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How COVID became a catalyst in the growth of a few startups - Vikas Goel


The year 2020 was tough for everyone including startups, businesses, government, and of course, the common people. It has devastated the economies and businesses all across the globe. Millions of people have lost their employments all across the world. As per the statistics, around 40 percent of the startups were negatively impacted and 15 percent were forced to shut down their operations.

Although, COVID-19 did not negatively impact everyone. Many new startups and sectors have seen exponential growth during this period. COVID-19 has proved to be a catalyst for sectors like gaming, IT, edu-tech, healthcare, e-commerce, logistics, etc.

Even apps like Zoom and Google meet have grown by leaps and bounds by keeping business going through video conferencing segment. Enormous transactions through digital payment proved the importance of digital payments. Ed-tech startups have brought education to our homes, to become the most luring sector for investors. OTT platforms like Netflix and Prime have seen more than an 80% hike in viewership and a massive surge in the average spending time of the customers. Logistics and food delivery startups like Dunzo outperformed their all-time growth rate. Several new apps like Aarogya Sethu and App Mithra collaborated with the government to provide COVID-related information also emerged.

5   Indian Startups that have thrived during the Pandemic -

1.   Byju’s -​ The pandemic was undoubtedly a revolutionary time for the ed-tech startups.The closure of schools, college, and other leaning institutes have forced parents and students to look for alternative solutions. Ed-tech startups like Byju’s have helped them to continue their learnings to leverage their free time during the lockdown.

Byju has emerged as the largest ed-tech startup in the country with a valuation of more than $10 billion. Byju’s have added 20 million new users within 4 months of lockdown as compared to the first 40 million users which took 4 years, the average time spent on the app also surged from 71mins/day to 100mins/day.

2.   Practo -​As the fear of COVID was around, and only the healthcare sector could have saved us, therefore its growth was quite obvious. Online doctor consultations have seen 500% growth in just three months (March-May 2020). More than 50 million Indians have accessed healthcare through digital platforms, amongst which 80% of them were first-time users. Hand sanitizers, face masks, PPE kits have become a part of the essentials.

Practo has witnessed a 10 times growth during the lockdown period. Earlier the demand for online consultation was 70% from the metros of the country. But the pandemic has changed it to 50-50 between metropolitan and non-metropolitan cities.

3.   Policy Bazaar -​The pandemic has brought uncertainties with it, that have made people realize the importance of life insurance policies, especially in the younger age groups. Therefore, the insurance aggregators like Policy bazaar have seen a surge in demands.

Policybazaar has seen a growth of 50% in its health insurance businesses during the lockdown. Policies like Corona Kavach& Corona Rakshak have done wonders for the company. The business has seen a hike in the number of first-time buyers.

4.   Big Basket - The lockdown has forced people to stay in their houses.​   Therefore to meet the needs of essentials and grocery, people thrived towards online grocery retailers. India's online grocery market has seen sales of $3 billion in the year 2020, which is an increase of 76% compared to the last year.

Big basket has witnessed a massive rise in the demands on their platforms. In the first seven months of the year 2020, it has seen an 84% rise in the demand and claimed a growth of 50% during this period.

5.   Loco -​​The boredom during the home confinement has made people move​towards virtual mobile games. Esports has seen unprecedented growth during the lockdown, that was evident from the craze of the mobile game like PUBG. The pause in sports events across the globe has left no option for sports lovers.

Loco is amongst the top esports brand names in the country. During the three months from May- June, its active streamers have increased by 122%. Along with it, every day it has observed over 1,000 hours of live gaming cent being streamed per day.

According to Vikas Goel , COVID brought the future to the present. In 2020, we achieved the digitization that was meant to be achieved in the next five years.

He said, “The Pandemic was tough but Indian startups have sailed through the waves of it. The wave of digitization is going to continue for the upcoming years and even more new sectors are going to leverage this wave. Surely COVID was a nightmare for many startups but at the same time, it served as a boon for others”.



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