From Gazelles to Unicorns in 2023

The startup culture in India is seeing quite a peak, and the tide is still rising, thanks to the hearty welcome offered by Indians. As Indians are learning to embrace newer things quicker, the much-coveted status of the unicorn is now not a distant dream for many startups! This is not surprising given that India now has the world's third-largest startup ecosystem.

The Gazelles and Cheetahs

2022 saw the rise of many gazelles and cheetahs. In the startup world, the terms unicorns, gazelles, and cheetahs are colloquial terms where a unicorn is a startup company with a value of over $1 billion. A cheetah is a startup that could be a unicorn in four years, and a gazelle could be one in two years. The number of gazelles in the industry provides an accurate picture of the country's startup ecosystem. The gazelles of 2022, such as Zepto and Rapido, are well-known to most of us and will soon be unicorns.


Zepto, founded in 2021 with one of the country's youngest CTOs, is now on its way to becoming a unicorn in 2023. After five rounds, their total funding as of now is 360 million. Zepto clicked off during the pandemic when everything went down. The 20-year-old Stanford dropouts needed a solution to their problem of getting groceries, especially during a time when people were hoarding necessities. They consider their competitors to be Swiggy, DoorDash, and Dunzo and aspire to be better by launching a pilot of ZeptoCafe, where you get cafe services in 10 minutes! 

Zepto co-founders Aadit Palicha and Kaivalya Vohra have charted the future of Zepto, which is said to be open to an IPO in the next 2–3 years. If Zepto makes it onto the unicorn list in 2023, it would be the second-youngest startup to do so.


Rapido is rapidly on its way to becoming a unicorn in 2023, with an estimated value of 830 million. The congested and traffic-clogged roads of Delhi and Bangalore welcomed Rapido's idea of a bike taxi that cuts through traffic quickly! The user interface is simple to use and quickly solves your transportation issue. Not to mention, the affordable rates on Rapido have turned it into an immediate competitor for others in the industry, namely Uber and Ola. 

It has raised a total of 130 million in funding. Rapido has a total of 36 investors, including the likes of Swiggy and TVS Motor Company. Rapido has also ventured into other logistics fields, such as autos and food and grocery delivery services.


Valued at 900 million, the insurance startup Turtlemint wants to make the idea of insurance easily comprehensible for the common man. They strive to ensure that the insurance industry jargon is easily understandable to make sure people do not become entangled in schemes they are unfamiliar with. They also provide insurance training and a sales platform to banks as a subscription service. The insurtech platform is now looking to expand to the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) region and has opened its first UAE office already!

Turtlemint had received $200 million in total funding as of the last round of funding in April. With over 30 cities covered in India, Turtlemint isn't far from reaching 1 billion users, and 2023 could be the year that happens!

Ather Energy

The EV era has arrived, and Ather Energy has jumped on board! Ather Energy is a startup that is into designing and selling electric scooters in the Indian market. They’ve already launched two scooter models, and they also have their own experience centers called AtherSpace. Ather Energy aims to take the future of electric two-wheelers into a whole other dimension with their low-maintenance, high-performance scooters.

Ather Energy has received funding of $290 million and is valued at a whopping $739 million. The startup identifies its competitors with the likes of major companies like Ola Electric, TVS, Bajaj Autocorp etc. With the valuation inching closer to $1 billion, it’s yet another startup that may hit the mark in 2023!

Vivriti Capital

Vivriti Capital prides itself on being India’s first tech-enabled marketplace that brings together capital market investors with individuals and enterprises. B2B lending is what Vivriti Capital is best known for, and they aspire to solely better the financial market by providing customized financial solutions for their clients. Registered with the RBI, Vivriti Capital has quite the portfolio, with over 250 mid-market enterprises registered with them.

The co-founders of Vivriti Capital have also founded another unicorn debt marketplace, CredAvenue. Valued at $730 million, 2023 might just be the year Vivriti Capital shifts from a gazelle to a unicorn! 

The Common Denominator

All the gazelles listed here have one thing in common. They've all responded quickly to the need of the hour with solutions that no one else in the market could offer. The secret formula really seems to be providing everything that’s already present, but better. The market is constantly changing, and anybody who doesn’t float with the tide seems to be left behind. The key is to constantly stay one step ahead of your competitors.