Women-Led Indian Startups That Turned Unicorns

Sejal Raval Sejal Raval Anik Banerjee Anik Banerjee
May 16, 2022 9 min read
Women-Led Indian Startups That Turned Unicorns

In this fast-paced world, where the speed of women is always compared with that of men, long gone has the time when women lagged. The exponential growth of women in all possible areas of interest has proven how unstoppable feminine energy has become. One of the many fields where women are leaving a significant mark is the startup industry. With every passing year, there is a notable amount of growth in the unicorns led by women. The entrepreneurial venture is welcomed more warmly than ever with every passing quarter.

  1. Priyanka Gill - MyGlamm (The Good Glamm group)
  2. Naiyya Saggi - BabyChakra, MyGlamm (The Good Glamm Group)
  3. Falguni Nayar - Nykaa
  4. Upasana Taku - MobiKwik
  5. Divya Gokulnath - Byjuโ€™s
  6. Ghazal Alagh - Mamaearth
  7. Rajoshi Ghosh - Hasura
  8. Gazal Kalra - Rivigo
  9. Dr. Garima Sawhney - Pristyn Care
  10. Ruchi Kalra - Ofbusiness
  11. Smita Deorah - LEAD
  12. Ambiga Subramanian - Mu Sigma
Women-led Indian Startups

Priyanka Gill - MyGlamm (The Good Glamm group)

MyGlamm's Valuation: $1.2+ Billion
Year Founded: 2014
Unicorn Status: 2021

MyGlamm - Women-Led Startups That Turned Unicorns

Founder and CEO of POPxo, Priyanka Gill is now a successful entrepreneur, journalist, and angel investor. She started her journey by starting a digital community platform for women- POPxo. It was started in 2014 to engage millennial women with content related to Personal care, beauty, and Fashion. In no time POPxo emerged as the largest digital platform with roaring popularity. Later in 2021, Gill joined Darpan Sanghvi (MyGlamm) and Naiyya Saggi (BabyChakra) to establish "The Good Glamm Group" to form a house of brands. They further strengthen each other's position in the beauty and personal care market to rule the Digital FMCG industry.

Naiyya Saggi - BabyChakra, MyGlamm (The Good Glamm Group)

The Good Glamm Group Valuation: $1.2+ Billion

Year Founded: 2021
Unicorn Status: 2021

Naiyya Saggi - Founder, The Good Glamm Group - Women-led Unicorn Startups of India

Also known as the founder of BabyChakra, who is also the Co-founder and the President of MyGlamm, and the Co-founder of The Good Glamm Group along with Priyanka Gill, Naiyya Saggi is counted as one of the most successful young woman entrepreneurs in India. She completed her MBA from Harvard Business School, where she was a Fulbright and J.N.Tata scholar, after obtaining a BALLB (Hons). Saggi served as a Business Analyst at McKinsey & Company, and eventually, after completing her MBA, she founded BabyChakra, then became the Co-founder and President at MyGlamm, and eventually became the Co-Founder of The Good Glamm Group, when Darpan Sanghvi, Priyanka Gill, and Naiyya Saggi from came together to establish The Good Glamm Group in September 2021.

Falguni Nayar - Nykaa

Nykaa's Valuation: $12.86+ Billion
Year Founded: 2012
Unicorn Status: 2020

Nykaa's name stands with one of the very few female-led profitable unicorns. Falguni Nayar, an IIM Ahemdabad alumni quit her job at the age of 49 in 2012 to finally set a rolling pin for her entrepreneurial journey that was sitting in her head for a long time. Nykaa gained instant popularity among Indian women due to its wide range of beauty segments. The Falguni Nayar-led company turned unicorn in 2020 and is hailed as the first women-led unicorn startup in India. After the Nykaa IPO, which was oversubscribed 81.78 times, the company managed to catapult its valuation to more than $12 bn, and Falguni Nayyar, who owns more than 53% stakes in the company, turned to be the richest self-made female Indian billionaire. ย 


Top 35 Successful Women Entrepreneurs In India [2022 Updated List]
Women entrepreneurship is growing at a fast pace in Idnia. so we have listed some of the most successful women entrepreneurs in India.

