India is a country with the third-largest number of startups in the world and this is testament enough that the Indian consumer base is ever-evolving and open to newer and innovative solutions that help solve existing problems and aid in making lives easier and comfortable.
There is no denying that alma mater goes a long way in building successful startups for there is an extensive network that one can leverage, instills the importance of extensive research, and most importantly, helps inculcate out-of-the-box thinking. The Wharton School at the University of Pennsylvania for more than 135 years has been one place where entrepreneurs, visionaries, inventors, and trailblazers get their start. Its alumni include successful businessmen and founders of globally renowned companies like Google and Johnson and Johnson. The Indian startup ecosystem is now experiencing the innovations of Indian Wharton alumni who are building products in India for India. These startups are breaking barriers and showcasing how consumers are engaged in today’s day and age.
AlphaVector (Sachin & Vishal Chopra)
Founded by brothers, Sachin and Vishal Chopra, AlphaVector is a homegrown startup championing the cause of Cycling and Active Lifestyle in India. Through a range of innovative, engineered for endurance and safety and performance-driven bicycles from brand Ninety One, the brothers aim to encourage millennials and Gen-Z to reclaim the outdoors. Ninety One is inspired by India’s rich history and embodies its action-oriented and constantly evolving spirit. Backed by Fireside Ventures, Avaana Capital and Titan Capital, AlphaVector has raised Pre-Series A funding and is innovating the D2C (direct-to-consumer) space with a unique omnichannel business model.
The school’s emphasis on and nurturing of entrepreneurship led Sachin and Vishal to create AlphaVector in a large industry that had become an oligopoly and ripe for Wharton style disruption. Their omnichannel version of D2C innovation is unique to India’s startup ecosystem. This model combines D2C and offline network spanning 350+ cities giving customers a unique brand experience and AlphaVector big moats for its business and ability to scale like none other. Every online purchase is mapped to a dealer offline through AlphaVector’s 91CARES program ensuring the customer has the satisfaction of guaranteed assembly/service and a delightful riding experience during the lifetime of owning the bike. It also offers hassle-free support across the country ensuring customer delight all through the journey of purchasing an AlphaVector bike to riding it for many years.
PhonePe (Sameer Nigam, Rahul Chari, Burzin Engineer)
PhonePe is a wallet-based payment solution for consumers. It is making lives easier with UPI-based solutions for money transfer, online payment at retail merchants, mobile & DTH recharging, paying postpaid & utility bills, checking account balance, online shopping, splitting bills, online travel ticket booking, and more. Founded in 2015, PhonePe has been acquired by e-commerce major, Flipkart. PhonePe has recently USD 700 million (about Rs 5,172 crore) in primary capital at a post-money valuation of USD 5.5 billion.
Simple, fast, and secure, PhonePe is one app for all things money which you can use to pay whenever you like, wherever you like. The founder & CEO, Sameer Nigam, founded PhonePe in 2015 and has won the coveted Wharton Venture Award by his alma mater. Before PhonePe, he served as the SVP Engineering and VP Marketing at Flipkart. His Flipkart journey started in 2011 when the company acquired his earlier startup – Mime360. Sameer has also served as the Director of Product Management at Shopzilla Inc, where he built the company’s proprietary shopping search engine.
Milk Basket (Anurag Jain, Yatish Talvadia, Ashish Goel & Anant Goel)
Milk Basket is a hyperlocal delivery startup that is a subscription-based service fulfilling daily dairy essentials and household needs of users. Milkbasket has recently raised $5.5 million funding led by Inflection Point Ventures in the Series B round. Existing investors Blume Ventures, Kalaari Capital, Mayfield India, Unilever Ventures, and BeeNext also participated.
Milkbasket has raised over $33 million in funding so far.
Anant Goel, Wharton alumni is an entrepreneur at heart. He left his NRI life in the west to return to India with an objective to resolve real, daily user issues. He believes that opportunity lies in chaos and, if done right, new efficient models can be created in seemingly saturated industries too. Before founding Milkbasket in early 2015 with his friends, Anant had the experience of running three ventures. Anant has the vision to touch the lives of over a million households with Milkbasket’s micro-delivery model, which he believes, will redefine the online grocery delivery industry in India. Launched in early 2015, it is India’s first and largest daily micro-delivery service. Built on the unique Indian habit of getting fresh milk delivered at home every morning, Milkbasket is today fulfilling the entire grocery needs of a household every day before 7:00 a.m. To enable frequent and frictionless buying, Milkbasket has innovated flexi-ordering and contactless delivery – both a first in the e-commerce industry.
FabHotels (Adarsh Manpuria & Vaibhav Aggarwal)
Founded in 2014, Fabhotels is a new age budget hotels brand, now with 600+ hotels in 50+ Indian cities. The founders founded it based on a real-life problem where they faced a huge problem finding reliable, trustworthy, and value for money accommodation wherever they traveled, and unwillingly, ended up spending on top-end hotels instead. This was a problem that a lot of their friends faced as well. Hence, they decided to launch their own brand of budget hotels. Till date, FabHotels has raised $48.6 Mn in seven funding rounds. In June 2019, the company raised INR 54 Cr from Goldman Sachs, Qualcomm Ventures, and Accel Partners India.
FabHotels was founded by Wharton School alumni Vaibhav Aggarwal and Adarsh Manpouuria. Vaibhav is an alumnus of IIT Guwahati. He co-founded FabFurnish.com and worked with Bain & Company before that. Adarsh also worked with Bain & Company and Bain Capital prior to that. With technology at the center of consumer experience and backend operations, they are building a budget hospitality brand missing for so long in India. All hotels follow rigorous housekeeping procedures, undergo strict auditing processes, and have courteous trained staff to ensure a hassle-free experience every time a consumer checks in.