From FinTechs to EVs: 15 trailblazing Indian startups of 2023

Amidst inflation, rising interest rates, geopolitical tensions, and recession concerns, 15 startups have still redefined India’s startup ecosystem in 2023. Let's take a look at them.

From FinTechs to EVs: 15 trailblazing Indian startups of 2023

Saturday December 30, 2023,

10 min Read

The Indian Startup Ecosystem might have soared to third place globally in unicorn count in May 2022 with a collective valuation of $332.7 billion, the landscape took a considerable turn in 2023. This year was comparatively challenging amidst inflation, rising interest rates, geopolitical tensions, and recession concerns, leading to mass layoffs and a staggering 65.8% drop in global venture funding, as reported by GlobalData.


Despite these hurdles, experts maintain unwavering faith in the resilience of the Indian startup ecosystem. Government initiatives and a renewed commitment to sustainable, long-term success serve as pillars of support. Amidst this dynamic environment, 15 startups stand out, contributing to the nation's economic growth. 


The 6th annual LinkedIn top-startups list celebrates these budding companies that "have trailblazed their way through recent economic and workplace challenges and managed to stand out to investors and top talent along the way".


Fintech and Edtech dominate the list along with space tech startups, artificial intelligence-based startups, and electric vehicle startups that reached unprecedented heights.


As 2023 draws to a close, let’s take a look at these top 15 startups that have redefined India’s startup ecosystem in 2023 and are poised to continue influencing in the years ahead.

Top 15 Indian startups in 2023 graphic of famous monuments

Zepto

Year founded: 2021

Headquarters: Mumbai


The brainchild of twenty-year-old Kaivalya Vohra, Zepto stands at the forefront of quick commerce, revolutionising grocery and essentials delivery across ten cities in India. This Mumbai-based startup made waves in August by raising a staggering $200 million, and now bagging the prestigious title of India’s inaugural unicorn of 2023.


Within the app market, Zepto offers customers a seamless delivery service accessible through its digital platform. Their online marketplace mirrors a grocery store, enabling users to order and receive deliveries within a remarkable ten minutes. Zepto was conceived to streamline online food delivery, providing such swift service that customers can start preheating their ovens while awaiting their ingredients. 


Since its inception, Zepto has amassed an impressive total funding of $360 million, supported by twelve investors across five funding rounds. Its most recent funding round, concluded on May 3, 2022, further cementing its standing.


Zepto solidified its unicorn status by raising an additional $200 million in a Series E round and reaching a remarkable valuation of $1.4 billion.

BluSmart

Year founded: 2018

Headquarters: Gurugram


Founded by Anmol Jaggi, Puneet Jaggi, and Punit Goyal, BluSmart has pioneered electric ride-hailing services in Delhi NCR and Bengaluru, boasting 4,500 electric cars. 


BluSmart disrupts the ride-hailing space dominated by Ola Cabs and Uber, offering an all-electric, shared, and intelligent mobility platform encompassing ride-sharing, car-sharing, and scooter-sharing.


Presently, BluSmart oversees a network of over 5,500 EVs and 4,000 EV chargers spanning 34 EV charging 'Superhubs'. This includes the operation of the largest EV charging Superhub infrastructure sprawling across 1.3 million square feet in Delhi NCR and Bengaluru.


Anmol Singh Jaggi, Co-founder and CEO of BluSmart, emphasised, “We will continue to expand our brand promise of zero ride denials, on-time service and clean mobility to more geographies. The overwhelming support for the rights issue by our investors and belief exhibited by leading Development Financial Institutions (DFIs) shows exceptional confidence in our mission.”

Ditto Insurance

Year founded: 2018

Headquarters: Bengaluru


Founded in 2018, this insurance-tech startup simplifies insurance processes by enabling users to compare, understand policies, and purchase insurance via its user-friendly online platform. Offering a diverse range of insurance products—from car and health to travel insurance—this digital platform serves as an all-rounder insurance hub.


