Unicorns of 2022: ElasticRun becomes 7th startup to enter billion-dollar club

As we head into the second month of 2022, the Indian startup ecosystem has already added seven new entrants to the coveted $1 billion valuation club. The country is already cheering in its new unicorns — Fractal (advanced analytics), LEAD (edtech), Darwinbox (HRtech), DealShare (social commerce), Polygon (blockchain), and the latest Livspace (home interior and renovation) and ElasticRun (B2B ecommerce).

And, there is more to come. According to a PwC report, over 50 Indian startups have the potential to enter the unicorn club — startups valued at over $1 billion each — in 2022.

The year 2021 saw the emergence of 44 startup unicorns against a cumulative number of 33 unicorns from 2011 to 2020.

Given the record-breaking year of 2021, in terms of fund inflow and the emergence of unicorns from the Indian startup ecosystem, 2022 is expected to continue the momentum. Let’s have a look at the seven unicorns of 2022.

Unicorns of 2022


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FractalSrikanth Velamakanni, Fractal

Srikanth Velamakanni, Co-founder and Group CEO, Fractal

New York, US, and Mumbai-headquartered artificial intelligence (AI) and advanced analytics solutions provider Fractal, in January, announced raising $360 million from TPG Capital Asia, the Asia-focused private equity platform of global alternative asset firm TPG.

The definitive investment agreement between the parties is expected to close by the first quarter of 2022. According to media reports, Fractal was valued at over $1 billion as part of the funding round.

The current round will take the total equity capital raised by the company to $685 million and see TPG’s Puneet Bhatia and Vivek Mohan join Fractal’s board of directors.


[Funding alert] TPG invests $360M in AI and advanced analytics solutions provider Fractal

LEADLead School founders

LEAD co-founders: Smita Deorah and Sumeet Mehta

Edtech startup LEAD (previously LEAD School) in January raised Series E funding of $100 million at a valuation of $1.1 billion. The first edtech unicorn of 2022 is also the first school edtech player to enter the coveted club.

The round was led by WestBridge Capital and saw participation from GSV Ventures. The company’s valuation has doubled in the last nine months on the back of strong growth in its operating and financial metrics. The current round is its fifth round of institutional funding since 2017.

LEAD will use the capital to achieve its vision of providing quality affordable education to 25 million+ students, with an annual revenue run-rate of $1 billion. Its immediate focus will be on product and curriculum innovation, growth in its footprint, and hiring top talent across functions.

In the long term, the company plans to go deeper into the country to serve students in lower-fee schools and expand internationally in similar geographies.


[Funding alert] LEAD becomes the first edtech unicorn of 2022 after raising $100M


Hyderabad-based HRtech startup Darwinbox raised $72 million in a funding round led by Technology Crossover Ventures (TCV), along with participation from existing investors Salesforce Ventures, Sequoia India, Lightspeed India, Endiya Partners, 3One4Capital, JGDEV, and SCB 10X.

The company’s valuation post the Series D round has crossed the $1 billion mark, with the total investment raised thus far crossing $110 million. DealShare has grown 200 percent since its last fundraise from Salesforces Ventures, about a year ago.

Founded in late 2015 by Chaitanya Peddi, Jayant Paleti, and Rohit Chennamaneni, Darwinbox aims to use the funds for global expansion by accelerating its platform innovation agenda, strengthening its product, engineering, and customer success teams, along with scaling its go-to-market (GTM) presence in South Asia, Southeast Asia, and MENA (the Middle East and North Africa).

The team added that they aim to take Darwinbox public by 2025.


[Funding alert] Darwinbox turns unicorn; raises $72M in Series D round led by Technology Crossover Ventures

DealShareDealshare Founding team

Dealshare Founding team

Social commerce platform DealShare raised $165 million in the first close of its Series E round from Dragoneer Investments Group, Kora Capital, and Unilever Ventures. Existing investors Tiger Global and Alpha Wave Global (Falcon Edge) also participated in the round.

This capital infusion saw DealShare entering the coveted billion-dollar unicorn club after its valuation rose to over $1.6 billion.

Founded in September 2018 by Vineet Rao, Sourjyendu Medda, Sankar Bora, and Rajat Shikhar, three-year-old startup DealShare uses a community-driven approach to offer high-quality, low-priced essentials for mass consumers at competitive prices, especially in Tier II and III cities.


[Funding Alert] DealShare enters unicorn club, raises $165M in Series E round


Polygon cofounders (L to R) Anurag Arjun, Sandeep Nailwal and Jaynti Kanani

Ethereum scaling project Polygon (previously Matic Network) raised $450 million in its first major VC financing round led by Sequoia Capital India, with participation from Tiger Global, SoftBank, Galaxy Digital, Republic Capital, Makers Fund, Alameda Research, Alan Howard, Alexis Ohanian, Steadview Capital, Elevation Capital, Animoca Brands, Spartan Fund, Dragonfly Capital, Variant Fund, and Kevin O’Leary.

The funds will be raised through a private sale of Polygon’s native MATIC token. The Web3 startup’s market cap was $14.4 billion at the time of publishing.

In a statement, Polygon claimed the fundraise will allow the team to consolidate its lead in the race to scale Ethereum, obviating the need for alternative blockchains and paving the way for mass adoption of Web3 applications.


[Funding alert] Polygon raises $450M from Sequoia India, Galaxy, Tiger, SoftBank, Republic Capital, others in first VC round


Omnichannel home interior and renovation platform,Livspace raised $180 million in Series F with KKR participating as the lead investor.

The latest funding round, which elevated Livspace to the coveted unicorn club, also saw participation from existing investors such as Ingka Group Investments (part of largest IKEA retailer Ingka Group), Jungle Ventures, Venturi Partners, and Peugeot Investments, among others.

With the funding, Livspace will expand to new markets, focus on brand building in India and Singapore, continue investing in its platform technology and digitally integrated supply chain, and hire, develop, and nurture talent across the board to support both new and existing businesses.


With $180M raised as fresh capital, newest unicorn Livspace now looks at market expansion and strategic investments


ElasticRun, a B2B ecommerce startup that supplies goods to kiranas, raised $300 million in its Series E funding round at a $1.5 billion valuation from investors such as SoftBank and Goldman Sachs. Existing investor Prosus Ventures also took part in the round, the startup said.

ElasticRun will use the capital to expand and grow its operations. It may close the Series E round with a much higher capital infusion if it receives any more interest till March 21, when the subscription ends, according to its filing.

Founded by Sandeep Deshmukh, Saurabh Nigam, and Shitiz Bansal in 2016, ElasticRun operates in over 300 cities in India and works with over 125,000 retail outlets. It helps kiranas place bulk orders for goods online, as well as provides an analytics and aggregation platform.

(Written by Trisha Medhi, with inputs from Sindhu Kashyap, Aparajita Saxena, Payal Ganguly, Malvika Maloo, Rishabh Mansur)

Edited by Suman Singh