12 Indian startups on CB Insights ‘to watch’ list. But winter is coming

Jayadevan PK July 21, 2016 2 min

A dozen startups have made it to the first ever list of early-stage Indian companies to look out for compiled by CB Insights, a well-followed US tech market intelligence company, but its CEO predicts raising capital for Indian startups has just gotten tough.

The list includes bus operator and aggregator Shuttl, tax filing portal Cleartax, payments gateways Razorpay and Juspay, food delivey app Opinio, blue collar jobs database Aasaanjobs, digital health platform HealthifyMe, home services aggregator Taskbob, fresh meat delivery website Licious, and others. Others on the list can be viewed here. In March, CB Insights had released a ‘Periodic Table of tech in India‘ providing an interesting overview of the Indian startup and VC ecosystem.

CB Insights CEO Anand Sanwal. Image: cornell.edu

Anand Sanwal, CEO and Co-Founder of CB Insights, said the companies that made the first-ever such India-focussed list was decided by its algorithm, Mosaic. “We take an algorithmic approach to looking at companies with momentum made up of numerous factors including hiring, web traffic, news and social media chatter, sentiment, mobile app data and customer/partner signings, to name a few,” Sanwal said in an email interview.

Mosaic, developed with the support of the National Science Foundation, aims to use public data to predict the health of private companies. In the five years since it started services in 2011, New York-based CB Insights has become a respected source of data and intelligence on unlisted companies and fast-growth industries that attract attention of the VC universe.

The CB Insights CEO said he saw difficult times ahead for Indian startups in some industries that have found ready VC backers in the past. “eCommerce, food delivery and any capital intensive money-losing consumer businesses will have a tough time,” Sanwal said. “The larger ‘on-demand economy’ will find it challenging.”

VC experts have been predicting a winter for startups and venture funding activity for a few months now, as hyper valuations in the startup universe get questioned by investors around the world. Indeed, early signs of this are already showing up in data. Chennai-based VC tracker Venture Intelligence’s data shows venture funding in India in the six months to June 2016 has contracted 18% to $623 million from a year-ago period.

Correction (13:50 IST): Anand Samwal has been corrected to Anand Sanwal, which is his real name. 


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