Flashback 2020: Top Startup Bharat stories of the year

As we bid adieu to 2020, YourStory brings to you stories of perseverance from Bharat, and how its startups adapted to the changing times in an unprecedented year.
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YourStory launched the Startup Bharat series back in 2019 in an attempt to shine the spotlight on startups originating from beyond the metros. Startups might be synonymous with Bengaluru, Delhi, Mumbai, Chennai and Hyderabad, but Tier II and III cities and towns of India are not far behind. 

Entrepreneurs from  small towns and cities have upped their game, and have been innovating as well as their metro-counterparts, if not better.

As we bid adieu to 2020, and complete two years of YourStory’s Startup Bharat, we bring to you stories of perseverance, of adapting to changing times, and persisting through what was termed as an ‘unprecedented’ year. 

Image courtesy: YS Design

Diving deep into Bharat 

Edtech players in Tier II and III India tap into e-learning surge

COVID-19 affected all 218 countries across the globe. Nations went into complete lockdown to curb the spread of the deadly virus. This coronavirus-led lockdown also forced students to put down their textbooks and turn to their digital screens. The edtech sector recorded solid growth this year. While BYJU'S hoisted its flag higher than before, Unacademy entered the unicorn club. 2020 saw the surge of edtech like never before, and every potential entrepreneur bet on the space. 

In fact, the Tier II and III city startups did not shy away either. Edtech players in Bharat followed suit, and tapped into this opportunity to thrive and grow, so 2020 was equally bright and sunny for edtech players in the non-metro cities. 

Uttarakhand rising to make a mark in the Indian startup ecosystem

Besides being an education hub, Uttarakhand is home to around 66 startups in agritech, healthtech and edtech sectors. YourStory took a closer look at the Uttarakhand startup ecosystem to analyse and understand what led to the spurge of startups in the state. 

As tea supply falls due to COVID-19, here’s how the sector is looking to survive 

The harvesting of the first flush of tea coincided with the nationwide lockdown due to COVID-19. This, in turn, resulted in big loss of crop across tea gardens of Northeast India. The country’s overall tea production came down to 39.02 million kg in April this year, as opposed to 84.49 million kg last year, same time. YourStory explored how the tea industry went back to normal as business started opening up. 

Weak internet infrastructure slowing the growth of J&K startup ecosystem 

Political disputes and terrorist activities have dealt a severe blow to the Jammu and Kashmir startup ecosystem. Following the amendment revoking the status of J&K as a state, interest was suspended in the region for about 200 days. Entrepreneurs from across the region discuss the challenges they faced due to the weak internet infrastructure. 

Blooming startups

Jaipur-based NamasteSir 

Founded by 21-year old Nitin Jindal and Keshav Gautam, Jaipur-based NamasteSir was started in October last year to provide services at home. The startup makes trained professionals available to cater to the various needs of a household -- from party decorations to appliance repairs. The startup acquired 750 customers with zero marketing spend. 

Goa-based Latambarcem Brewers 

Founded by brothers Aditya Ishan Varshnei and Anish Varshnei, Latambarcem Brewers has two brands under its umbrella -- Maka di, its beer brand; and kombucha brand Borécha. The startup has the capacity to produce up to 10,000 cases of beer a month, making it the largest commercial craft beer producer in the country. Within the first year of its launch, Latambarcem Brewers is on track to see over 2,000 percent growth in its revenue. 

Kochi-based Stardom Accessories 

Neeta Vijay Kumar, 24, founded her company Stardom Accessories in 2018 to promote and sell handcrafted jewellery, procured directly from the craftsmen in Jaipur and Delhi. With products starting from Rs 300, Stardom Accessories has so far fulfilled more than 500 orders, selling up to 20 pieces of jewellery every month. Going forward, Neeta further plans to expand the umbrella of products and the sources. 

Indore-based STAGE 

Viral Facebook page WittyFeed started in 2014, and garnered 420 million page views and 2.5 billion ad impressions over the next two-years. In 2018, the page was wiped-out overnight. The founders decided to continue working in content but with a different approach.

In 2019, Vinay Singhal, Praveen Singhal and Shashank Vaishnav reimagined the future of content in Bharat and founded an hyperlocal artist-led and dialect-based OTT (Over The Top) platform STAGE. 

The startup is backed by the likes of Ritesh Malik and Anand Chandrasekaran, and is now planning to roll-out a pan-India OTT platform. 

Indore-based Gramophone 

Agritech startup Gramophone was founded by Tauseef Khan and Nishant Vats Mahatre in 2016. The Indore-based startup has built a platform that allows farmers to get personalised agricultural advice. Mapping over 2.5 acres of land, the platform provides crop advisory, agronomy advice, dynamic weather, price updates and more through its mobile application. 

Ranchi-based Puresh Daily 

IIM graduate Manish Piyush, after treading the globe, returned to his home state to solve the basic problem of providing access to chemical-free milk. Along with his childhood friend, Aditya Kumar, Manish founded milk-subscription startup Puresh Daily Foods in 2019. The startup provides access to organic cow milk and chemical-free dairy products. 

Jaipur-based VideoMeet 

In an attempt to build a desi alternative to video-conferencing platform Zoom, Jaipur-based Data Ingenious Global built VideoMeet. Within three months of its launch, the app crossed 50,000 downloads on Google Play Store. The application allows users to create meeting rooms with unique IDs, and enables them to log in and out of these rooms, without having to create new IDs everytime. 

Bhubaneswar-based Mo BBSR 

Hyperlocal delivery startup Mo BBSR’s idea is inspired by Dunzo. Founders Archisman Acharya and Manoj Kumar launched the company in June 2020 to bring hyperlocal delivery services in the smaller towns and cities. The platform services round the clock, and claims to deliver goods within just 45 minutes of placing an order. 

Edited by Anju Narayanan

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