Nivedit Majumdar Nivedit Majumdar

Exploring the Indian Startup Ecosystem

Editor’s note: At Emberify while starting up it was really interesting and motivating to see the thriving ecosystem around. We worked on building an product based startup on contextual technologies inspired by the potential and opportunities available in the Indian startup ecosystem. Our analyst Nivedit, did some research on some statistics around some of our favourite startups in India that we are sharing on our blog.


India’s original restaurant search and discovery portal Zomato has surely come a long way since its inception. Founded in 2008 by Deepinder Goyal and Pankaj Chaddah, the unique startup provides information related to restaurants – such as menus, pictures, patron reviews and also contact details for the particular restaurant, along with geo-coded maps.

It’s quite a unique concept, and the records speak for themselves. Zomato is currently a rampaging juggernaut that is aiming to make its presence felt globally, and it raises the bar for Indian startups!


Zomato has raised quite a bit of money from investors. Initially, it had raised $53 Million from organisations such as Info Edge (India) Ltd. and Sequoia Capital over multiple rounds. Later, in November 2014, the company raised an additional $60 Million in a fresh round of funding from new and existing investors.


Overall, the company has raised over $113 Million in just six years, which is quite a brilliant feat in itself!


Zomato has quite the international presence as well. The startup currently has over 900 employees located over 20 countries.

As far as the website is concerned, it has an Alexa ranking of 1583. Zomato sees a total of about 35 million visits per month on its website and mobile applications, with the majority of the traffic being generated from its mobile application.


Zomato has been on an acquisition spree lately, with 5 acquisitions already under its belt. It is interesting to note that all these acquisitions – which are mainly restaurant review and search service applications – are spread out throughout the globe. Here’s an infographic to show Zomato’s acquisitions.


Speaking about the competitors, Zomato will see fierce competition in the form of Yelp, GrubHub and OpenTable.

Source : Alexa


The last couple of months of 2014 saw Zomato expanding its operations in Canada as well, with an expansion strategy worth $10 Million. 2015 will see them actively working on their Canada operations, specifically in the Greater Toronto area.

They also aim at entering the US market in the second half of 2015. Besides that, Zomato also plans on expanding its operations and penetrating the European, Southeast Asian and the Australian markets.

Overall, Zomato has quite an interesting strategy. With new features of restaurant payments in the pipeline, and with the recent introduction of advertisements within the mobile app, the Indian startup has quite a few plans in the works as far as generating revenue is concerned.

Moreover, if we go by the trends set by Zomato lately, we see that they have a more inorganic growth, taking into account all the changes in its environment and adapting to them seamlessly. Moreover, they are integrating new elements in their mobile applications and websites – to make a more versatile experience for the end user.

All in all, Zomato has quite a few tricks up its sleeve, and we at Emberify take inspiration from quite a few of their strategies!


Who would have thought of simple cab services making it so large? These companies have extremely specific solutions to everyday problems, and that’s how they instantly connect with their audience. And at the end of the day, isn’t that what all startups hope to achieve?

Ola has had one such incredible journey in India. Established in 2011, Ola (earlier OlaCabs) has come a long way in being a household name as far as a taxi / car rental service is concerned. Over the years, they’ve seen investments being made and have launched new services as well, so they’ve had a pretty wonderful time here in India!


What makes Ola stand out from the other existing taxi services in the country is the presence of a mobile-first approach. Basically, they implemented the ‘book a cab using your phone’ approach before it even became a mainstream trend in this sector.

As of today, it is one of India’s largest marketplaces to provide car rental and point-to-point cab services. This implies that it doesn’t own a fleet of cabs or offers services by itself – it merely acts as the bridging medium between the customers and cab drivers who might be available.

Source : Google Trends


Ola follows the same modus when it comes to offering various services – there’s the luxurious business oriented segment of cabs, called Ola Prime, the more regular Ola Sedan and the most affordable Ola Mini variants.

Ola has also recognized the dearth of safety for female passengers in the country, and has come up with a very unique service – Ola Pink. First of its kind, it offers cab services with a woman driver behind the steering wheel – which is sure to go well if one considers the untoward incidents that occur within other cab services.

Moreover, it shall always have the distinction of being the first Indian cab service that does not restrict itself just to cars – it also has provisions for booking of auto rickshaws. This ensures that the company is basically covering all its bases and is reaching out to clientele in all social groups within the country.


