Startups are no longer a boys club as Indian women have begun their entrepreneurial journey. From the past few decades, there has been a genuine emphasis to discard the stereotypes, prejudices, and gender inequalities in India. However, women still encounter challenges, which perhaps, wouldn’t be thrown at men.
Nonetheless, women are now inseparable from the global fight for a thriving economy, and the same stands true for Indian women. Coming from a diverse social background, these fighters have proven their worth time and again.
The Impact of Women-led Business
Taking a look back in 2021, about 42 Indian startups turned unicorns. This is the highest number that India has ever seen in a decade. According to YourStory research, the cumulative valuation of these active startups is more than a gigantic $196.1 billion, and women-led only 10% of these startup unicorns.
The country has above than 430 million working-age women and more than 13.5 million women-owned businesses, employing 22 to 27 million individuals. These startups have employed 3x more women and are likely to grow by 90% within the next few years.
True that the proportion of women seeking entrepreneurship is much smaller than men. Nevertheless, women are performing fabulously in the startup arena, and this article focuses on the top 10 women-led startups changing lives and inspiring others.
10 Indian Startups Founded by Women
If you’re using digital payment, there’s no doubt that you haven’t heard about MobiKwik. Founded in 2009 by Upasana Taku, it is an online payment platform and a semi-closed mobile wallet. That’s not it! Upasana also founded another payment gateway named Zaakpay.
MobiKwik is one of India’s leading fintech forums, having one of the largest user bases in the country. It includes over 120 million users and 3 million merchants.
Richa Kar, the co-founder of Zivame, realized that lingerie is an under-serve category in the country. Founded in 2011, Zivame now offers a wide range of women’s products in various categories.
At one point in time, Zivame had five million online visitors every month out of which one million were unique customers. It is now one of the biggest online retailers in India.
Shradha Sharma founded YourStory in 2008, a digital media platform dedicated to entrepreneurs and startups. The company has been declared India’s biggest platform for entrepreneurs and startup-related stories, news, and resources. It tells stories in 12 different Indian languages.
YourStory’s estimated monthly net income is $4000 and net worth $678,000. They have reached over 10 million readers each month and published more than 40,000 stories of entrepreneurs.
Honored with the Padma Shri award, Ritu Kumar’s company’s annual turnover was estimated at around $10 billion, the highest compared to any Indian fashion outlet.
Ritu Kumar, the pioneer of Indian fashion began her journey in the 1960s and has established her place in the international market with elite-class clothing.
Falguni Nayar founded Nykaa in 2012, offering a wide range of cosmetics, beauty products, and fashion wear. Nykaa is now India’s biggest lifestyle portal standing with a valuation of around $1.2 billion.
Founded in 2012 by Suchi Mukherjee, Limeroad sells a range of lifestyle and fashion-related products. It is the first Indian boutique fashion marketplace for women.
Limroad has raised $50 million in funding from investors.
If you are an online shopping fanatic, you may have come across MyDala. Founded in 2009 by Anisha Singh, it is among the largest online coupon and discount platforms in India.
In a matter of a few years, MyDala has grown to handle $200,000 transactions each day, targeting about 400 million consumers in 200 cities. As soon as the site launched, MyDala saw almost 56 competitors pop up within a week.
Giving up a job offer of crore-rupee from an investment bank in your twenties is no easy task, but Vineeta Singh did it in order to build a firm of her own.
The first digital brand and her third start-up, Sugar Cosmetics, which she co-founded in 2015, achieved $1.7 million in revenue, bringing its valuation to $99.31 million.
Her motto is to make cosmetics for the Indian environment and Indian skin tone.
Identified as the Most Powerful Women in Business by Fortune India, Vani Kola founded Kalaari Capital in 2006, which is now one of India’s leading venture capital firms.
She has led more than 30 investments at Kalaari, and a few of her successes include Myntra, Dream11, and Snapdeal. Kalaari Capital has raised $479 million across three funds.
Vani Kola is known as the mother of venture capital investment in India.
One of the biggest Indian entrepreneurs, Vandana Luthra is the founder of VLCC health care Ltd. Considered to be one of the best beauty and wellness service industries, running in 300+ locations across 13 countries.
The current valuation of VLCC is more than $330 million.
India was once a country where women were confined to their homes and kitchens. The country currently has over 15 million women-owned businesses. And in the coming years, India is geared to see a major shift with women dominating the workforce. This could be a game-changer and help the economy look brighter!