The word unicorn started trending in the beginning of 2018 and to define the term simply, it refers to startups which have a valuation of more than $ 1 billion. As this year comes to a close, here’s taking a look at all the different startups which entered the billion dollar club and earned themselves the unicorn status.
Zomato, a food delivery and restaurant discovery startup based out of Gurugram, raised over $ 200 million in a funding round held in February 2018 and since then, there is no stopping the growth of this particular startup. With multiple rounds of investment from various areas, the valuation of Zomato increased by leaps and bounds and right now, toward the close of 2018, this particular food tech startup has an estimated valuation of $ 1.1 billion!
Founded in the year 2013, service apartment provider Oyo entered the Unicorn Club in September by raising $ 1 billion from existing investor, SoftBank. Founded by Ritesh Agarwal, Oyo has grown so much over the years in the last five years that it is now extremely popular in places like India, China, west Asia, the UK and the UAE.
When Byju’s was initially founded, the startup barely had a major presence in India. However, through the years, Byju’s grew to become the next Indian startup to enter the Unicorn Club! Standing at a valuation of approximately $ 2 billion, Byju’s became the first startup in the edutech field in India to be valued at more than a billion dollars!
4. Paytm Mall
A subset of Paytm, Paytm Mall came to be in 2016 and with an investment of $ 450 million from existing investors, Paytm Mall is now valued at more than one billion dollars! Using the investments to improve their existing features and to better the customer experience, Paytm Mall will likely achieve $ 10 billion in merchandise volume. Furthermore, with the investment Paytm received, the app is looking at allowing customers to walk into offline stores, scan products through QR codes, go through information about the products and finally, purchase the product through the app.
Food delivery startup Swiggy raised $ 1 billion from Naspers and post that, the startup has grown to stand at a valuation of over 3.3 billion dollars! Not only is Swiggy the second food tech startup to enter the billion dollar club, it is also the fastest startup in India which grew to reach that place. The startup entered the Unicorn Club in just under four years, a feat which is truly commendable.
Based out of Chennai, Freshworks is a software as a service (SaaS) provider, which entered the billion dollar club in August this year. Freshworks entered the Unicorn Club post securing a $ 100 million investment from Sequoia Capital, Accel Partners and CapitalG!
With so many startups achieving the unicorn status through sheer hard work and dedication to innovation, the unicorn status is truly a coveted symbol to achieve. If you think we missed out on other startups in this field, comment and let us know!
India’s Reliance JioMeet To Take On Zoom
Mukesh Ambani seems to be having one of the best years of his career, proving that the COVID-19 pandemic is not a hindrance to his goals. Mukesh Ambani’s latest product is a video conferencing app which aims to take on the hottest video conferencing app, Zoom. The telecommunications vertical of Reliance Industries, Reliance Jio, formally launched Reliance JioMeet, on Thursday evening, which has an uncanny resemblance to Zoom.
Zoom has emerged as one of the companies which has thrived due to the COVID-19 pandemic, as businesses are forced to shut down their offices and shift their operations to remote work. This meant the demand for a good video conferencing software shot up and Zoom stepped up to the task before Google, Microsoft and Facebook could catch up. Zoom has also removed time limits for the conference calls and made the entire suite free of cost for schools and businesses in the affected regions across the globe, thereby further increasing its popularity.
However, JioMeet has a similar if not better offering than Zoom. JioMeet offers unlimited number of free calls in high definition (720p) to users and supports as many as 100 participants on a call. Interestingly, JioMeet appears to not impose a short time limit on a call’s duration. Jio Platforms says a free call can be uninterrupted for “up to 24 hours” long. The service currently has no paid plans and considering Jio’s reputation for giving services for free for years like Jio data plans, it would come as no surprise if JioMeet is also made free for the time being.
JioMeet comes at the perfect time as the Indian government suggested that Indians need to aggressively work on homegrown technologies and develop them so that they are on par with technologies developed by global giants. The government has called for leading Indian software and IT companies to come up with an alternative for Zoom and it looks like Jio has stepped up to the task.
Mukesh Ambani Enters Top Ten Billionaires List
Mukesh Ambani is the head of India’s biggest Petrochemical and Telecommunications giant Reliance Industries Limited. Mukesh Ambani also achieved a new milestone in his splendid career as he broke out into the World’s Top Ten Richest Billionaires list for the first time in his career.
Mukesh Ambani entered the high profile and exclusive club of billionaires as his net worth jumped to $ 64.5 billion which catapulted him to the exclusive list of the richest billionaires in the world. Mukesh Ambani is now the ninth richest billionaire in the world as he beats Google co founder Larry Page. Mukesh Ambani also holds the distinction of the only Asian tycoon in the exclusive list of World’s Top Ten Billionaires.
Mukesh Ambani is riding on the back of a series of investments into the company’s digital unit, Jio Platforms Ltd., which Reliance claimed made the company net debt free and also proved the COVID-19 pandemic has not affected the fortunes of Reliance Industries.
While a crash in oil prices caused uncertainty in a stake sale of Reliance’s oil and chemicals division, in just two months Jio managed to attract some $ 15 billion which is more than half the investment into telecom companies worldwide this year. A report by popular equity and brokerage firm Sanford C. Bernstein predicted Jio is likely to capture 48% of India’s mobile subscriber market share by 2025.
Mukesh Ambani has an unmatched drive to become the biggest and the best industry leader in India as well as the world. In India, Reliance officially became the biggest petrochemical company last year, when it surpassed government owned Indian Oil Corporation to become the country’s largest company by revenue. Mukesh Ambani said “No power on Earth can stop India from rising higher (sic.)” during Reliance Industries latest Annual General Meeting (AGM.)
Infosys Considering Permanent Work From Home For 30% Or More Employees
In what could be considered as a game changing move if it becomes a reality, Infosys is considering the idea to permanently let about one third of its employees to work from home. Infosys is considered as one of the leading companies in the software and Information Technology (IT) sector in India, as well as the world. This Indian IT giant is always at the forefront of innovation and setting new market trends for others to follow.
Many companies and organizations across the globe and India have been forced to shift to a remote working model due to the COVID-19 pandemic. The decision to work remotely is because the virus is highly contagious and can spread very quickly. Infosys might become one of the first companies to consider a plan for transitioning a large part of its employees into remote work, permanently.
In an interview with a popular business news daily, Infosys’s Head of Human Resources and Executive Vice President, Richard Lobo said “Once things are normal, over a period of time, probably 50 per cent of employees will come to office and the rest will work from home. Moving on, 66 per cent will be in office but 33 per cent will work permanently from home (sic.)” This translates to roughly 80,000 employees out of its total workforce of 2,42,371 employees. As offices are opening up gradually, Infosys has currently about 5 percent of its workforce going to offices in India while the rest are working from home. Commenting on the plan of action for the next few months Lobo said “we can’t predict the course of the pandemic but if it is following the path that it is, for most countries and if everything goes well, a third of total employees will come back to office (sic.)”
However, Infosys is not the only company mulling over transitioning into permanent work from home model. Another Indian IT giant, Tata Consultancy Services (TCS) announced a whopping 75% of its 4,48,000 employees globally would be working from home by 2025.
Let us know if you think the work from home model will be adapted by various other companies in the future post COVID-19!
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