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Startups must be the most envied corporate beasts. They get tax holidays, Rs.10,000 crores of funds from the government, wall-to-wall coverage in the pink papers, and get celebrated for not making a rupee. And they enjoy astronomical valuations for manufacturing nothing.
Sour grapes aside, for every unworthy billion dollar unicorn, there’s a startup somewhere, working quietly to be a game-changer. It’s time we focussed on them rather than the much ballyhooed Snapdeals and Flipkarts. I’ve put together a nifty A to Z list in case you decide to punt a million bucks on these dark horses:
Airwoot specialises in listening to social media conversations and presenting the hot-button issues to brands before they spiral out of control. The deliciously-named Better Butter is a social discovery platform for ghar ka recipes from across India. Culture Alley teaches English, Mandarin, Spanish and Portuguese using news articles, games and daily quizzes. Delhivery is the last-mile logistics delivery firm for many e-commerce ventures and small merchants. Embibe is an online test preparation coach that students will love as the site quantifies the weaknesses and deficiencies, and aims to improve scores using analytics. Faircent is the bridge that promotes peer-to-peer lending.
Greenlight is into spreading the light of rural energy in off-grid villages by evangelising the use of solar lamps. HereNow is the equivalent of a neighbourhood bulletin board, where you can exchange relevant news and views. Inshorts serves news in 60 words for those with short attention spans. Joe Hukum is your valet to get things done—from ordering pasta to cleaning dishes. Kratos is the mobile ad network aiming to deliver better bang for the buck through better targeting. Lybrate lets you take second opinions from doctors through online chats, telephone calls and, in some cases, they even arrange a home visit. MapMyGenome is a new-gen diagnostics company that uses genetic tests for guiding you on your health. NextDrop can amazingly track and solve water problems by connecting users with the municipality technicians.
Qyk is the mobile Google for professional help. With a track record of developing over 1,400 apps — that too in Udupi — Robosoft is clearly the app-maker to take note of. SilverPush is in the realm of making ad measurements in idiot boxes, smarter. Truly Madly is a dating app that turns singles into un-singles. Unobitcoin helps you buy and trade in the currency of the future. Wishberry breathes life into creative projects by leveraging the power of crowd funding. And finally, Zoomcar is the self-drive car rentals venture that propagates the freedom of four-wheels. With such an impressive line-up, Start-up India doesn’t look like one more big bubble.

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