Chennai is well known for being an automotive and industrial hub for several years and in recent years has become a hub for SaaS (Software-as-a-Service) startups with success stories like Zoho, Freshworks, Kissflow, Chargebee and many others.
The Tamil Nadu state government's "Startup & Innovation policy 2018-2023" aims to create at least 5000 technology startups and to collaborate with educational institutions to promote the entrepreneurial spirit, reduce existing regulatory and tax burdens on startups.
List of the best startups in Chennai:
- M2P Fintech
- Mad Street Den
- ePlane Company
- Jidoka Technology
SaaS Startups in Chennai
Zoho, initially started as a Network Management company (AdventNet) in 1996 by Sridhar Vembu and Tony Thomas. In 2009, AdventNet was renamed to Zoho corporation with three divisions focusing on different segments.
- Zoho.com – Focuses on online business productivity and collaboration applications.
- ManageEngine – Focuses on Enterprise Management tools.
- WebNMS – Focuses on enterprise IoT solutions.
- Zoho CRM – A comprehensive CRM platform for enterprises
- Zoho workplace – A suite of productivity, collaboration tools to run workplaces.
- Zoho One – Enables businesses to manage, connect, and automate business processes across the organization with 45+ integrated applications.
Apart from this, Zoho has a wide range of apps across Sales & Marketing, Customer Service, Email & Collaboration, Finance, IT & Help Desk, Business Intelligence. In 2004, Zoho started Zoho university to train students with different skills and abilities. Zoho schools do not take fees and students are paid a stipend of Rs10,000 for a two-year course. Zoho is bootstrapped and has 70 million users globally.
Freshworks (previously Freshdesk) was founded by Girish Mathrubootham and Shan Krishnasamy in 2010.
- Freshdesk started with one product - cloud-based customer service software.
- In 2014, Freshservice was launched with a focus on offering modernized ITSM solutions.
- In 2016, Freshsales was launched offering 360* CRM solutions.
In 2017, Freshdesk was rebranded as Freshworks as the company's offerings have grown beyond helpdesk software into CRM, ITSM domains. Freshworks has been named to the Forbes Cloud 100 list for the last 5 consecutive years and has steadily risen to rank 10 in 2021 starting from rank 95 in 2017. In September 2021 Freshworks was listed on Nasdaq at a valuation of $13B and has 50K+ clients across the globe.
Chargebee was founded in 2011 by Krish Subramanian, KP Saravanan, Rajaraman Santhanam, Thiyagarajan T.
- Chargebee allows businesses to collect recurring payments and manage subscription billings.
- Chargebee enables businesses to carry out experimentations in the subscription workflow seamlessly without developer dependencies and helps businesses to make data-driven decisions by providing comprehensive subscription analytics.
- In April 2021, Chargebee became Unicorn, valued at $1.4B raising $125 million in its Series G financing round led by Sapphire Ventures and existing investors Tiger Global and Insight Venture Partners.
Kissflow, previously called Orangescape, was founded by Suresh Sambandam.
- Kissflow is a cloud-based business process and workflow management software.
- Kissflow’s other product digital workplace offers a comprehensive cloud-based work platform that enables businesses to move work to the virtual space.
- The platform can be accessed from anywhere and includes all applications, project management, collaboration tools needed for employees to perform their work.
- Kissflow also offers a low code platform that helps enterprises to build apps without coding and automate manual processes.
According to the company blog, Kissflow’s suite of products is used by over 10,000 organizations across the globe.
Happyfox, previously Tenmiles, was founded by Shalin Jain in 2000.
- Happyfox, its flagship product is a cloud-based help desk ticketing system and live chat software.
- Happyfox helps support teams minimise response times by consolidating email tickets, phone calls, and live chat into a single interface.
- Happyfox improves customer support by offering an easy to use ticketing interface, multi-language support, automates repetitive tasks and provides integrations with various platforms.
- Happyfox Assist AI brings the power of AI and Conversational ticketing to IT Support, HR and Ops on Slack/Teams empowering employees, reducing tickets and improving agents productivity.
According to the company, Happyfox is used by 12K+ companies in 70+ countries.
Fintech Startups in Chennai
Read more about Fintech Startups in India.
Kaleidofin is a neo-bank founded by Puneet Gupta and Sucharita Mukherjee in 2017 that offers customized financial charter plans to help underbanked Indians to reach their financial goals.