Ditto stands out through its no-spam, advisory-based model, a distinctive approach honed by its co-founders' success with their first venture, the esteemed financial newsletter Finshots. This approach has garnered significant goodwill for the insurance advisory platform, resonating strongly with both prospective and current customers seeking informed decisions regarding their insurance needs, as noted by Co-founders Karkera and Gurram.

Pocket FM

Year founded: 2018

Headquarters: Bengaluru


Pocket FM, founded in 2018, stands as an audio series platform offering a rich collection of audio entertainment spanning various genres and Indian languages, and a content library that exceeds 100,000 hours. The company proudly claims a global audience of 80 million listeners.


Amidst the buzz of social media and short-form videos where voices overlap, three engineers set out to introduce long-format audio series in India—a notion seemingly at odds with shrinking attention spans. Surprisingly, the concept struck a chord and has now propelled Pocket FM to achieve a noteworthy $25 million in its 4th annual revenue run-rate.


Rohan Nayak, CEO and co-founder of Pocket FM envisions the platform as the “Netflix of audio OTT platforms” strategically releasing binge-worthy long-format series to captivate and retain listeners. By embracing the binge-able release model akin to Netflix, Pocket FM has witnessed increased engagement, audience growth, and escalated revenue.

Skyroot Aerospace

Year founded: 2018

Headquarters: Hyderabad


Based in Hyderabad, Skyroot Aerospace specialises in space-launch vehicle design and construction. In their groundbreaking inaugural mission, Prarambh, Skyroot Aerospace marked a historic milestone in 2022, becoming the first Indian private company to successfully launch a rocket into space.


Founded in July 2018 by former ISRO scientists Pawan Kumar Chandana and Naga Bharath Daka, Skyroot Aerospace emerged as India's premier privately funded space launch enterprise. The company offers commercial launch services and is actively developing the Vikram series of rockets tailored for small satellite launches.

GoKwik

Year founded: 2020

Headquarters: New Delhi


GoKwik specialises in data-driven technology solutions tailored for eCommerce and D2C brands. This, in turn, helps in improving the customer experience throughout the shopping journey, enhances conversion rates and drives revenue growth.


With a remarkable funding of $55 million, GoKwik boasts a prestigious lineup of investors, including RTP Global, Matrix Partners India, and Think Investments. According to Agarwal, the company strategically occupies a rare space in the global market, positioned uniquely at the nexus of eCommerce solutions. Their success lies in offering an easy solution to a longstanding problem that has stumped the industry for over a decade.

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Fi

Year founded: 2019

Headquarters: Bengaluru

Fi is a fin-tech startup that presents an integrated savings account alongside varied financial services such as mutual fund investments and partnerships for personal loans with regulated entities.

Founded in 2019 by former Google Pay trailblazers Narayanan and Sumit Gwalani, Fi aimed to resolve banking challenges. The neobank functions mainly as a digital layer atop the conventional banking system. The startup also introduced its iOS app in early 2022, introducing features like a digital financial assistant,  smart deposits, a debit card, and so on to enhance user experience.

Currently valued at approximately $700 million, Fi stands in equal pages with counterparts such as Razorpay, Jupiter, Open, Niyo, and FamPay in the dynamic landscape of fin-tech.

Sprinto

Year founded: 2019

Headquarters: Bengaluru


Founded in 2019 by Raghuveer Kancherla and Girish Redekar, Sprinto specialises in automating Information Security compliances and privacy laws for software-as-a-service companies, facilitating the monitoring of entity-level risks and controls.


“With a consultant, companies would take around 3-4 months to be ready for SOC 2 assessment. Using Sprinto’s compliance automation platform, companies can complete the SOC 2 readiness assessment in just days. This levels the playing field, helping smaller companies lacking the resources of larger firms,” said Sprinto Co-founder Girish.

Since its website launch in June 2021, Sprinto has swiftly amassed a substantial customer base, securing enterprise-level accounts such as HP and Hackerrank. Remarkably, the startup has reported a doubling of its ARR within just the last 10 weeks.

