It’s not uncommon, these days, to find a startup receiving funding every now and then when you turn over to the Business section of News, which is not surprising, as the Startup sector is booming. There’s a lot more than just funding; some of the fascinating stories are of the successful bootstrapped startups founded in India.
Although India has the World’s Third Largest Startup Ecosystem, with 38 Unicorns under its belt, It would be surprising to know that only 8% of over 80,000 Indian startups have venture capital funding, therefore the leftover 92% either have to be bootstrapped companies or have an alternative source of funding.
Bootstrapped startups are an ultimate source of inspiration, considering the fact that over 90% of startups fail within the first 5 years they open up, let alone companies with no external funding, which seems to be an impossible task, as they are starting from scratch. But the following startups have proved their mettle in being independent, and even marched on to become unicorns in recent times.
1. Zerodha, The Unicorn
Let’s start with the all-time favourite, the Bengaluru-based Zerodha.
Founded by the brothers, Nikhil and Nithin Kamath in 2010, It is India’s largest stockbroking app, and one of the rare bootstrapped companies to join the Unicorn club in recent times.
Zerodha has nearly one million active users on its worldwide platform, supported by a meagre 30 member tech team, which is one of the reasons it could exist as a company without any external funding.
Nithin Kamath targeted clients who are young and more tech-savvy to contribute to the market. According to him, he wanted more of a Google-like platform with simple to use rather than a Yahoo-like platform.
Zerodha has managed to grow its earnings by over 15% to Rs 1,093.64 crore in FY20.
2. Zoho, from Adversity to Stardom
Now some spotlight for the Cloud business giant, Zoho, founded by Sridhar Vembu in 1996, which used to be previously known as Advantnet [renamed in 2009].
This bootstrapped startup managed to generate revenues worth $10 million by 2000. However, after the dot-com crash in 2001, most of its clients had whisked away.
It had its entry in the cloud business back in 2005, with the CRM product, Zoho, and they haven’t looked back since then. Today, the bootstrapped company offers a suite of 40 products, which includes productivity, IT support and sales, to over 3 lakh customers worldwide. Zoho managed to record over 55% jump in profit in FY20.
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3. Kaleyra, College Management to Service Giant
Yet another Bengaluru-based Bootstrapped company founded by Aniketh Jain and Ashish Agarwal, Kaleyra is a cloud-based communications startup that connects businesses with their customers through its multi-channel communications platform.
They started out the idea as a college project, and eventually started their company, Solutions Infini, with a capital investment of 4 lakh rupees to sell their college management software in 2009. However, that dream did not take off.
As a final resort, the founders decided to make software for other companies. They soon transformed their bootstrapped startup into a SaaS company. The company was later merged with Italy-based Uniquity in 2016 to become Kaleyra.
They have crossed revenue of Rs 693.6 crore, and its clientele includes Amazon, Ola, Flipkart, AirAsia, Zomato, Cure.fit, and Practo, among others.
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4. Wingify, A $7 Million Rocket Ride to Glory
This Delhi-based company, founded in 2010, helps build web analytics and optimization technology to include its flagship product Visual Website Optimizer, which provides a platform to help its clients to understand the needs of their customers by testing new features, providing insights into potential customer behaviour and automation of marketing campaigns to boost sales and revenues.
Its Solo Founder, Paras Chopra, was a biotechnology student from Delhi College of Engineering, who ventured into the overwhelming world of computers, implementing his knowledge of neural networks and psychoanalytical into the domain of digital marketing.
Paras says bootstrapping is actually a result of non-decision rather than an active decision.
The bootstrapped company is doing well, as it had recorded to have a recurrent revenue in the millions, along with blue-chip clients such as Microsoft, General Electric, and Walt Disney and Co.
5. Kayako, A Brainchild
A Programming Prodigy, Varun Shoor founded the company at the mere age of 17 in 2001,
and skipped college to follow his dream to develop an advanced helpdesk management software, which would be any young entrepreneurs’ fantasy !.
The design was one of Varun’s greatest passions, and marrying modern, consumer-centric design to stuffy business helpdesk software gave birth to Varun’s brainchild.
The successful bootstrapped startup founded by Varun was acquired by ESW Capital in 2018. Today, Kayako has more than 1 Lakh customer around the globe.
Final Thoughts : Tecvalue edition
Bootstrapping a viable startup is not everyone’s cup of tea, but it does allow freedom of choices without the intervention of pesky investors and is well worth the risk, It all gives a majority stake in the company’s profits.
It needs an awful lot of guts, and a ton of perseverance to get to the other side,
But then again, success never comes easily, and luck favours the prepared.