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India's e-commerce trailblazers: From disruptors to unicorns

With rapid growth in the e-commerce industry, here are 5 startups that changed the way India shops and sells online!

India's e-commerce trailblazers: From disruptors to unicorns

Monday November 20, 2023 , 4 min Read

In the dynamic landscape of India's ever-evolving digital marketplace, the winds of change have swept through the traditional corridors of brick-and-mortar stores, ushering in a new era of e-commerce dominance.

The shift to online shopping has not only become a preference but a transformative force, giving rise to pioneering startups that have redefined the very essence of buying and selling.

In this article, we delve into the narratives of five disruptive e-commerce ventures that have etched their names into the annals of India's commercial revolution. From lightning-fast grocery deliveries to billion-dollar acquisitions, these startups showcase the innovation and resilience fueling the heart of India's bustling e-commerce scene.

Transformational e-commerce startups in India

Ecommerce

Zepto

Founded in 2021 by two 19-year-old Stanford University dropouts Aadit Palicha and Kaivalya Vohra, Zepto is an e-commerce platform that offers to deliver groceries in 10 minutes. Being a new concept for the Indian audience, this fast-delivery service gained popularity and in FY 2023 it reported a revenue of ₹2,024 crore.

This year, Zepto raised $200 million at a valuation of $1.4 billion, making it India's first unicorn company in 2023. The firm focuses on instant delivery or quick commerce with the help of dark stores.

In short, Zepto's business model is unique in India as most grocery stores take around 30 minutes to deliver. However, after the rise of Zepto, they also implemented this service.

Also Read
It's official! Zepto is India's newest unicorn; raises $200M at $1.4B valuation

Flipkart

Started in 2007 by Sachin Bansal and Binny Bansal, Flipkart is an e-commerce company in India that become a household name. Headquartered in Bangalore, this firm focused on selling books online and soon added more categories such as electronics, lifestyle products, clothing, groceries, etc.

Flipkart also has diverse subsidiaries including Myntra, Phonepe, Ekart, Jeeves, etc. As of 2022, the e-commerce platform has 200 million monthly subscribers.

Until now, more than 1 billion users have shopped from Flipkart making it an e-commerce giant and is popular for its sale season named "Big Billion Days".In 2018, Flipkart was acquired by big retail company Walmart for $16 billion.

BigBasket

Currently owned by Tata Group, BigBasket is an online grocery company founded in 2011 by Hari Menon, Vipul Parekh, VS Sudhakar, VS Ramesh and Abhinay Choudhari. Today, Bigbasket is known as India's largest online grocer in the e-commerce industry.

The firm achieved unicorn status in 2019 after raising $150 million in investment from Alibaba Group, Mirae Asset Global Investments and CDC Group. In 2021, Tata Group acquired a 64% stake in BigBasket at a $1.8 billion valuation. As of August 2023, the company has clocked a whopping Rs 9,295.6 crore in revenue.

Meesho

Founded in 2015 by Vidit Aatrey and Sanjeev Barnwal, Meesho is an online shopping platform that helps users sell products through social media channels such as WhatsApp, Instagram, Facebook, etc. This business model of social commerce is India's first and became immensely popular.

Regardless, the startup noticed most of its resellers are women and helped them become entrepreneurs without facing key challenges such as access to funds.

According to reports, Meesho had 120 million monthly users in CY 2022 and recorded 1 million registered sellers on its platform this year. So, far the company has 100 million active product listings in 30 categories. Within 5 years, Meesho earned unicorn status after raising $300 million in a funding round led by Japanese firm SoftBank.

Udaan

Udaan is a B2B e-commerce platform that focuses on empowering SMBs in India. Started in 2016 by Amod Malviya, Sujeet Kumar and Vaibhav Gupta, this startup supports the sale of various product categories like home and kitchen appliances, electronics, toys, etc.

Based in Bangalore, Udaan aims to provide easy access to markets thereby helping traders, manufacturers, suppliers, and wholesalers. Interestingly, this firm entered the unicorn club in 2018 after raising $225 million without a CEO.

Embark on India's e-commerce journey, where innovation meets convenience. These startups redefine the shopping experience, promising a future of endless possibilities.