path, and knew that his skill will usher in his destiny, not his surroundings, writes Binjal Shah.

Read the full story here.

Meet Bengaluru's Shahid Haq who aims to give Ferrari a run for its money

Shahid Haq, CEO and Chief Designer, Motormind Automotive Designs

When he was 13, he dreamt of building a small car using a two-wheeler’s engine. He even tried building one at the age of 15 but did not see much success. Since then, the passion for building a car fuelled his efforts on a carefully orchestrated journey towards achieving his dream. Aparajita Choudhury caught up with Shahid at the Make in India - Karnataka conference held in Bengaluru recently, where Motormind was an exhibitor.

Read the full story here.

How this 17-yr-old Indian used his coding skills to help hurricane-affected Puerto Ricans

Ahan Sabharwal

Delhi student Ahan Sabharwal has created a Chrome Extension 'Donate to Puerto Rico' and wants to use his coding skills to make a global impact, writes Dipti Nair.

Read the full story here.

Why investors are betting big on Byju Raveendran

Byju Raveendran

With $140 million investment in its kitty, Byju’s Think & Learn is now the largest funded edtech startup in India. What makes investors so bullish about this startup, and how is its founder Byju Raveendran able to balance the equation to come up with a solution that is win-win for both his business and students? As we'll see, with Byju, everything turns into mathematics, writes Dipti Nair.

Read the full story here.

Meet the woman who put Pearl Academy on the world map in fashion and design education

Nandita Abraham

It’s been a long & worthwhile journey for CEO Nandita Abraham. Apart from multiple initiatives centred on students and operations, she has fronted a collaboration with FDCI and a Fashion Lab in Tihar Jail, writes Binjal Shah.

Read the full story here.

How a Goan startup founder created a hostel chain and then did something unexpected

The Hostel Crowd Team (L-R): Jason Noronha, Joshua Noronha, Laura Anna Pawliczek, Joel Noronha and Raunaq Kapoor.

Jason Noronha’s path to starting up almost entirely follows the hero’s journey template. Jason had a great job, but felt something was missing. So, he went travelling, found his calling, and came back home to start up. But the story doesn’t end there and it even has a twist, writes Radhika Nair.

Read the full story here.

How real estate startup, Square Yards grew to 100+ crores in revenue in 22 months

The Square Yards team

The real estate sector has seen a lot of growth in India in the past few years, with millions of dollars been invested in the online real estate space. While many players have caught the attention of the general public through their products and marketing strategies, cracking the business model and generating steady revenues has been a challenge for many others, writes Harshith Mallya.

Read the full story here.

With zero cash burn and profit from day one, The Souled Store writes a new e-commerce story

L to R: Rohin Samtaney, Aditya Sharma and Vedang Patel.

Three youngsters from Mumbai turn their love for Star Wars into an online marketplace for pop culture merchandise. Next stop? Offline stores in Mumbai, Delhi, and Bangalore, writes Athira Nair.

Read the full story here.

Mumbai-based startup wants fitness-conscious consumers to drink to their health

Yose Drinks founders Brinda Dhruv and Ankit Agrawal.

Yose Drinks takes subscriptions and delivers healthy lemonades and detox drinks to your doorstep. The company has sold 30,000-plus bottles till now and is gearing up to scale the business, writes Mukti Masih.

Read the full story here.

From ‘Baahubali’ to ‘Game of Thrones’, Black White Orange brings your favourites home

BWO team

Brand licensing company Black White Orange (BWO) has tied up with Universal Studios, Paramount Pictures, HBO, and our very own Baahubali, writes Sindhu Kashyap.

Read the full story here.

Lord of the rings, Amit Kumat's Rs 850cr Prataap Snacks of Indore eyes gold in the snack market

Prataap Snacks' Founders (from left) Arvind Mehta, Apoorva Kumat and Amit Kumat.

The business of snacking will be worth Rs 35,000 crore in India by 2020, according to research firm Euromonitor, and Amit Kumat wants at least 10 percent of that market, writes Vishal Krishna.

Read the full story here.

