5 Delhi Startups to Watch

Introducing the movers and shakers of the Indian capital's thriving tech scene.

When Oxford Economics predicted that Delhi would be Asia’s fastest-growing metropolis over the next five years, it surely had the city’s tech entrepreneurs partly in mind. Last year alone, startups in the national capital raised US$1.3-billion in funding, making Delhi – and particularly Gurgaon, a suburb where most of these companies are based – a rising star in the country’s startup world. “Gurgaon is very close to Indira Ghandi International Airport, so it’s a natural hub,” says Sudeep Singh, India’s country codirector for Startup Grind, a global mentoring organization powered by Google for Entrepreneurs.

Snapdeal: India’s thriving virtual marketplace

E-commerce is hardly new, but Snapdeal made the concept its own by targeting the country’s 300 million Internet users and reaching over 5,000 Indian cities and small villages. Selling everything from cellphone cards to designer clothes and even Vespas, the company raised an extra US$627-million in funding last October, making it a serious contender to become India’s equivalent to China’s shopping giant, Alibaba.

Startosphere: The new crowdfunding hub

“India’s fast-growing market of Internet users has great potential for tech entrepreneurs looking to fund companies,” says Sudeep Singh of Startup Grind. Enter Startosphere, one of the many new crowdfunding hubs hoping to offer solutions adapted to Indian businesses. Unlike other popular platforms, Startosphere doesn’t charge commission fees and doesn’t require users to open an American bank account, making it easier for the country’s entrepreneurs to solicit help.

Zomato: The restaurant search engine with an appetite for the world

While it’s not exclusively based in Delhi (Zomato has offices in 13 Indian cities and feeds restaurant suggestions to users in 22 countries), the company caused a stir last year when it invited Bangalore IT workers to move to Delhi – all expenses paid – to transform the city into “India’s new tech capital.” It didn’t quite work, but in January Zomato managed to enter the U.S. market by acquiring Urbanspoon, the popular restaurant-review site, becoming one of the first Indian startups to acquire a major American counterpart.

Wingify: The simple Web tool every business owner can use

Wingify founder Paras Chopra and partner and CTO Sparsh Gupta’s business story could easily pass for Silicon Valley mythology if it hadn’t unfolded in Delhi. Developed out of Chopra's bedroom in 2009, their user-friendly Web tool aims to simplify traffic analysis on any website, empowering marketing directors and small-business owners to refine their online presence instantly on their own. The world is clearly buying the concept: 3,700 companies in 80 countries use Wingify’s platform, including giants like Groupon, GE and Microsoft.

Cricbola: The up-and-coming gaming company

Cricket is to India what hockey is to Canada, so it only made sense for a startup to tap into the country’s love for games and this very popular sport. Mixing tambola – India’s answer to bingo – and cricket, Cricbola is a gaming app allowing users to strike off numbers based on the results of live games. For a small amount, players can win substantial cash prizes and shopping vouchers. Launched during the International Cricket Council World Cup last spring, the app has been downloaded more than 20,000 times − an enviable success for a company that just opened in January.