The pandemic has facilitated a rapid digital transformation and exponential adoption of digital alternatives. Let us take the example of India, the pandemic has led Indian consumers to rely on digital transactions and online education like never before. While online shopping, online payments and online classes already existed, the massive dependency we have on our devices and applications has fueled an entirely new generation of startup culture. More and more promising startups are emerging every month. India has already produced Unicorn giants such as BharatPe, CRED, CoinDCX, Meesho, PayTM, OYO and Groww. The time when many other Indian startups start acquiring this unicorn status is not far away.

Some companies such as RazorPay have managed to effortlessly become leading startups in their respective sectors in a matter of a few years. Agri-tech, AI, FinTech and other technology sectors are also experiencing a huge surge in the volume of startups entering the market with massive potential to grow. These companies are providing innovation or solutions to existing problems and helping in improving systems that have already existed. Let us take the example of Byjus, a company that invested in the idea that school going students will eventually be studying online.

The company banked on the concept of building a platform that can effectively provide online tutoring. And so far, they are doing extremely well. Unacademy is another such example with its current value of a soaring $3.44 billion. The same trends can be seen globally across the United States and other countries. Many startups from various sectors such as robotics, software development, healthcare, education or those who provide SaaS solutions are doing quite well. Let us learn about the startups that have been performing extremely well across the globe, in India or in the United States. Only companies that are not more than 7 years old and have a minimum of 50 employees have been considered.

Table of Contents:

  • 20 Leading Indian Startup Companies of 2021
  • Leading U.S. Startups of 2021
  • Global Tech Startups to Watch Out for
  • Conclusion

20 Leading Indian Startup Companies of 2021

The top startups in India during the year 2021 are determined by factors such as their total employment growth and how interested people are in working for the company. Yes, there are other startups who probably are valued higher, however, the list is considering the leading startups by factors such as future potential and popularity. And since LinkedIn’s research was based on engagement data and job switching data, we can conclude that the following startups have attracted the top talent and a high number of skilled professionals from other top companies. This plays an important role in determining if a startup can be profitable and yet rely on other skilled professionals working as part of the company.

Here are the leading 20 Indian startups of 2021:

  • Unacademy: Unacademy is one of India’s top upskilling platforms and is currently the highest valued upskilling company in India.
  • Razorpay: Razorpay is responsible for the immensely popular payment gateway service or integration that is used by a huge number of major companies such as Swiggy, Zomato, Facebook etc. and even other medium-scale or small-scale merchants.
  • Groww: Groww is a very popular investment platform that allows users to find and invest in mutual funds or stocks.
  • Meesho: Meesho is a new e-commerce company for consumer-oriented products that has recently acquired the status of a unicorn.
  • Dunzo: Dunzo is an extremely popular startup that provides same-day delivery services for any product or parcel inside a city, much like how Swiggy or Zomato operate when it comes to food. 
  • upGrad: upGrad is another immensely popular learning and upskilling platform that also helps students apply for distance degree programs abroad or in India.
  • Urban Company: Urban Company has become India’s largest home services company and is only growing bigger by incorporating more people and service vendors in order to serve customers better.
  • LIDO: LIDO is a very popular learning platform for children and students studying in any grade till class 12.
  • CRED: CRED provides users with the ability to automate credit card bill payments and helps them manage several bills more effectively. It is one of the most popular credit card management services in India right now.
  • ShareChat: Sharechat is a social media and social networking platform with hundreds of millions of active users. It is one of the leading social media apps in India currently.
  • Udaan: Udaan is a very innovative platform that facilitates B2B or Business to Business trading. This platform is specifically designed for medium-level and small scale merchants.
  • boAT: boAT is a new player in the market for speakers, headsets, earphones and other accessories, however, it has taken the country by storm and gained enormous popularity as well as good reviews.
  • FamPay: FamPay is another FinTech company that provides the facility of making online transactions. However, the difference is that the company is completely focused on building a safe ecosystem where teenagers and children can have and use their own atm card or digital wallet.
  • Mobile Premier League: Mobile Premier League is a gaming platform that allows users to earn real money.
  • Ninjacart: Ninjacart is a very popular fresh produce delivery service.
  • NoBroker: NoBroker is an innovative platform for renting, buying or selling properties.
  • This company is making waves in the agriculture sector.
  • Trell: Trell is a lifestyle social media application that also allows users to shop.
  • Cogno AI: Cogno AI is behind the AI systems used for customer management services in banks and insurance firms. This company is responsible for SBI and HDFC’s AI systems as well.
  • Schbang: Schbang is a very popular marketing agency in India and has come with many holistic and innovative approaches to advertising.

Leading U.S. Startups of 2021

Forbes had released a report for top American startups considering factors such as career prospects, salaries, employer reputation, employee satisfaction and employment growth. This does not mean that the startups are making the most amount of money but it does provide a projection of the leading companies that professionals wish to join in the near future.

Here are the top 20 U.S. startups when it comes to being good employers:

  • Hiya (Call Experience Platform)
  • Bestow (Insurance Technology)
  • Unite Us (Healthcare and Social Work Technology)
  • Curology (Healthcare)
  • Petal (Fintech and Loans)
  • Dispatch (Delivery Solutions)
  • Human Interest (Investment Technology)
  • Faire (Wholesale E-Commerce)
  • Dataiku (AI and ML Services)
  • Well Health (Telehealth and Healthcare)
  • Auth0 (Identity Management Platform)
  • Rippling (HR Solutions)
  • Unqork (Cloud Computing and Software)
  • HOVER (3D Data and Technology)
  • Branch Metrics (Business Development)
  • Turing (Developer Outsourcing)
  • Wrench (Automobile Engineering)
  • 98point6 (Healthcare Technology)
  • Forward (Healthcare Technology)
  • Shield AI (AI Technology and Research)

Global Tech Startups to Watch Out for

Here are some upcoming global tech startups:

  • Remitr (Fintech)
  • Viafoura (Advertising and Customer Analytics)
  • NorthOne Business Banking (Banking)
  • PointClickCare (Senior-care platform)
  • Local Logic (Location Intelligence)
  • Equivesto (Investment Portal)
  • Unwrapit (Virtual and corporate gifting)
  • (Website integration)
  • (Agri-tech)  
  • MeetFox (Business digitisation)


The main factors that help us deduce how popular a company is or how promising a startup can be are analysing the professionals in that field and their reactions. With popularity, a company will attract more talent and skilled personnel, thus making their products or services even better. Thus, many consider factors such as employee satisfaction and employment growth when it comes to deciding upon leading startups. This is especially true as one cannot expect startups to generate massive profits early on. So, a mix of employment growth, talent retention and overall organisational growth have become some of the primary metrics to judge the success of any startup. 

Also Read: Does My Startup Qualify For A Commercial Mortgage? Determine Your Eligibility