Upasana Taku - MobiKwik

MobiKwik Valuation: $1+ Billion

Year Founded: 2009
Unicorn Status: 2021

Upasana Taku - Founder of MobiKwik 

Upasana Taku is the founder of MobiKwik, one of the most prominent Indian payment service providers that offer mobile phone-based payment systems and digital wallet services. Bipin Preet Singh and his wife, Upasana Taku, founded MobiKwik in 2009, the valuation of which reached $1 bn in October 2021.

Upasana Taku is a Stanford University graduate who completed her MS in Management Science and Engineering from the same university. Starting as a Business Analyst, Product Management at HSBC, Upasana founded MobiKwik, where she is still serving the role of the Chairperson, Cofounder and COO. Taku was also the Senior Product Manager at PayPal, Consultant at multiple companies and the Co-founder of ZaakPay.

Divya Gokulnath - Byjuโ€™s

Byju's Valuation: $18+ Billion
Year Founded: 2011
Unicorn Status: 2018

Divya Gokulnath, a businesswoman and a teacher, happens to be the co-founder and the Director of Byjuโ€™s. Byju's is an Indian educational technology (EdTech) online tutoring firm. It was founded in 2011 by the power duo - Byju Raveendran and Divya Gokulnath. Over the years the tutoring app has evolved and grown into one of India's most valuable unicorns with a current valuation of $18 billion. Divya Gokulnath has played a key role right from the beginning by offering the expertise she had as a former teacher.

Ghazal Alagh - Mamaearth

Mamaearth's Valuation: $1.2+ Billion
Year Founded: 2016
Unicorn Status: 2022

Founder of Mamaearth, Ghazal Alagh, and her story has caught the eyes of many Indians after starring as an investor in the reality show called shark tank. Her brand, "Mamaearth" offers a wide range of skincare, and beauty products and is very popular among Indian households. Mamaearth was founded by Ghazal and her husband Varun Alagh in the year 2016. Her goal is to make the beauty industry chemical toxicity free.

Rajoshi Ghosh - Hasura

Hasura's Valuation: $1+ Billion
Year Founded: 2017
Unicorn Status: 2022

Rajoshi Ghosh happens to be a National University of Singapore and Stanford Ignite alumni. Hasura went from being a home-cooked food delivery company to a Software-as-a-service company. It was founded by Rajoshi Ghosh and Tanmai Gopal in the year 2017. In 2022, it entered the unicorn club soon after raising $100 million in series C funding.

Gazal Kalra - Rivigo

Rivigo's Valuation: $1.07+ Billion
Year Founded: 2014
Unicorn Status: 2019

Gazal Kalra along with Deepak Garg visioned revolutionizing truck driving in India by establishing Rivigo Services. It was founded in 2014. It is a tech-enabled Cargo service offered in India. In the year 2019, the company turned into a unicorn. Gazal quit the company's board in 2018. She is currently working on her new startup, which is in stealth mode.

Dr. Garima Sawhney - Pristyn Care

Pristyn Care's Valuation: $1.4+ Billion
Year Founded: 2018
Unicorn Status: 2021

Dr. Garima Sawhney is a Gynecologist by profession. She, along with Harsimarbir Singh and Vaibhav Kapoor founded Pristyn Care in the year 2018. Pristyn Care focuses on availing surgeries and treatment with ease to the masses. The company has a widespread partnership with over 500 hospitals spreading out in the major cities of India. The healthcare-tech startup entered the $1 billion club when it raised around $100 mn in funds via its series E round in December 2021.


Sudha Murthy Success Story: Career, Early Life, Personal Life, Books, and Awards
Sudha Murthy is the chairperson of the Infosys Foundation and wife of N. R. Narayana Murthy. Lets look at the success story of Sudha Murthy.

Ruchi Kalra - Ofbusiness

Ofbusiness' Valuation: $1+ Billion
Year Founded: 2016
Unicorn Status: 2022

39-year-old Ruchi Kalra has been into the startup game for quite a long time. Ofbusiness was founded by Ruchi and her husband Ashish Mahapatra in the year 2016. The company is one of the best raw materials supplying startups in India, which is known for offering a wide range of products at the lowest prices. Ofbusiness turned unicorn in July 2021 and is currently valued at $1.5 bn. The financial services arm of Ofbusiness, Oxyzo is also a unicorn that achieved the unicorn valuation in March 2022. Kalra recently made a statement that her company is all set for its Initial Public Offering.

