The COVID-19 pandemic has just ruined 2020 for many people. The lockdown and the subsequent recession caused major crises for many businesses all over the world.

Yet, some India based startups managed to overcome this hardship, raise significant funding and revenue reaching the valuation of $1 billion thus rising to unicorn status during the pandemic.

11 Indian startups joined the unicorn status in 2020. Unacademy, Pine Labs, FirstCry, Zenoti, Nykaa, Postman, Zerodha, Razorpay, Cars24, Dailyhunt and Glance.

Why Did These Startups Boom?

Image: Forbes India

There are a lot of startups in the market, but the question is why were these ones able to achieve such status during a pandemic?

According to the experts, these startups actually worked towards the difficulties faced by the people amidst the lockdown. 

For example, due to the lockdown and strict COVID-19 restrictions, all schools, colleges and coaching institutes were shut indefinitely. This led to the increase in popularity of online learning thus increasing the significance of Unacademy exponentially in the market.

From school students who sought for online test series for upcoming entrance exams to people working from home who used it to upskill themselves, Unacademy had something for everybody.


It started with a YouTube channel in 2010 by Gaurav Munjal, Hemesh Singh, Roman Saini and Sachin Gupta, and eventually Unacademy went on to become an online platform in 2015.

The platform has helped to eliminate all physical barriers and “massified education” for all. Today Unacademy values at $1.45 billion.


Started in 2015 by Vikram Chopra, Gajendra Jangid, Ruchit Agarwal and Mehul Agrawal, this Gurugram based company aims to build an honest, reliable and effective platform to trade second-hand cars at the best possible price.

Cars24 is currently serviceable in 130 cities across India. Right now, Cars24 claims to have more than 10,000 registered channel partners on its online website.


The underdogs of startups, this Mumbai-based online- omnichannel lifestyle and beauty retailer Nykaa joined the prestigious unicorn club by raising its value to approximately $1.2 billion.

Started in 2012 by Falguni Nayar, Nykaa currently has more than 70 stores with top luxury brands including Tom Ford, Dior, Givenchy etc.


Started back in 2014 by Shashank Kumar and Harshil Mathur, with the goal of making digital payments easier as well as simple for small businesses. In just a duration of seven years, Razorpay has successfully transitioned money worth a whopping $25 billion.

At the moment, Razorpay enables online payments for more than 2 lakh businesses, both big and small, including major companies like NSE, IRCTC, Airtel, BookMyShow etc.


This Pune based startup, founded by Supam Maheshwari and Amitava Saha, in 2010 is one of the top online- omnichannel retailers of all baby and mother care products. Currently, the platform claims to have more than 2,00 brands and sells over 2 lakh baby, kids and mother care products.

Firstcry joined the unicorn club in February by valuating at $1.2 billion.


Founded in 2014 by Abhijit Kane, Abhinav Asthana, and Ankit Sobti, Postman, became the quickest SaaS startup to attain unicorn status in June 2020 by valuing at $2 billion. 

Postman aims to provide help to companies and developers to supercharge their application programming interface (API) workflow. It also enables the developer to build complex requests, review them back and give results efficiently.

Read More: In This Era Of Startups Is It Necessary To Have A Postgraduate Degree In Order To Be Financially Stable?


Starting as ManageMySpa in 2010, now Zenoti entered the unicorn club by raising the valuation to $1 billion in December 2020. 

Started by Sudheer Koneru and Dheeraj Koneru in 2010, Zenoti is one of the best global all in one cloud platforms for the beauty and wellness industry.

Currently, Zenoti is partnered with many global companies like Sono Bello, Hair Cuttery, Profile by Sanford, and Toni&Guy etc.


Founded by brothers Nikhil Kamath and Nithin Kamath in 2010, Zerodha provides online stockbroking services. The company joined the unicorn club in June 2020.

Later, in just two months Zerodha valued itself at $3 billion and was featured in Hurun Global Unicorn List 2020

Pine Labs

The first started of 2020 to have entered the unicorn club, Pine Labs crossed the $1 billion mark in January 2020.

Started way back in 1998 by Lokvir Kapoor, Rajul Garg, and Tarun Upaday, Pine Lab is one of the oldest retailer payment solution providers in India. This Noida-based started currently values at approximately $1.6 billion. 

Currently, Pine Labs has over 1 lakh clients spread across 3700 cities across India.


Started under the name NewsHunt in 2009, this startup initially began as a news compiler. In 2015, it rebranded itself to DailyHunt. As of April 2020, it is associated with more than 1,300 publications and provides news in 14 vernacular languages.

It currently claims to have more than 263 million monthly active users.


Founded by Naveen Tewari, Glance aims to provide AI-based curated news content through a visually appealing formal in multiple languages on the lock screen of Android phones. 

Due to the ban of TikTok in June 2020, Roposo, part of Glance, gained significant fame in India.

It is very overwhelming to see so many Indian startups joining the unicorn club and getting successful. These Indian startups are indeed on the way to becoming big multinationals in the future.

Image Sources: Google Images

Sources: Your Story, Business Standard, Inc 42, and Forbes India

Find the Blogger: @aditi_21gupta

This post is tagged under: COVID-19, COVID-19 pandemic, India, Indian Startups, Unicorn startups, Unicorn Status, lockdown, business, company, funding, $1 Billion, Unacademy, Pine Labs, FirstCry, Zenoti, Nykaa, Postman, Zerodha, Razorpay, Cars24, Dailyhunt, Glance, Boom, 2020, solution, problem-solving, Gaurav Munjal, Hemesh Singh, Roman Saini, Sachin Gupta, massified education, Shashank Kumar, Harshil Mathur, NSE, IRCTC, Airtel, BookMyShow, digital payments, Lokvir Kapoor, Rajul Garg, Tarun Upaday, retailer payment solution providers, Noida, Falguni Nayar, Mumbai, luxury brands, Tom Ford, Dior, Givenchy, Nikhil Kamath, Nithin Kamath, Hurun Global Unicorn List 2020, Abhijit Kane, Abhinav Asthana, Ankit Sobti, Application Programming Interface, API, Sudheer Koneru, Dheeraj Koneru, beauty, wellness, Sono Bello, Hair Cuttery, Profile by Sanford, Toni&Guy, Vikram Chopra, Gajendra Jangid, Ruchit Agarwal, Mehul Agrawal, second-hand cars, Gurugram, Pune, Supam Maheshwari, Amitava Saha, omnichannel, Naveen Tewari, Android, TikTok, Roposo

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