5 Successful Startup Led by IITians

Five Successful Start-ups Led by IITians
  •   2023, 01 Mar

5 Successful Startup Led by IITians

Startups are companies that are usually in the first stages of operation and don’t have a fully developed business model. They are mainly focused on a single product or service that its founders believe has potential to fill an existing gap in the market. Startups rely on external funding to develop their business plan and move on to the next phase of business. ‘Unicorn’ is a term given to the most successful startups whose valuation has exceeded $1 billion.

On May 5, 2022 India got its 100th unicorn. In the first six months of this year, India has the third highest number of unicorns in the world with 68. They have become a household name because of companies such as Ola, MakeMyTrip, Zerodha, Swiggy, BYJU’s, Flipkart and Paytm.

A study conducted by ThePrint reveals that 85% of startup founders have an engineering background, with 50% of them having graduated from Indian Institute of Technology (IIT). With advancements in technology many business opportunities are presenting themselves in this sector. So, if you are an entrepreneur at heart and wish to form your own company, getting admission into IITs can make for a great start. Here are some of the most successful startups whose founders are IITians.


Founded by IIT Bombay alumni Bhavish Aggarwal and Ankit Bhati in 2010, Ola is a cab aggregator that allows its customers to book cabs within a few minutes through its app. Its unique business model means that they do not buy or rent cars, instead they choose to partner with taxi drivers. They currently have 50% market share and have 2.5 million driver partners providing cab services in 250 cities across India.


Among India’s largest e-commerce companies, Flipkart was founded by Sachin and Binny Bansal in 2007. The founders knew each other from their Amazon days from where they got the idea of their own e- commerce company. Though unrelated, both Sachin and Binny grew up in Chandigarh and studied at IIT Delhi.

Flipkart started as a bookstore, and now, sells everything from electronics and mobile phones to home furnishings and cutlery. Their success is primarily due to their quick delivery and an industry-first ‘cash on delivery’ payment option. They also have developed their own supply chain management system to ensure timely delivery of customer orders.


This startup was formed as an idea that occurred at the workplace during lunch time. Deepinder Goyal and Pankaj Chaddah, both IIT Delhi graduates, became acquainted with each other at Bain & Company. They and most of their colleagues ate restaurant food and made a mad rush for the restaurant menu on a daily basis. So, they started visiting restaurants and scanned their menus for putting it up on the office intranet. This is where the need for an online restaurant discovery platform struck them and Zomato was born in 2008.

Today, Zomato is spread across 20 countries with a headcount exceeding 1,000 people and monthly users crossing the 35 million mark.


Pranay Chulet did his chemical engineering from IIT Delhi and MBA from IIM Kolkata. He realized the power of online classifieds in 2008 after moving back to India from New York. He soon launched Quikr, an online classifieds website, with co-founder Jiby Thomas with headquarters in Bangalore. Initially they began as a mobile classifieds firm but now have over 10 categories that span everything from real estate to cars.

Quikr currently has business interests in 1,000 Indian cities and is visited by 30 million unique visitors each month.


InMobi is a mobile discovery and advertising platform that helps users discover new products and services. It also provides curated recommendations on various devices for the best user experience and lets clients remotely publish ads on apps and sites of their choice through a proprietary cloud-based technology.

Founded in 2007 by IIT alumni Naveen Tewari, Abhay Singhal, Mohit Saxena and Amit Gupta in a one- bedroom Mumbai flat, it presently caters to 800 million users every month in 165 countries.


How many startups run by IITians in India?

It is estimated that 1,237 startups are founded by IITians across the country.

Which are the top 3 startups?

There are many successful startups in India. However, there are some that have found big success early on such as CRED, Digit Insurance and InMobi.

Which startups are failed and why?

Dazo: Food-tech startup that failed because of fierce competition and lack of funding

Frankly.me: Social media startup failed due to lack of funding

Koinex: Cryptocurrency exchange shut down due to harsh regulatory compliances and dwindling profitability

Is 2023 best for startups?

2023 is expected to be better than 2022 with regards to economic growth. However, things are expected to get worse before they get better. Innovative startup founders will always find opportunities for growth even in the most challenging of circumstances.


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