Smita Deorah - LEAD

LEAD Valuation: $1.1+ Billion
Year Founded: 2012
Unicorn Status: 2022

Smita Deorah - Co-CEO and Co-Founder of LEAD

Smita Deorah is the Co-Founder & Co-CEO of LEAD. It was founded in 2012 by Sumeet Mehta and Smita Deorah. LEAD is a technology-based school Ed-tech company that focuses on transforming the education system in India, ensuring high-quality education for children. LEAD is also a unicorn, and now under the guidance of Smita Deorah, it is giving some of the major players like Unacademy, Byjuโ€™s, UpGrad, Vedantu, and Eruditus a cut-throat competition.

Ambiga Subramanian - Mu Sigma

Mu Sigma's Valuation: $1.5+ Billion (2018)
Year Founded: 2004
Unicorn Status: 2016

Dhiraj Rajaram, Ambiga Subramanian's ex-husband, launched Mu Sigma in 2004. After their divorce, Dhiraj took over as CEO, in addition to being the former CEO of a data analytics service provider with offices in Bangalore (Karnataka) and Illinois (Chicago). Ambiga is also India's very first youngest rich woman who is self-made. With her devotion and expertise, she turned the company into a high-profit-making machine, establishing herself as one of the first self-made women to turn a company into a unicorn in no time. Mu Sigma has last been valued at $1.5 billion, in 2018. The former founder CEO, COO, Head of Innovation, and Head of Talent.

Conclusion

In the Indian startup ecosystem, women have broken the glass ceiling of prejudice and have proved themselves as able leaders, guiding their companies to unicorn valuations and letting them achieve many feats. It is crystal clear that over the recent years, this number kept growing several folds. From Ghazal Alagh's "Mamaearth" to Priyanka Gill's "The Good Glamm Group" and Falguni Nayyarโ€™s โ€œNykaaโ€, the women entrepreneurs of India have left no stone unturned to bring the companies they're leading to greater heights. Indian female entrepreneurs have surpassed the limits of age, qualification, and many other stereotypes and climbed the ladders of great opportunities fearlessly. According to surveys, with women leaders sitting at the top, the culture of the companies also has improved significantly over time.

FAQs

Who are the top female entrepreneurs in India?

A list of the Top Female Entrepreneurs in India are:

  • Falguni Nayar
  • Naiyya Saggi
  • Priyanka Gill
  • Ghazal Alagh
  • Upasana Taku
  • Kiran Mazumdar Shaw
  • Vandana Luthra
  • Indra Nooyi
  • Vani Kola
  • Radhika Ghai Aggarwal
  • Supriya Paul
  • Malini Agarwal

Which are the top startups led by women?

Top women-led startups that turned into unicorns are:

  • MyGlamm (The Good Glamm group)
  • Nykaa
  • Byjuโ€™s
  • MobiKwik
  • Mamaearth
  • MobiKwik
  • Hasura
  • Rivigo
  • Pristyn Care
  • Ofbusiness
  • LEAD
  • Mu Sigma

Who are the women who lead billion-dollar startups in India?

Some of the most prominent billion-dollar startups led by women in India are:

  • Priyanka Gill - MyGlamm (The Good Glamm Group)
  • Naiyya Saggi - The Good Glamm Group
  • Falguni Nayar - Nykaa
  • Upasana Taku - MobiKwik
  • Divya Gokulnath - Byjuโ€™s
  • Ghazal Alagh - Mamaearth
  • Rajoshi Ghosh - Hasura
  • Gazal Kalra - Rivigo
  • Dr. Garima Sawhney - Pristyn Care
  • Ruchi Kalra - Ofbusiness
  • Smita Deorah - LEAD
  • Ambiga Subramanian - Mu Sigma

How many unicorns does India have now?

India has over 100 unicorn startups, as of May 2022.

Which are the women-led highest-valued startups in India?

Nykaa is the highest valued startup in India led by Falguni Nayar with a valuation of $12.86 Billion.

Must have tools for startups - Recommended by StartupTalky

Subscribe to StartupTalky

Get the latest insights delivered to you right in your inbox

Great! Next, complete checkout for full access to StartupTalky.
Welcome back! You've successfully signed in.
You've successfully subscribed to StartupTalky.
Success! Your account is fully activated, you now have access to all content.
Success! Your billing info has been updated.
Your billing was not updated.