2021 has been the year of startups entering the 100-crore club, with as many as 44 startups entering the coveted unicorn club. Out of these four were led by women, and continuing this trend this year as well, four women led startups have already entered the unicorn club this year, until now.
Here’s presenting a list of some women-led startups that entered the unicorn club in India, in the past few years.
1. Garima Sawhney
Dr Garima Sawhney co-founded Pristyn Care, a technology platform for availing medical facilities with a different perspective. The platform uses additional space or capacity in different hospitals, to make multispecialty clinics and surgery centers. Funded by renowned investors like Tiger Global and Sequoia, the brand entered the unicorn club in 2021 and was the 40th startup to do so last year.
2. Saritha Katikaneni
Saritha is the co-founder of Zenoti, a platform providing software solutions for spas and salons in multiple countries. Though on a sabbatical since 2019, she served as the Vice President of the company for 9 years. Formerly known as ManageMySpa, the brand entered the unicorn club last year after it raised $160 million in Series D funding round.
3. Rajoshi Ghosh
Rajoshi Ghosh co-found Hasura which became the tenth startup to enter the unicorn club in 2022. The company raised $100 million at a valuation of $1 billion, in February this year. Hasura provides open-source platform to speed up development of web application.
4. Ruchi Kalra
Serial entrepreneur and co-founder of OfBusiness, Ruchi Kalra, and her husband have been in the news for some special reasons. They have become the first Indian couple to have bought their individual companies into the unicorn club within a year.
38-year-old Ruchi Kalra found Oxyzo, a lending platform that provides cash flow and working capital finance to small and medium businesses, mid-corporates and new economy companies. Oxyzo entered the unicorn club in March this year, and OfBusiness became a unicorn in July last year.
5. Smita Deorah
The third startup to enter the unicorn club this year is LEAD School, which was co-founded by Smita Deorah. The company, which after its $100 million Series E Funding is valued at $1.1 billion, provides innovative edutech solutions to over 5000 schools across 500 cities in the country.
6. Ambiga Subramanian
She is credited with being the first Indian woman to have led a company into the unicorn club. Co-founder and CEO of data analytics firm Mu Sigma, Ambiga have been one of the youngest Indian self-made women in 2017. However, following her divorce in the same year, she sold her 24% shareholding in MuSigma, and has since been concentrating on investing in companies like Piper Biosciences, Box8, etc.
7. Divya Gokulnath
Co-founder of one of the most valued startups in the world, Divya Gokulnath co-founded Byju’s with her husband Byju Raveendran in 2011. The company entered the unicorn club in 2018 and has acquired many edtech companies like the recent one being Aakash Institutes.
8. Priyanka Gill
The Good Glamm group was founded in 2015, by Priyanka Gill and Naiyya Saggi. It is now South Asia’s largest content conglomerate, becoming the first Indian DTC beauty and personal care brand to enter the unicorn club.
With brands like POPxo, MyGlamm, Baby Chakra, Scoopwhoop, and Plixoo under its umbrella, the company raised $150 million in its Series-D funding round in November 2021, at a valuation of $1.2 billion. The company’s front-runner MyGlamm has more than 30,000 retail stores in the country.
9. Ruchi Deepak
Acko General Insurance entered the unicorn club in 2021, after raising $255 million in a round led by General Atlantic and Multiples Private Equity. This came just within four years of its founding in 2017, by Ruchi Deepak and Varun Dua. The company specialises in selling insurance products online, has partnered with Amazon, MakeMyTrip, Ola, Urban Company for product distribution.
While this list has just nine women mentioned, other noteworthy women-led unicorn companies include the likes of Nykaa Founder Falguni Nayar, Ghazal Alagh led Mamaearth and Shopclues co-founder Radhika Ghai. While a lot many others do deserve a mention, it is encouraging to see more and more businesses being led by women these days, doing so well.