15 Most Promising App Startups In India

Melanie Ring | October 12, 2016

App Business

Indian city skyline illustration

Not only is India one of the fastest growing tech hubs in the world, it’s also the youngest startup nation. More than 72% of its startup founders are younger than 35 years. These bold, young entrepreneurs are embracing mobile technology. And Bangalore, India’s third largest city, is the country’s biggest tech hub with New Delhi and Mumbai not far behind.

According to a report by Compass, it’s the success of startups like Flipkart and InMobi (both part of a widening Unicorn club) that is helping to circulate wealth and expertise, and attract the attention of international investors. Last year, out of the top 20 startup ecosystems in the world, Bangalore saw the most growth in VC investment.

However, there are concerns that despite huge investment in India’s startup ecosystem, big exits are missing. Between 2014 and 2015, Indian startups raised $12.7 billion while exits totalled just $1.9 billion, India’s Economic Times reports.

Still, India is ramping up its efforts to boost tech innovation. Nasscom’s 10,000 startups initiative is just one of a number of programmes set up to foster entrepreneurship. It estimates that, by 2020 there will be around 11,500 tech startups in India. Earlier this year, the Indian government launched its Startup India campaign, increased its startups grant allocation by 450% and asked all the states to set up startup hubs and incubators to help budding entrepreneurs.

While India’s startup world is gearing up for more growth, Indian app entrepreneurs are innovating in m-commerce, digital healthcare, artificial intelligence (AI) apps and more. Here’s our pick of the most promising app startups in India.

HealthifyMe logo

Developed by a team of doctors, nutritionists and fitness trainers, HealthifyMe helps users achieve their fitness and weight loss goals. The app syncs to all leading wearables allowing users to track their activity and calories, and share this data with fitness coaches. It’s the only health app in India to receive Google Play’s Top Developer Badge – a mark of quality. In 2016, the Bangalore-based startup raised $6 million in a Series A round led by IDG Ventures India, Inventus Capital and Blume Ventures. The money will fund product expansion and new hires.

  • Led by: co-founder and CEO Tushar Vashisht
  • Location: Bangalore

 

SlamdunQ logo

SlamdunQ develops apps for wearable devices to help people improve their performance in sport. Apps aimed at cricketers and golfers record players’ movement data which can be sent to remote coaches for feedback. SlamdunQ won the Google Launchpad contest in 2016 and pitched at the Startup India Standup India event, a government initiative to drive entrepreneurship and support early stage startups.

  • Led by: Madhuvanthi Ananth
  • Location: Bangalore

 

DailyRounds logo

DailyRounds is a mobile app and social network for doctors. The platform allows doctors to publish case studies, articles and images and share insights. DailyRounds was part of Microsoft Ventures’ India summer acceleration programme 2015 and the app now boasts 250,000 users around the world. The Bangalore-based startup recently announced funding (undisclosed amount) from Accel India, Beenos Partners, Powerhouse Ventures, and Asuka Holding. That’s in addition to the $500,000 seed raised last year. After gaining traction in India (60% of its users are based in India), DailyRounds plans to make a big push in the West, specifically the US.

  • Led by: co-founder and CEO Dr Deepu Sebin
  • Location: Bangalore

 

Haptik logo

Haptik is a mobile concierge app that allows users to complete tasks including booking travel, ordering food and shopping online using a chatbot. The app now has over one million downloads and Haptik is partnered with Samsung, Flipkart, and Cleartrip to name just a few. In 2016, the app startup raised $11.2 million in a Series B investment from Times Internet. It is now working towards increasing the app’s artificial intelligence capabilities.

  • Led by: co-founder and CEO Aarkrit Vaish
  • Location: Mumbai

 

Wooplr logo

Wooplr is a fashion discovery app that is transforming the way women in India shop for fashion. This year, the startup made two high profile hires, new Senior Advisor Rajiv Mehta (CEO of Arvind Lifestyle) and Head of Commerce Rajesh Kamra (co-founder of Koovs). In 2016, Wooplr secured an undisclosed amount of funding from investors, including the co-founders of InMobi, to add to last year’s $5 million Series A raise. The app is used by more than 2 million women in India.

  • Led by: co-founder and CEO Arjun Zacharia
  • Location: Bangalore, Delhi and Mumbai

 

DriveU logo

DriveU in an app that allows users to get on-demand drivers for personal cars. DriveU is already available in Bangalore, Chennai, Delhi, Mumbai and Pune; and is set to add Gurgaon to the list with the acquisition of on-demand driver service CallAtHome. The startup raised $1 million from Unitus Seed Fund, in 2016, and plans to reach 1,000 partner-drivers by the end of the year.

  • Led by: co-founder and CEO Ramprasad Shastry
  • Location: Bangalore

 

Byju logo

It’s been a stellar year for online education startup Byju, whose learning app provides video lessons and lectures for Indian school kids. In 2016, Byju raised a $50 million Series D round led by Mark Zuckerberg’s venture fund. That’s on top of the $75 million raised a few months earlier from Sequoia India and Sofina. Byju says it has over 120,000 paid annual subscribers and the mobile app has racked up 2.5 million downloads.

