India is a global leader in the number of startups, with many talented entrepreneurs taking the plunge to bring their ideas to life. Despite the inherent risks, startups in India have a promising future thanks to the creative techniques and unique business models devised by the country's youth.
Bootstrapping, which involves starting a business with one's own finances without external funding, is a popular approach among Indian entrepreneurs. This independent method has paved the way for numerous successful bootstrapped startups in India, some of which have been thriving for over 25 years. These startups span various sectors, including food, software, dating, and shopping, and have honed their strategies to cater perfectly to Indian households.
Overall, the future looks bright for bootstrapped startups in India as they continue to innovate and meet the needs of the country's dynamic market. Join us on this exploration of India's top bootstrapped startups, where we will showcase their inspiring stories, shed light on their remarkable achievements, and delve into the secrets of their success.
Top Bootstrapped Startups In India
Here are some of the most successful bootstrapped startups in India.
- Zoho Corporation
|Deals In||Data visualization solutions|
Pallav Nadhani started it. It has spread in over one hundred eighteen countries and is used mainly in the United States, Korea, and Europe. It has over ten million users. It has expanded many times its original size and has been recognized widely. Its staff has also been increased up to two hundred and fifty times and its revenue.
Nadhani worked alone developing the product, its website, sales, marketing, and customer support for the first three years. Also, she independently set up the whole company, and the company used up the money it made in expanding its area of business. These apps are mainly used because of their ease and effectiveness in depicting ideas in charts.
|Company Name||Zoho Corporation|
|Deals In||Online productivity tools and business software solutions|
|Founders||Sridhar Vembu, Tony G. Thomas, Sreenivas Kanumuru|
It is a company that makes business tools based on the web. It offers a range of software that office workers need. It was founded as early as 1996. In its previous stage, it was also known by the name AdventNet. It is privately owned. There are over fifty applications that are a part of the software set provided by it. It helps in conducting office functions with ease.
Sridhar Vembu founded it along with Tony Thomas. Zoho was founded in the year 1996 and has now spread over the globe. Its headquarters is in Chennai, which is in India. Its total assets include five hundred seventy million US dollars. It has many employees, which is more than ten thousand people working under it. It has a total of twelve offices worldwide.
It is a bootstrapped startup as it first started with the two brothers who set up this company with the help of Tony Thomas. Sridhar agreed to do the sales himself and printed cards for business. After getting many contracts, they started focusing their attention on making new products. After the year nineteen ninety-eight, when the sales of this company crossed the one million mark, they started getting paid and hiring people t work for them.
|Deals In||Enterprise mobility management (EMM) solutions|
42 Gears provide a set of software tools that are a single management system used in mobiles, personal computers, and other devices. It also helps in other functions such as securing the phone, creating content, collaborating, etc. It also has a private mobile testing app that goes by the name Astrofarm. It helps in mobile security, management, EMM, BYOD, MDM, etc.
It was founded in 2009 by Onkar Singh and Prakash Gupta. It has over eighteen thousand customers and has spread across one hundred fifteen different countries across the globe. It has been successfully used in more than five million devices and has one hundred thirty partners worldwide. It is still privately owned and gaining popularity with social media advertising.
It is bootstrapped as Onkar and Prakash set up this company on their own. They decided to risk it, as they were sure that they would be stable once the economy had recovered. His thirteen years of experience in the software field helped them create proper tools that would be helpful to people. Also, the company flourished after they made a profit on their own.
|Deals In||Online retail stockbroking and investment services|
|Founders||Nithin Kamath, Nikhil Kamath|
It is a platform that deals explicitly with electronic trading and provides financial services. Its products include kites, coins, and consoles, and it offers services for trading with commodities, mutual funds, government funds, bonds, equity, etc. It reached its peak in the year 2020. The name comes from the words Zero and Rodha combined.
