Top 10 Successful Startups by Women
Women have existed on earth as long as men have, so technically this should be a world of equal rights and equal opportunities for both men and women. Yet, that doesn’t seem to be the scenario as almost every industry, every field, and every entity always seems to have only men at the top tier residing, presiding and ruling. Well, it is no different when it comes to the world of startups.
If a common man in our country is asked to name some of the most successful startups of recent times, quick answers would be Flipkart, SWIGGY, OLA – all started by men. Business is always believed to be a man’s world because business is always hard. Business needs a lot of time and effort, so it is not believed to be a woman’s cup of tea. Business needs many years to start yielding returns and society thinks that women don’t have the time for it.
Breaking these common myths and gender stereotypes, a few women have risen to the top in the entrepreneur world of startups. They have defied all terms, cleared a path and marched along a difficult road to reach the final finish line. These powerful women with their success stories are a source of inspiration for many others who are looking to walk the path of entrepreneurship.
Here are the top 10 successful startups by Indian women in India.
NYKAA’s and Falguni Nayar
Falguni Nayar, the founder of NYKAA, is India’s second self-made female billionaire today. NYKAA coined from the Sanskrit word nayika(heroine), seems so apt for our heroine Falguni Nayar who started this startup when she was close to 50 years, an age when most women are thinking of retirement. This online retail of beauty and personal care which later went on to add fashion products has its largest consumers in the millennials of our country.
Today NYKAA not just runs an online store, but has more than 70 physical stores in 40 different cities of India. Since its IPO listing, NYKAA has big plans to expand further. All these make NYKAA one of the top successful startups of recent times.
ZIVAME and co-founder Richa Kar
Richa Kar founded ZIVAME, a Bangalore based startup in 2011. This online lingerie store came as a blessing to a lot of Indian women especially those in small cities and towns where lingerie was mostly sold by male shopkeepers.
Starting with an initial investment of 35 lakhs, today ZIVAME has a valuation of more than 681 crores. Focusing and working towards your dream is what ZIVAME’s success story is all about.
Kiran Mazumdar Shaw’s Biocon Limited
Kiran Mazumdar Shaw, the 68th most powerful woman in the world, according to Forbes 2019. With a degree in Master Brewery, Kiran returned to India with high hopes. She was in for a rude shock when she was rejected as a master brewer in India as it was considered a man’s job. Undeterred she went on to start Biocon India in the garage of her house with a seed capital of 10,000 rupees in 1978.
Today, this firm has become a multinational company with two subsidiaries with its worth in crores. Kiran has received Padma Bhushan Award for her pioneering work in the field of Biotechnology.
Mobikwik and founder Upasana Taku
Upasana Taku is touted as one of India’s most powerful women entrepreneurs. To simplify mobile transactions in India, Upasana along with her husband Bipin Preet Singh founded Mobikwik in 2009.
It took many years of struggle and hard work for the company to reach its present glory. As Mobikwik scaled new heights, so did Upasana. She further went on to start another venture called Zaakpay. Upasana’s success story is truly an inspiration for all women who want to shatter the glass ceiling in the field of tech startups.
Radhika Ghai Aggarwal and Shopclues.com
Radhika Ghai started the e-commerce venture Shopclues.com in 2011 with a team of just 10 members. By 2016 Shopclues became India’s fourth unicorn company. Radhika discouraged gender-based discrimination in her company and encouraged and gave equal opportunities to her women employees.
Though this company was listed as a unicorn company, it couldn’t survive over the long run due to some internal disputes and was eventually taken over by a Singapore based Qoo10. But this did not deter Radhika, who has already embarked on her next venture Kindlife.in – a marketplace for organic products.
Divya Gokul Nath’s BYJU’s
Divya Gokulnath, dynamic woman who started her career at the age of 21 as a teacher. Along with her husband Byju Raveendran she launched their flagship product, BYJU’S – the learning application in 2015. Today BYJU’S is one of the world’s most valuable educational technology startups with over 42 million registered subscriptions.
With several prominent investors backing up BYJU’S, it is valued at US $18billion in the present. In 2020, Divya Gokulnath was recognized as the Most Powerful Woman in Indian Business. From teaching in classrooms to making it to the Forbes list, it has indeed been a journey of sorts.
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Mama Earth and Ghazal Alagh
Founded in 2016 by Ghazal Alagh and her husband Varun Alagh, Mama Earth is Asia’s 1st brand with Madesafe Certified Products. This young mama started this venture with the objective of providing 100% toxic-free products and making early parenting easy for new parents. Despite facing some initial hurdles, she and her husband were able to build on the brand and make it a great success.
Chitra Gurnani Daga’s Thrillophilia
An avid traveller, Chitra decided to take her passion to the next level by starting a travel company along with her husband. And that is how Thrillophilia was born in 2009. From the very beginning, Chitra had a very clear vision of her goals. Her efforts and determination have made Thrillophilia one of the top travel websites in today’s times.
Vandana Luthra and VLCC
Beauty and wellness queen Vandana transformed the wellness industry in India with her brand VLCC. In the 1980s, when beauty was only considered skin deep, Vandana decided to go one step further to offer weight management and beauty programs through VLCC. Today VLCC operates in 326 places in 153 cities and 13 countries around the world.
Tjori and Manasi Gupta
India is known for its rich Indian handicrafts especially in the international market. Keeping that in mind, Manasi Gupta launched Tjori in 2013. Her e-commerce website promotes Indian handicrafts with a touch of modernism not only in India but also on a global platform.
In a country where socio-economic barriers and a male-dominated society hinders an Indian woman from stepping into the world of entrepreneurship, these gutsy women have decided to set an example and lead the way.
Hoping for a better tomorrow where more women dare to make their startup dreams come true.
Wonderful article, Saranya. Very informative.
Great work saranya. I wish you good luck for your upcoming
Thank you Suneetha for your kind words.
This is a great read! Not just informative also very motivating!