10 Indian Startup Success Stories That Will Inspire You

They had an idea in mind. They left their cushy jobs. They worked hard. They created history.

India is witnessing a brand new generation of startups, making their presence felt not just in the domestic sphere, but also globally. They’re inspiring success stories of people who have paved their own roads of innovation and dreams.

1. Make My Trip

Brainchild of Deep Kalra, an IIM Ahmedabad alumnus, Make My Trip has revolutionized the travel industry over the years. It was originally launched in the US market in 2000 to cater to the needs of NRIs for their Indo-American trips. It launched its operations in India in 2005, starting with flight tickets. After a few years, Make My Trip got listed in NASDAQ and in the next year went on to make 3 acquisitions. It has got worldwide recognition and innumerable rewards.


2. Flipkart

No one would be a stranger to this one! Flipkart achieved massive success a few years back owing to its first mover advantage in the online market in India. Sachin and Binny Bansal, both IIT-D alumni, worked with Amazon before, thus they introduced a similar concept into the Indian market. They started with books in 2007 and now sell almost everything, from personal care to jewellery, from CDs to stationery. It acquired Myntra for around INR 2000 crore.

Flipkart.com has made it to the top five global billion dollar start-up club with a valuation of $11 billion, according to the Wall Street Journal and Dow Jones VenturSource report published on Thursday.


3. Zomato

Launched in 2008, Zomato hasn’t been anything less of a sensation. It covers over 331,200 restaurants in 19 countries. Started as Foodiebay.com, in two years, it was named the most promising internet companies in India. In another two years, it went on to get international recognition.

Deepinder Goyal and Pankaj Chaddah, the co-founders always wanted to create their own path, a path with its own obstacles. Zomato had no funding initially, their growth was excruciatingly slow. However, tables turned very soon and it made Zomato what it is now.


4. redBus

Started in 2006, redBus has grown phenomenally over the past few years. An online bus ticket booking and hotel booking site, this start-up achieved success for its innovative idea of making bus ticket booking easier for the common man. Phanindra, Sudhakar and Charan, the budding entrepreneurs from BITS Pilani initiated this idea, when one of them, Phanindra couldn’t go home for Diwali because he didn’t get a bus ticket. All of them were working for reputed MNCs at that time; it was a huge risk for them to start redBus.in. That risk, however paid off and the rest, as they say, is history.


5. Housing.com

A Mumbai-based real estate search engine, Housing.com was co-founded by twelve IIT-B graduates with the idea to introduce transparency in the real-estate market. What is commendable about Housing.com is the exponential rate at which it has grown. It was just founded two years ago and the response they’ve got is amazing. Despite many hurdles, Housing.com managed to achieve enormous success. It has raised four rounds of funding since its founding in 2012.


6. InMobi

Founded in 2007, InMobi, a mobile ad network giant was a result of entrepreneurship expertise and an innovative idea. Naveen Tewari, an alumnus of Harvard Business School, who had previously worked at McKinsey, wanted to build something which he could call his own. Before tasting success, it had its own set of problems. Since, it operated internationally, people weren’t sure if an Indian company could achieve success.

Despite the obstacles, it has had a great reception around the world; it is now one of the largest mobile ad networks in China. Its growth from a start-up to an MNC is certainly inspiring.


7. FreeCharge

An e-commerce website, FreeCharge was founded in 2010 by Kunal Shah and Sandeep Tandon. It has made mobile recharge free by offering equal value back to the customers in form of retailers’ coupons. It’s success to be credited to the fact that it’s a win-win situation for both the customers and the retailers. Like any start-up, there were many hurdles that FreeCharge had to face- everyone thought that it was too good to be true and weren’t too serious about it.Some retailers felt that the concept of ‘free’ would harm their brand.

However, FreeCharge has been able to overcome most of its problems. Now, they have tied up with various production houses like Sony Pictures, YRF, UTV etc.


8. Ola Cabs

Who would’ve thought that a few years back that booking cabs would be so much easier? Thanks to Ola Cabs, travelling in a cab now costs less than travelling in an auto rickshaw. Bhavish Aggarwal and Ankit Bhati who co-founded Ola Cabs were IIT-B graduates who were working in MNCs before going on the uncertain path of entrepreneurship.

This idea was formed after a weekend trip on a rented car had gone bad for Bhavish. He wanted to bring transparency and convenience to consumers in this area. Last year in october, Ola Cabs has raised around $210 million at a valuation of nearly $1 billion, with this, it has joined the league of the most valued start-ups in the country.


9. Teach For India

A non-profit organization under the Teach For All global movement, Teach For India works towards ensuring excellent education for all children. Founded by Shaheen Mistri in 2007, TFI exists because of a deep belief that every child can and must attain an excellent education. For the same, TFI has a fellowship, wherein it recruits college graduates and young professionals to serve as full-time teachers in low-income schools for two years. Today, Teach For India is present in 7 cities and have 910 Fellows and 660 Alumni working towards eliminating educational inequity.


10. Make A Difference (MAD)

Michelle Obama dances with underprivileged children enrolled in the academic programme of Make A Difference in Mumbai.

MAD has justified its slogan- ‘Don’t Stop BELIEVING!’ in almost a decade of its operations. It mobilizes young leaders to bridge the gap of education inequality. In 2005, MAD’s founders – Jithin C Nedumala, Gloria Benny and Sujith Abraham Varkey decided to visit a boys’ Home in Cochin to spend some time there. Children at shelter homes were talented and had aspirations and so they felt that more needed to be done. Soon, they started going back regularly, just to spend time with the children there. The MAD story started there.

They have various programmes where various volunteers are recruited to teach kids from disadvantaged backgrounds. Currently around 2100 MAD volunteers teach close to 5200 children across India. It has received a lot of recognition from international organizations for its successful operations.



Source/ photos: The Asian Entrepreneur

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  1. An Entrepreneur from Indore deserves applause:
    This is the story of the banker who turned entrepreneur, a bootstrapped Start-up from Indore (Madhya Pradesh) took this revolutionary step and provided a platform -‘BookMyColleges.com’ which act as a single application platform for various programs like MBA, Engineering, Law, Graduation, etc. (currently MBA/PGDM) which reduces the cumbersome application process.
    Today Mr Jain has overcome the hurdles & the company reached from 4 employees to 30 employees and 10 million in sales.
    There’s just one catch. You’ve got to start somewhere. Ideas and opportunities don’t just materialize out of thin air only reason behind this startup was to help and guide students because he could not get guidance when he needed it the most.
    According to him, BookMyColleges.com is building an ecosystem where students, colleges and schools can build a better India with the help of technology in a collaborative research-oriented method.
    After launching ManthanMania Group in 2011 & BookMyColleges.com launched in Dec-2016 an ED-Tech Venture of ManthanMania.


  2. Gopika sharma

    20.01.2020 · Reply


  3. Lessons from these start ups are awesome. To be successful one needs to learn other people’s stories. Indeed these are some stories I will always reference, to keep me going as a young entrepreneur. I encourage campus members to read also and perhaps save them in their jotters for reference as i have done. thank you campus competition for collecting these stories for our learning and encouragement

  4. Oh goodness great success indeed. I am lucky to read this article. This is serving as a reference for me being enthusistic to succeed as an entrepreneur. I encourage all campus members interested to succeed as entrepreneurs to make these start up their watch word and of course it can only be possibel if we read this article, copy and save the success stories for our references.

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