Supersourcing

Year founded: 2020

Headquarters: Indore


Supersourcing stands as a B2B AI-driven platform tailored for hiring remote engineers and catering to medium and small-sized businesses, enterprises, and funded startups by offering pre-vetted developers. Moreover, the platform provides an array of SaaS tools like productivity management, vetting, hiring, and billing.


By employing an advanced AI model, Supersourcing sifts through a myriad of responses, decoding specific words or sentiments that align with desired values. This technology streamlines various manual processes such as attendance tracking, billing, timesheets, status updates, and feedback mechanisms.


In June 2022, Supersourcing secured a substantial $500,000 in seed funding from multiple investors, propelling its mission to achieve a remarkable $50 million in ARR (Annual Recurring Revenue) in the forthcoming months.

GrowthSchool

Year founded: 2021

Headquarters: Bengaluru


GrowthSchool collaborates with experts to craft cohort-based courses centred around personal and professional growth themes on design, marketing, and business acumen.


GrowthSchool curates top-tier learning tools and methodologies, partnering with instructors hailing from renowned brands like ShareChat, Amazon, Meta, HotStar, Swiggy, OLX, Dell, Google, Microsoft, and others. The startup curates impactful cohort-based courses tailored for global learners. By compiling leading-edge technologies with guidance from seasoned professionals, GrowthSchool equips learners to not just keep pace but surpass industry requirements.


With total funding of $5M across one round, GrowthSchool continues to scale its trajectory of reshaping the landscape of professional education.

Jar

Year founded: 2021

Headquarters: Bengaluru


Jar is an automated gold savings app designed to leverage spare change from online transactions and invest it in digital gold. Founded in 2021, the app has swiftly gathered over 1.5 crore users, offering both automated and customisable savings options on a daily, weekly, or monthly basis.


Functioning as an investment tech startup, Jar enables users to save and invest in digital gold seamlessly. Collaborating with partners like SafeGold, the platform assures 100% purity, allowing customers to purchase directly from manufacturers. 


Since its inception, the startup has secured a substantial $111.7M across six funding rounds, garnering support from thirty-five investors. The most recent funding round took place on August 18, 2022, further propelling Jar's mission to revolutionise digital gold investments.

Shyft

Year founded: 2019

Headquarters: Gurugram


Shyft, formerly recognised as Mindhouse, emerges as a comprehensive wellness and life management startup. The platform provides varied wellness programs like yoga, nutrition, and dermatology, which allows users to monitor and improve various aspects of their well-being and life management.

Teachnook

Year founded: 2021

Headquarters: Bengaluru


The e-learning platform Teachnook specialises in offering students meticulously curated programs. With the mission of upskilling in cutting-edge topics such as Web3, Augmented Reality/Virtual Reality, business development, and performance marketing, Teachnook has caught the attention of ed-tech experts.

StockGro

Year founded: 2020

Headquarters: Bengaluru


StockGro strives to educate and empower young investors in the realm of trading and investment. 


The platform enables individuals to cultivate their trading skills within a simulated environment, facilitating hands-on learning. Moreover, it offers the opportunity to track experts and top investors, while also offering investment recommendations and comprehensive portfolio management solutions.

Exponent Energy

Year founded: 2020

Headquarters: Bengaluru


This startup is dedicated to streamlining energy solutions for electric vehicles (EVs), introducing a groundbreaking 15-minute rapid charging solution that redefines EV charging experiences.


As an electric vehicle (EV) startup, Exponent Energy exemplifies the rapid growth within India's EV sector, boosted by the government's ‘Make in India’ initiative, underscoring the nation's commitment to fostering domestic EV innovations.


2023 was a year of highs and lows but the Indian government continued to play a pivotal role in nurturing the startup ecosystem. The Startup India Initiative, launched in 2015, aims to streamline legislation, foster a conducive business environment, bolster early-stage funding, and forge robust partnerships between industry and academia to cultivate talent. 


However, the present challenges for Indian startups signify anything but a time to play it safe. It's a call for innovation, resilience, and a testament to their enduring spirit amidst adversity. Let’s see what 2024 has in store for us.

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