Showcasing India’s Most Promising Startups


The Startup Watchlist 2021 features the most promising startups in their respective sectors and are expected to stand out over the next 12 months

Chosen with strict criteria and rigorous research on the performance of the firms over the last one year, these startups will have the momentum going for them

The Startup Watchlist has been a tradition at Inc42 since 2017 and each year, startups chosen by us have performed on all important parameters of growth-stage

Despite the economic bloodbath that the year 2020 witnessed, the tech economy of India showed resilience and a way to defeat the pandemic. While 2020 witnessed a decline of 10% in total funding at $11.5 Bn in the country, it also gave 11 new unicorns and 900+ deals to the tech ecosystem.

Over the past six years, we have kept a keen eye on the startup landscape and each year we have identified and featured startups across stages that have shown incredible growth. For instance, in our last year’s 30 Startups To Watch Series, we featured 300 early startups across 10 editions in 2020, of which over 50 startups went on to secure funding, saw impressive growth in clients/customers etc.

As we enter the new year, we are back with our annual series Startup Watchlist — where we list the growth stage startups to watch out for. In the fifth edition of the series, we will be focussing on identifying startups in sectors such as edtech, agritech, fintech, and more.

In our past editions, we have identified some of the finest startups which have shown impressive growth and achieved new heights.  For instance, in our 2020 edition, we had selected WhiteHat Jr. for its unique ‘coding classes’ product offering, and it was acquired by the country’s biggest edtech firm BYJU’s for $300 Mn. In media & entertainment, our choice Editorji, was picked up by Kolkata-based RP Sanjiv Goenka Group which acquired a 51% stake for an undisclosed amount in the startup.

Startups from the 2019 series, such as Dream11 went on to become a unicorn later in the same year. Similarly, our agritech startup picks of Ninjacart, Agrostar earned mega funding rounds, with the former getting backed by Flipkart and Walmart, and the latter bagging $27 Mn Series C funding.

And, this year too, we have identified the startups that will bag the limelight over the next 12 months. Inc42’s Startup Watchlist is an annual series where we list the top startups to watch out for over the next one year, across sectors such as edtech, agritech, fintech, deeptech, D2C, media & entertainment, healthtech and more.

Inc42 Startup Watchlist 2021

The Startup Watchlist has been a tradition at Inc42 since 2017 and each year, startups chosen by us have performed on all important parameters which matter.

As highlighted in Inc42 Plus annual funding report 2020, the startup investments pattern was greatly tweaked by the pandemic. Sectors such as edtech, enterprise tech and fintech registered impressive growth as social distancing and lockdown forced people to adopt tech, breaking their pre-covid habits. The year 2021 is being seen as a year of normalisation with many other sectors expected to register high growth.

Taking into account over a dozen variables, including recent funding, stage, growth and scale achieved in the preceding year and how it has differentiated itself or its model in a competitive market, Inc42 has shortlisted startups in different sectors.

So get ready to check out the startups that made it to Inc42 Startup Watchlist 2021 edition. The first sector that we cover is fintech followed by

  • Edtech
  • D2C
  • Healthtech
  • Agritech
  • Media and Entertainment

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