Breaking The Glass Ceiling: These Women-Led Startups Entered Unicorn Club

According to a report by MSCI ESG, companies with women leadership generated a return on equity of 10.1 per cent compared to 7.4 per cent globally.
In India's startup ecosystem women have broken the glass ceiling and entered unicorn club.
In India's startup ecosystem women have broken the glass ceiling and entered unicorn club.

Over the recent years, the start-up ecosystem in India has witnessed a surge of women-founded/owned companies. According to a report by MSCI ESG, companies with women leadership generated a return on equity of 10.1 per cent compared to 7.4 per cent globally. Moreover, with women sitting at the top, the company culture has improved significantly, according to the reports.

Here is a list of Indian startups where women have broken the glass ceiling and have spearheaded their companies in the unicorn club. 

Falguni Nayyar and Nykaa

Founded in 2012 by Falguni Nayyar, Nykaa became the first women-led company to list on National Stock Exchange. It is also the first women-founded startup to turn unicorn in 2020. The e-commerce brand which specifically caters to women’s beauty and lifestyle retail products made its market debut in November 2021, with the company’s IPO valuation at Rs 95,437 crore. With over more than 80 stores across the country, the company’s current valuation stands at $13 billion. An alumnus of IIM Ahmedabad, Nayyar has worked with Kotak Mahindra Group for 19 years, where she also served as the Managing Director of the company.  

Ghazal Alagh and Mamaearth

Founded in 2016 by Ghazal Alagh and her husband Varun Alagh, Mamaearth is the first women-founded startup that turned unicorn in 2022. Mamaearth is owned by the parent company Honasa Consumer which currently has a valuation of $1.15 billion. Mamaearth is a direct-to-consumer (D2C) brand that caters the consumers with natural beauty products. It also has seven brick-and-mortar stores across India, while its products are also available on e-commerce sites such as Amazon, Flipkart, and Nykaa. 

Priyanka Gill, Naiyaa Saggi and The Good Glamm Group

Founded in 2015 by Priyanka Gill, Naiyaa Saggi, and Darpan Sanghvi, The Good Glamm Group is South Asia’s largest content-to-conglomerate. It became the first Indian direct-to-consumer (DTC) beauty and personal care brand to enter unicorn club. The company, which has several brands such as POPxo, MyGlamm, Baby Chakra, Scoopwhoop, and Plixoo—under its wings, raised $150 million in its Series-D funding round in November 2021, at a valuation of $1.2 billion. Apart from a humongous digital presence, the company’s flagship MyGlamm has over 30,000 retail stores across India. 

Upansana Taku and Mobikwik

Founded in 2009 by Upasana Taku and Bipin Upreet Singh, Mobikwik is a digital payment company. The IPO-bound fintech startup is currently valued at $1 billion, after its secondary ESOP (Employees Stock Ownership) round last year. Through the IPO, the company is planning to raise Rs 1,900 crore this year. 

Ruchi Deepak and Acko General Insurance

Founded in 2017 by Varun Dua and Ruchi Deepak, Acko General Insurance is a subsidiary of Acko Technology and Services Private Limited that caters to private digital general insurance. The company is backed by Amazon, Accel, Elevation, Ascent Capital, and Flipkart co-founder Binny Bansal and currently holds a valuation of $1.1 billion. With over 70 million online customer base, the company has partnered with Amazon, Ola, redbus, Zomato, and Urban Company. 

Gazal Kalra and Rivigo

Founded in 2014 by Deepak Garg and Gazal Kalra, Rivigo is the 25th unicorn of India in 2019. The Gurugram-based company, which caters to the logistics sector, is valued at over $1.07 billion. Operating on the relay-as-a-service model, Rivigo offers intercity long-haul service.  

Ruchi Kalra and OfBusiness

Founded in 2015 by Asish Mohapatra, Ruchi Kalra, Vasant Sridhar, Bhuvan Sridhar, Bhuvan Gupta and Nitin Jain, OfBusiness is a digital platform that caters to the Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs) by offering a host of tech services to procure raw materials. The company currently holds a valuation of around $5 billion. It is backed by Alpha Wave Global, Tiger Global, and Softbank Vision Fund 2. 

Divya Gokulnath and Byju’s

Founded in 2011 by Byju Raveendran and Divya Gokulnath, Byju’s is the largest ed-tech platform with a valuation of $21 billion. It is the world’s 13th most-valued startup, according to the data from CB Insights. Over the years, the company has acquired several ed-tech companies, the latest being Aakaash Institutes. 

Rajoshi Ghosh and Hasura

Founded in 2018 by Rajoshi Ghosh and Tanmai Gopal, Hasura is the 10th startup that entered unicorn club in 2022. In February, the company raised $100 million at a valuation of $1 billion. The company provides open-source platform to make web application development faster. 

Smita Deorah and Lead School

Founded by Sumeet Mehta and Smita Deorah in 2012, LEAD became the third unicorn of 2022. The company, after its $100 million Series E Funding is valued at $1.1 billion. The company, which caters to 5,000 schools across over 500 cities in India provides innovative full-stack school ed-tech solutions. 

Ankiti Bose and Zilingo

Founded in 2014 by Ankiti Bose and Dhruv Kapoor Zilingo is a Singapore-based fashion retail brand, with a valuation of $970 million as of 2021. The company is planning to raise $150 million to $200 million at a valuation of $1 billion, according to reports. The company, which is backed by Sequoia Capital and Temasek, turned unicorn in 2019. 

Related Stories

No stories found.
Outlook Business & Money