Nithin Kamath founded this Zerodha in the year 2010. Its headquarters is in Bangalore. Its income is ₹4,042 crores. And at present, it has over one thousand one hundred people working under it. About five million people are using it now, and it has become the largest retail stockbroker in India, with almost fifteen percent of stocks from the market at its name.
It is a bootstrapped startup as, In June two thousand twenty, Zerodha attained a self-assessed valuation of over one billion USD. The money that was used to set up the company was their own. In the year two thousand fifteen, Zerodha won the Bootstrap Champ trophy. They have to rely totally on their salaries for their company's growth.
|Deals In||Customer engagement software|
|Founders||Girish Mathrubootham, Shan Krishnasamy|
Freshworks is a global software company that provides customer engagement software solutions to businesses. Their suite of products includes helpdesk software, CRM, marketing automation, and more, helping organizations streamline customer support, sales, and marketing processes for improved customer experiences and business growth. Furthermore, Freshworks has expanded its product portfolio to include Freshservice (IT service management software), Freshchat (live chat software), Freshcaller (cloud-based call center software), and more.
It was founded by Girish Mathrubootham and Shan Krishnasamy in 2010, with the aim of offering a cloud-based customer support software solution. Freshworks started as a bootstrapped company in India and now has gained recognition and a loyal customer base worldwide.
|Deals In||Online coupon codes, deals, and discounts for online shopping sites in India|
|Founders||Ashok Reddy, Bhanu Raj|
GrabOn is probably the first company that comes to our mind when we think about the bootstrapped business of India. Founded by Ashok Reddy in 2013, it is the largest and leading affiliate e-commerce brand in the country. With its wide range of coupons and deals on various renowned brands, it has truly made the shopping experience for online shoppers easy and affordable.
GrabOn ensures that its deals and coupons are regularly updated and verified to maintain their authenticity and usability. Users can explore deals based on specific categories or search for deals from their preferred online stores. The platform also provides a seamless user experience with features like deal alerts, personalized recommendations, and user reviews.
|Deals In||Customer support and helpdesk software|
|Founders||Shalin Jain, Shervin John Thulasidasan|
HappyFox, founded in 2011 by Shalin Jain, started as a bootstrap company, relying on its internal resources and self-funding to establish its customer support and helpdesk software solutions. As a bootstrap company, HappyFox demonstrated remarkable determination, resilience, and a commitment to building a successful business without relying on external investments.
It is a help desk and customer support software solution company. Over the years, the company has grown by leaps and bounds, becoming the best ticketing software for modern IT teams. Trusted and used by several fortune 500 brands, the company offers mind-blowing customer support all the time. Moreover, the company has also expanded its business and has its presence in California. So, if you are looking for a smart help desk software, happyFox is all you need!
|Deals In||Online dating platform|
QuackQuack is an Indian online dating platform founded in 2010 by Ravi Mittal. It is headquartered in Hyderabad, India. It is known to have been a bootstrap company during its early stages. QuackQuack is designed to connect singles and facilitate meaningful relationships, friendships, and matchmaking.
With more than 4 million users, over 800k downloads, the company has seen 2.05 million matches. Going forward, the company is planning to start an in-app video chat feature using which strangers can have a video call if they want to. The company is also planning to launch its app in nearly 10 international languages.
|Deals In||Inspirational and motivational products|
Thinkpot is another successful bootstrapped company which is doing just fabulous work in creating and offering inspirational and motivational products. It is a leading merchandise brand in India which has gained huge fame due to its incredible range of products. Established in 2014 by Sumit and Ritesh, the company today deals in more than 1000 exemplary products. From stationary to bags and pouches, from drinkware to palo healthcare, you can find a vast collection of products at an affordable price. All the products of the company and designed to meet the trendy taste and preferences of today’s generation. They are made using unique technology and are sure to be of supreme quality.
|Deals In||Customer service software|
|Founders||Varun Shoor, Vikas Bhagat|
Kayako, a customer service software company, initially started as a bootstrap company. Founded in 2001 by Varun Shoor and Vikas Bhagat, Kayako focused on developing innovative solutions to help businesses improve their customer support processes. Kayako's bootstrapping journey involved careful financial management, strategic planning, and a focus on delivering value to its customers. By staying lean and agile, the company could adapt quickly to market demands, invest in product enhancements, and provide exceptional customer service.