This Pune-based startup offers flight tickets at 50% discount to army jawans and their families

udChalo Team
udChalo Team

Two engineers from the Army Institute of Technology, Pune, Varun Jain and Ravi Kumar, found that about 40,000 seats on domestic flights go vacant every day. In spite of it, more than 5,000 jawans from the Indian armed forces travel in general compartment everyday due to unavailability of seats. Their family members and veterans also face similar problems. With an aim to solve this problem, Varun and Ravi founded udChalo in 2012, a booking portal which provides discounted domestic flight tickets exclusively for the Indian armed forces, ex-servicemen, dependents, and SSB candidates, writes Aparajita Choudhury.

Read the full story here.

The chai-chain from Kolkata that has been profitable since day one, raises Rs 5 crore for expansion

Founders Anirudh Poddar and Aditya Ladsaria

Having raised Rs 5 crore in funding last week, the founder team reveals its secret sauce for creating a chain of cafes that has been profit after tax (PAT) positive since inception, writes Binjal Shah.

Read the full story here.

This startup by IIT Roorkee alumni is helping the next 500 million Indians consume content online

Team @

Four friends from IIT Roorkee -- Sourabh Gupta, Manoj Sarda, Akshay Deshraj, and Prateek Gupta -- felt that with the growing mobile internet penetration, it was important to build something that helped the next 500 million Indians come online. And just as pressing was the need to improve their online content experience, writes Sindhu Kashyap.

Read the full story here.

The startup that raised one of the largest first rounds of funding in India — Flexiloans

(L to R) Manish Lunia, Abhishek Kothari, Ritesh Jain, Deepak Jain, the founding team of

This digital lending platform, started by four ISB-alums including the ex-CFO of, disburses loans to SMEs within 48 hours, and claims to have processed over 12,000 applications so far across 90 tier-1 to tier-3 cities, writes Binjal Shah.

Read the full story here.

This 24-year-old has singlehandedly built an organic foods brand out of farm produce from interior Madhya Pradesh

Niharika The Little Farm featured
Niharika Bhargava

With a sales figure of 7 lakh rupees last month, corresponding to 70 units sold daily, Niharika’s brand - The Little Farm - is anything but little, writes Sharika Nair.

Read the full story here.

With CureFit, Mukesh Bansal wants to jumpstart a fitness movement in India

Image Credit: Cult Fitness, Bengaluru

Mukesh Bansal and Ankit Nagori’s CureFit combines engagement, coaching, and delivery through a mix of online and offline channels. With 5 acquisitions and 2 rounds of funding, the firm aims to be a $100m revenue company in less than two years, writes Sindhu Kashyap.

Read the full story here.

How Zoomcar braved a near-shutdown before it became India’s car rental poster-boy

Greg Moran, at the recent launch of EV with Mahindra & Mahindra

Zoomcar has been in operations for five years. The Bengaluru-based car rental platform has a fleet of nearly 3000 cars spread over 26 cities and has raised over $45 million in funding, writes Sindhu Kashyap.

Read the full story here.

How a CA dropout created a knowledge-sharing network for finance professionals at the age of 17

Vivek Jain, Founder at CAclubindia

CAclubindia, an interactive online platform, leverages the power of community to provide its over 1.9 million members with networking and e-learning options, writes Neha Jain.

Read the full story here.

He failed twice, so he started a hostel for non-funded founders, artists, and everyone in between

Shashank Mishra, co-founder, 99Inn

One chance conversation, two pivots during his education, and two failed startups later, Shashank Mishra landed in front of the building that would become his destiny. With so much in his life riding on serendipity, he thought to himself that maybe he could become a happy coincidence in the journeys of others like him struggling to find their paths, writes Binjal Shah.

Read the full story here.

He quit a well-paying job to follow his passion and built a Rs 30cr business — Meet Dharma Teja

Dharma Teja founder of 9Star Suzuki, quit a highly paid Corporate Job to build a bike dealership.

This former Director of Collections at Oracle gave up a corporate career to build an automobile dealership, tasting success at 42, writes Vishal Krishna.

Read the full story here.

How accidental entrepreneur Nagasamy Dhanabalan went from being a receptionist to owning a global biriyani chain

Nagasamy Dhanabalan

Dindigul Thalappakatti Biriyani, which started with just one outlet in a small town in 1957, has gone places—and how! The Rs 200-crore biriyani brand now has 40 branches across the world and is cooking up other plans of expansion, writes Dola Samanta.