  • Led by: founder and CEO Byju Raveendran
  • Location: Bangalore

 

Runnr app logo

In 2016, Roadrunnr acquired TinyOwl and rebranded as Runnr with the ambition to build the Uber-for-food delivery. Runnr will now focus on the consumer side, to compete with rivals like Swiggy and FoodPanda, and the app is currently live in Bangalore and Mumbai. In August, the food delivery startup got a boost from $7 million of new funding from Nexus Venture Partners and Blume Venture Partners.

  • Led by: co-founder and CEO Mohit Kumar
  • Location: Bangalore

 

Little app logo

Little is a hyper-local app for discovering the best deals in restaurants, films, hotels, salons, gyms and spas. Little has enrolled over 15,000 merchants and offers deals in 11 cities across India. 2015 was a big year for the startup. It acquired Chandigarh-based deals marketplace Trideal and raised $50 million in venture funding led by Paytm. This year is proving just as eventful for Little. It secured an undisclosed amount of funding from Singapore’s Sovereign wealth fund GIC and launched the app’s augmented reality feature, allowing users to discover hyper-local deals by panning their phone in their location.

  • Led by: co-founder and CEO Manish Chopra
  • Location: Bangalore

 

Dunzo app logo

Dunzo is a personal task management app that uses artificial intelligence (AI) and human operators to get everyday tasks done. Built during a time of increasing global interest in mobile concierge and chat-based commerce, Dunzo’s growth means it now handles 10,000 transactions per month.  In 2016, the Bangalore-based startup raised $650,000 in a Series A funding from Blume Ventures, Aspada Ventures and angel investors Rajan Anandan and Sandipan Chattopadhyay. It’s using the funds to develop more automation.

  • Led by: Dalvir Suri, Kabeer Biswas, Ankur Aggarwal and Mukund Jha
  • Location: Bangalore

 

Grow Fit logo

Mobile health startup Grow Fit offers a chat-based coaching programme to help Indians improve their physical and mental health. Grow Fit is backed by entrepreneurship platform GrowthStory and recently bought nutritional beverages startup Drink King. The Bangalore-based startup says the deal will help expand its services to include customised diet plans and healthy meal replacements. Grow Fit boasts over 300 million users.

  • Led by: founder and CEO Jyotsna Pattabiraman
  • Location: Bangalore

 

Maya-logo

Period tracking app Maya (previously LoveCycles) was built in India and has millions of users worldwide. Maya is taking advantage of increased smartphone use in remote parts of India to help women better manage their menstrual health. This year, new funding ($700,000 from Prime Venture Partners) allowed Maya to expand its presence in India and launch Hindi language support for the app.

  • Led by: founder and CEO John Paul
  • Location: Bangalore

 

MoneyTap logo

MoneyTap was founded by serial entrepreneurs Bala Parthasarathy, Kunal Varma and Anuj Kacker. Bala also founded Snapfish, which was later sold to Hewlett Packard. The fintech startup is on a mission to solve the credit problem for middle-income Indians and has launched India’s first app-based ‘credit line’, allowing customers to get credit from partner banks (including RBL Bank) through the app. MoneyTap is currently available to people living in Delhi NCR, Bangalore, Mumbai, Chennai and Hyderabad.

  • Led by: co-founder and CEO Bala Parthasarathy
  • Location: Bangalore (headquarters)

 

MagicX

MagicX is an artificial intelligence (AI) app that helps users carry out day-to-day tasks, such as bill payments and grocery shopping, via chat. This year, the Bangalore-based startup raised a $1 million seed from investors including Kris Gopalakrishnan former CEO of Infosys. MagicX plans to expand its team and the app’s language capabilities. The app is currently available in English, Hindi and Kannada, with eight more languages coming soon.

  • Led by: founder and CEO Pratyush Prasanna
  • Location: Bangalore

 

Talentrack logo

Talentrack is India’s mobile-first recruitment platform for the media, entertainment and creative industries. It connects actors, models, singers, dancers and photographers with TV channels, producers, agencies, fashion designers and production houses. In 2015, Talentrack raised over $750,000 seed funding from Unigrowth, a Canada-based early stage investment firm, to fuel growth. A year on, the startup partnered with reality show The Voice India to power mobile auditions through the app.

  • Led by: founder and CEO Vineet Bajpai
  • Location: Delhi and Mumbai

 

Summary

Young entrepreneurs benefit greatly from incubators and good mentorships. This year, Apple announced that it’s opening a new app accelerator in Bangalore, to take advantage of India’s entrepreneurial community. The number of Indian startup initiatives launched over the past 12 months is sure to boost its ecosystem. Watch this space to see which startups thrive among tough competition.

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