The brand is known to provide customer service and help desk software services to businesses. The company provides a brilliant support to lakhs of firms and is still growing big day by day. Besides this, it also offers some excellent solutions such as e-commerce support, ticketing software, customer support, shared inbox and much more.
|Deals In||Conversion rate optimization (CRO) software|
Wingify is recognized as one of the successful bootstrapped startups in India. It was founded in 2009 by Paras Chopra with the aim of providing conversion rate optimization (CRO) software solutions to businesses. By relying on its internal resources and revenue generation, Wingify managed to grow and establish itself as a leading player in the CRO software market without external funding or investments.
Currently, thousands of customers use the extra-ordinary services provided by the company. With its par-excellent solutions such as e-commerce, SaaS, e-learning, media/publication and enterprises, Wingify has today become the country’s pioneering tool for optimizing a business’s online presence.
|Deals In||eCommerce merchandising|
|Founders||Antony Kattukaran, Palaniappan Murugappan|
Tagalys is an Indian company that specializes in eCommerce merchandising solutions. Established by Antony Kattukaran and Palaniappan Chellapan, Tagalys has become the go-to option for retailers to optimize their business. Their software platform helps online retailers optimize and personalize their product search, navigation, and recommendations to enhance the shopping experience for customers. This company is on a mission to provide dynamic merchandising to various businesses. So, if someone wants to build and boost the revenue of an online store, Tagalys can be their best companion.
|Deals In||Social media marketing tools|
|Founders||Jimit Bagadiya, Tejas Mehta|
Social media has become a powerful tool in today’s world. It can easily make or break any business. Last on our list is one such bootstrapped company ‘SocialPilot’ that helps businesses to scale up their social media channels by offering social media marketing tools. Be it brand collaborations, engaging posts or insightful analysis, the company will take care of all your social media activities and give you the best results at the best price.
As we know, bootstrapping means being independent in every way and keeping everything in our own hands; it reduces the chances of getting into debt. Considering that most startups fail (almost ninety percent), we cannot guarantee that a bootstrapped startup will always be successful. The model of business and the goods that it deals with should be unique. Rest is a matter of luck regarding how the public responds to these products. But as bootstrapping makes the company independent, there are fewer chances of going indebted if it doesn't succeed. All that is needed to make a company work is innovation.
Bootstrapping is a good idea at present. the Thriving ecosystem of bootstrapped startups in India is a testament to the entrepreneurial talent, innovative ideas, and unwavering determination of Indian entrepreneurs. As they continue to disrupt industries, create value, and make a positive impact, these bootstrapped startups are shaping the future of India's business landscape.
What does it mean for a startup to be bootstrapped?
Bootstrapping refers to starting and growing a business using the founder's personal funds and resources, without external investment or funding.
Which are the top Indian startups that are bootstrapped?
Top Indian Startups that are bootstrapped are:
Which Indian bootstrapped startup became unicorn?
Zerodha is an Indian bootstrapped startup that became unicorn in 2020.
Why do startups need bootstrapping?
Startups may choose bootstrapping to maintain control, avoid debt or equity financing, build resourcefulness, and prove viability before seeking external funding. It fosters independence and allows founders to retain ownership and decision-making power.
What makes a bootstrapped company survive?
If you too want to kick-start a bootstrap business, you must keep the below things in mind.
- Come up with an innovative and unique business idea
- Hire excellent employees as employees will be your true investment
- Control your expenses
- Focus on your customers
- Keep an eye on your metrics
What are the challenges faced by bootstrapped startups?
Bootstrapped startups often face challenges such as limited resources, slower growth, and increased financial constraints. They need to carefully manage their finances, prioritize investments, and find creative solutions to overcome hurdles.