Read the full story here.

Running can be empowering, says marathon man Milind Soman

Milind Soman

Milind’s repertoire of startups today includes United Sisters Foundation (which runs the Pinkathon), Maximus Events, Phase Entertainment (a TV production company), Deivee, spa development company Goddess, and talent management agency Speaking Minds, writes Sindhu Kashyap.

Read the full story here.

How this government employee went on to build a Rs 556cr company

Dhirender Singh

Having started in UP with an outsourced manufacturing unit, Manpasand Beverages is today listed on the Indian stock exchange and has logged revenues of Rs 556 crore, writes Sindhu Kashyap.

Read the full story here.

T-shirt man Abhishek Parihar spins a tale of success with SagarFab

Abhishek Parihar (wearing a black T-Shirt), CEO and Founder of SagrFab International with his father.

The Rs 40-crore Bengaluru-based manufacturing business supplies T-shirts to corporates and traders, besides selling thousands of units every month online, and hopes to capture a small pie of the Rs 3,00,000 crore apparel industry, writes Vishal Krishna.

Read the full story here.

This NBFC startup has built a loan book worth Rs 100cr in just 2 months

Bhupinder Singh, Founder & CEO, InCred.

InCred aims to have a Rs 1,500-crore loan book, a team of 600 people and an average loan size of Rs 10 lakh by March 2018. Is it being too ambitious, asks Tarush Bhalla.

Read the full story here.

This NIFT graduate is giving a twist to Indian handicraft by involving local artisans

Niharika Chaudary

Launched in 2015, Peeli Dori connects rural and local communities to the urban mass market with its Indo-chic lifestyle products, writes Neha Jain.

Read the full story here.

Delhi-based Poshtick makes binge-eating healthy

Poshtick founders Kritik and Pranav Sharma

Say goodbye to pakodas and chips. This startup gives you healthy snacks in a box, writes Athira Nair.

Read the full story here.

Made-in-Chennai tiffin box becomes a hit in the US, thanks to Vaya Life

Vashist Vasanthakumar, founder of Vaya Life

Vaya Life wants to rejuvenate mundane home products like the lunch box with great design and cultural aesthetics, writes Vishal Krishna.

Read the full story here.

With 14 failures behind them, these IIT-Kanpur graduates hope to hit the sweet spot with ShareChat

The founders and investors of the local language social networking app, ShareChat, are betting big on the Indian language internet users which are reported to account for nearly 75 percent of India’s internet user base by 2021. Will their gamble pay off, asks Dipti Nair.

Read the full story here.

Refabd makes settling in a new city cheaper, sells used products at 50-70% discount on MRP

Refabd Team
Refabd Team

This Bengaluru-based startup sells used appliances and furniture with free delivery and six-month warranty. It follows an inventory-based model and owns all the products before selling, which, according to its founders, gives a better margin, writes Aparajita Choudhury.

Read the full story here.

He was called ‘Bin Laden,’ and he responded by creating a brand Punjabis swear by

Kiranjeet Kaur and Harinder Singh

When the words 'Bin Laden' were thoughtlessly shot at Harinder Singh by some Italian students, what pierced him was not the intended offense, but the offender's ignorance. And he chose to respond not with the fury of a thousand suns, but with the flamboyance of a thousand trinkets that embodied, in the most hip and demiurgic manner possible, what Punjabiyat and Sikhiyat stood for, writes Binjal Shah.

Read the full story here.

The MBA grad, who worked at a burger outlet in the UK, now runs several Burger Singh stores across India

Team @ Burger Singh

Started in 2014, Burger Singh clocked revenue of Rs 6.5 crore in FY 2016-17. The ‘Subway of Burgers’ is targeting Rs 16 crore revenue this year, writes Sindhu Kashyap.

Read the full story here.

Three founders and their bid to beat India’s profitable unicorn Mu Sigma at its own game

Tredence Co-founders (L to R): Shub Bhowmick, Shashank Dubey & Sumit Mehra

With revenues of $3.6 million upwards and a 150-member team, Tredence founders are feasting on MuSigma's pie through innovating strategies, writes Tarush Bhalla.

Read the full story here.

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