Ola has been extremely successful in what it does, and what better proof to this statement than the numbers! We’ve taken into account all the funding Ola has received so far, and the graph is constantly increasing.



Ola has quite a bit of competition in the Indian market from players such as TaxiforSure, Merucabs and of course, Uber India.

While Uber has a global presence and is widely heralded as the pioneer in this line of work, their stay in India has been shaky, owing to some untoward incidents. Merucabs and TaxiforSure also have a strong market share, but the Alexa rankings for the particular sites show Ola emerging as the winner as far as traffic is concerned.

Source : Alexa


As of now, Ola aims at expanding its operations within the country to more cities, and hope to achieve their cab services to be present in quite a more Indian cities, besides the metropolitan cities it is already based in.

Moreover, their mobile app is now being more streamlined and is also offering the provisions for booking of all their services.

With the right blend of costing (some Ola cab services are cheaper than auto rickshaws!) and quality, aided with more services to cater to all strata of Indian society, Ola can surely be regarded as the Indian startup watching out for!


How can one discuss Indian startups without mentioning one of the biggest startup in recent times? Flipkart has had an amazing journey so far, and ‘online shopping’ has become synonymous with their brand name. Over the years, with constant support for more brands online and with an efficient delivery system, Flipkart has established itself as one of the biggest names in the eCommerce sectors in India!


2014 has been quite an eventful year for the Bangalore based eCommerce site, with the portal raising over $1.9 Billion through the year. This amount has come from quite a few investors over three round, which we’ve laid out in the form of the following statistics:




This is where things heat up for Flipkart. The company is constantly locked in a battle with other India based eCommerce firms.

The main competition in this regard comes from Snapdeal and Amazon India. Both these companies have established themselves as the most up and coming eCommerce portals.

Source : Alexa

Now, an interesting thing to note is that Foreign Direct Investment is not yet prevalent in India, and online marketplaces still have their share of limitations as far as technology and outreach is concerned in the country. Keeping this in mind, the three sites are doing spectacularly well, and Flipkart’s only chance at trumping the opposition would be key strategic and marketing decisions.

Source : Google Trends


We won’t harp upon the history or the specific details of Flipkart in general. Simply because their plans for this year are far more interesting.

2014 saw a trend within Flipkart, wherein it began acquiring some companies, prominent of which was Myntra – another eCommerce portal. According to reports from the Indian website LiveMint, Flipkart will be investing in or acquiring about 15 – 20 more companies this year, which might also include a mobile advertising firm – AdIQuity.

According to Flipkart chief exec Sachin Bansal, the company was aiming to make acquisitions in the fields of logistics, technology, mobile and other eCommerce sites. With a strong backing in the form of funds, Flipkart has an improved Mergers and Acquisitions wing too, and they’ve also roped in Nishant Verman from venture capital firm Canaan Partners to spearhead the department. All this points to increased acquisitions and mergers in 2015.

Of course, this is still under covers for now, and there haven’t been any official statements from any of the companies. However, Flipkart’s foray into the world of acquiring companies comes at a time when the competition is increasing, and building up on the arsenal is the only choice in hand.

Let it suffice to say that Flipkart has quite a few plans in the works for 2015 as far as mergers and acquisitions are concerned, and we’ll be seeing quite a bit of activity from them!


Little Eye Labs does quite an interesting and important job in the sector of mobile applications – it uses analytics and monitoring tools to improve various mobile apps, and is therefore very pivotal in this arena.

But it’s been creating headlines lately, and a valuable factor in this trend is the acquisition of Little Eye Labs by Facebook, which is quite an important move for the Indian startup ecosystem.


Established in May 2012, Little Eye Labs has seen quite a lot of investments from seed investors Venture East Fund and GSF Superangels – who have invested a combined $200,000 – $300,000 within the company.


The Little Eye Labs team – that is Bangalore based – will be joining the Facebook team at their Menlo Park headquarters and will be working hand in hand to develop analytical tools for app development.


The acquisition of this company by Facebook holds immense potential and scope for future startups that are sprouting up in India. The onus and spotlight has been on startups from Israel and Chile lately, and a startup being acquired from India has opened quite a few doors as far as the Indian startup ecosystem is concerned. It adds more support to the observation that Indian startups are coming up with viable ideas and are ready to shine on a global platform – and the recognition in the form of an acquisition by a big corp is just what the ecosystem needed.