[Year in Review 2019] Weekly wrap: here's a look at some of the top stories this year

As we close 2019, here’s a look at the top stories of startups and entrepreneurs that our readers loved, shared, and enjoyed

28th Dec 2019
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The Indian startup ecosystem has been growing at a pace like never before. For the last 11 years, we at YourStory have been covering startups across the length and breadth of India. We have been bringing to you stories of innovations, challenges, growth, and much more. 


In the past decade, YourStory also spread its wings and launched several new series, properties, and reached some very important milestones. All this wouldn’t be possible without you – our very important and loving readers.


As we close 2019, here’s a look at some of the top stories that resonated with our readers this year. 

Watch our video on the top stories this year:


Chandigarh-based mechanical engineer Chirag Bansal has always been a travel enthusiast. When he visited the quiet village of Chitkul in Himachal Pradesh, he was convinced that he should turn this passion for travel into a profession, and he got along with his sister Nidhi and started LivingStone Stays in 2018. 


LivingStone Stays

Chirag and Nidhi Bansal, Founders of LivingStone Stays

What started as a mere passion project, is now a full-fledged experiential-living business. LivingStone Stays collaborates with property owners and market them in platforms such as MakeMyTrip, Booking.com and Agoda. Within a year of starting up, the brother-sister duo has managed to bring 13 properties under its umbrella. 

 

Startups are disrupting every space today, and petrol pumps are not far behind. Pune-based Repos Energy is a petrol pump on wheels, which is backed by industrialist and investor Ratan Tata. 


Repos Energy

Aditi Bhosale Walunj and Chetan Walunj with Ratan Tata

Founded by husband-wife duo Aditi Bhosale Walunj and Chetan Walunj, the startup’s mobile petrol pumps enable doorstep delivery of diesel. In India, this revolution was brought about by the Ministry of Petroleum and Natural Gas in 2017, after it announced the commencement of home delivery of diesel and petrol. According to the startup, its revenue grew from Rs 70,000 to Rs 2 crore turnover in just two years. 


What do you usually do when you read an online ad or a WhatsApp message that says: “Make $100 an hour with a social media campaign?” Ignore it, right? 


But through one of these ads, 27-year old Saurabh Bhatnagar earned $200 in a single night, and that led him to rethink his business idea. His business, Uprist Service Portal, which initially started as an event management and loyalty programme platform,, is now an online marketing service provider and training services platform for early-stage investors and  businesses. Today, the team claims to be making over $1 million every year, and is looking to launch its software platform coming January. 


AstroTalk founder

AstroTalk founder Puneet Gupta

They say, for any business to be successful, it needs a bit of both luck and hard work. Delhi-based AstroTalk, started by Puneet Gupta, is one of those, which is making Rs 5 lakh business per day. 


Puneet founded AstroTalk in October 2017 after going through an emotional rollercoaster ride, when the co-founder of his first startup suddenly quit. 


Today, bootstrapped AstroTalk has more than 350 astrologers on its platform, some of whom are even earning in lakhs per month, thanks to a high inbound demand. Read this story and be inspired.


Making money is hard but managing it should not be. This is the story of 23-year old entrepreneur Smriti Tomar, who started fintech startup InvestoAsia to redefine personal finance. The Gurugram and Hong Kong-based startup uses artificial intelligence, machine learning, and blockchain to eradicate inequality among the unbanked, unaware, and financially illiterate. 


It aims to help retail investors easily invest in international markets, especially in China and South Korea. InvestoAsia’s innovation thus offers saving, investing, lending, borrowing, and spending, all under one umbrella. Read her story here.


Logistics startup Rivigo has changed the way trucks ply across India with its relay model. No wonder then that the Gurugram-based unicorn boasts of 3,000 customers at present across 20 sectors, including automotive, publishing, apparel, and grocery.


Rivigo

Deepak Garg, Founder and CEO, Rivigo

It all started with a road trip and an eventful coffee meet. When co-founders Gazal Kalra and Deepak Garg sat down to discuss their billion-dollar idea, an important observation emerged: that of the plight of truck drivers in India. As it turns out, this group is often marginalised and looked at as outcasts, a pain point that Rivigo is devoted in solving. 


While the Indian startup ecosystem might rank third globally, starting up is no cake-walk here. There are several registration and labour laws that startups have to comply with, every month. The process is not just tedious but also expensive. 


Business Setup

Business Setup founders (L-R) Ritesh Jain, Parinit Thated, Khushboo Bhattad, and Rohit Lohade

To make sure entrepreneurs focus on innovation, while ensuring 100 percent compliance, Pune-based Business Setup has become the personal CFO of entrepreneurs. The company was founded by Rehan Netarwala and Mihir Lunia with an investment of Rs 44,000, and is now seeing revenues of Rs 5 crore. 


With an in-house team of experienced professionals, Business Setup helps entrepreneurs start, run and grow their businesses. 


What can you do with Rs 5,000? One might go on a shopping spree or plan a budget vacation over the weekend. But for childhood friends Rehan Netarwala and Mihir Lunia, this was all they needed to bootstrap their entrepreneurial dreams.


In 2017, right before heading back to college, the duo decided to begin the groundwork for their tech-based accounting consultancy Savage & Palmer. Two years since it began its operations, the startup is now a team of over 150 people, serving more than 250 clients across more than 25 sectors.


Close to half of India’s population is dependent on agriculture for its livelihood, and that allows enough scope for technology to not just make farmers’ lives easier, but also increase the yield and output. IITians Shashank Kumar and Manish Kumar are doing just that.


DeHaat

The DeHaat team with VezaMart team

Their Patna-based startup, DeHaat, is an online platform connecting small farmers with a network of micro-entrepreneurs. Besides helping procure seeds, fertilisers, and equipments, these micro-entrepreneurs also offer crop advisory and market linkages to these farmers.  


Today, DeHaat claims to have over 150 micro-entrepreneurs, serving 55,000 farmers in Bihar, Uttar Pradesh, and Odisha. 


At the end of a hectic day, whether you live on your own or are a busy parent, finding the time and energy to prepare home-cooked meals can seem like a daunting task. 


Even for Prerna Kalra, due to her busy schedule, carrying home-cooked meals to work every day was nothing short of a challenge. But she stumbled upon a solution to this problem during one of her work visits to China. There, she came across vending machines that dispensed almost every kind of fresh food item - from fruits to momos and more.


Prerna Kalra, Co-founder, Daalchini

Prerna Kalra

Inspired by this, Prerna started Daalchini along with Vidya B, her colleague from Paytm, in August 2017.  Starting with two smart vending machines back in April 2018, Daalchini now has set up over 140 machines in across Delhi-NCR to provide healthy and affordable home-food instantly. 


These were the top stories of this year. And as we step into the new decade, YourStory promises to bring to you stories of innovation and empowerment from across the country and beyond. 


(Edited by Megha Reddy)




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