Kaleidofin offers below suite of products:
- KaleidoPay - Enables NBFC, MFI to collect recurring payments from customers. Allows payments collection from both smartphone and non-smartphone users, reduce manual data entries and increase accuracy using machine learning algorithms
- Kiscore - Enables lenders to underwrite customers in real-time using predictive analytics.
Kaleidofin also offers a suite of services called udaan, lakshya, ummeed. Each one of them offers a goal-based saving solution that prompts the user to develop a savings habit and invest the amount in equity/debt instruments based on the user goals duration.
In December 2019, Kaleidofin raised $5.1M in Series A and aims to help more customers meet their life goals by providing tailored financial solutions.
M2PFintech was founded in 2014 by Madhusudanan R, Prabhu Rangarajan and Muthukumar A to help every company become a Fintech.
- M2P Fintech has built Yap, an API platform that allows businesses to launch customized fintech products through plug and play solutions.
- M2P Fintech stack offers a wide range of products across payments, lending, banking and take care of backend integrations, tech infrastructure allowing companies to focus on their business and customer journeys.
In October 2021, M2PFintech raised $35M in a Series C round led by Tiger Global Management, existing investors and has a presence in APAC, MENA, Southeast Asia and Europe.
BankBazaar was founded in 2008 by Adhil Shetty, Arjun Shetty and Rati Shetty.
- BankBazaar is an online marketplace that provides customized quotes on different loan products and helps customers make informed decisions.
- The platform allows customers to browse and compare personal finance products from different banks and also enables them to apply for loans and insurance products directly through the platform.
BankBazaar has raised a total funding of $115M so far and claims to have a 40Mn customer base.
CredAvenue was founded in 2017 by Gaurav Kumar and Vineet Sukumar.
- CredAvenue offers a digital platform for discovery, trading, execution and fulfilment of all Debt solutions.
- CredAvenue offers a fully integrated 5-in-1 debt platform that helps institutional and retail investors easily find debt deals to fund and allows customers to invest, lend and trade bonds all in one place.
- CredAvenue has facilitated Rs.65000+ Cr of debt transactions, Rs.4000+ Cr of bonds transactions and has 12000+ daily transactions on the platform.
In September 2021, CredAvenue raised $90M in a funding round led by Sequoia Capital India with Lightspeed, TVS Capital Funds and Light rock India as co-leads.
CreditMantri was founded in 2012 by Ranjit Punja, Gowri Mukherjee, and R. Sudarshan and aims to help customers improve their credit health and make better borrowing decisions.
- CreditMantri enables customers to get real-time credit scores, provides a free credit health analysis report and helps customers discover loan products suited for their credit profile.
- CreditMantri has information across all loan products from banks/NBFCs and makes it easy for the customer to compare different loan products.
CreditMantri has raised total funding of $14.2M since its inception and claims to have 15 million customers.
Edtech Startups in Chennai
We also have a detailed post on EdTech Startups in India.
GUVI (named as an acronym of Grab Your Vernacular Imprint) was started as a Youtube channel in 2011 by Arun Prakash, Sridevi Arun Prakash, and SP Balamurugan sharing technical videos in regional languages.
- In 2014, GUVI was registered as a company and started offering technical courses free and paid coding courses in five languages – Tamil, Telugu, Hindi, Kannada and Bengali.
- GUVI has tie-ups with companies and shares candidates profiles along with their work for recruitments. Recently, GUVI has become a Google for Education Partner and offers google cloud training and certification program.
Last year, Guvi, has raised Rs.6 Crores in its pre-series A round of funding from the Education Catalyst Fund.
Flintobox was founded in 2013 by Arunprasad Durairaj, Vijaybabu Gandhi, Shreenidhi Srirangam.
- Flintobox started by offering an education box on a subscription basis that encourages activity-based learning for kids in the age group 2-12. In 2017, Flintobox launched Flintoclass, all one product suite that aims to power the independent and unbranded preschools to deliver high quality early learning curriculum for kids.
- Last year, Flintobox launched [email protected], that provides a learning kit and a dashboard to track a child’s progress
In July 2021, Flintobox raised $7.2M in its pre-Series B round led by Lightbox Ventures and is used by1,25,000+ Parents.
Deeptech/Analytics Startups in Chennai
1. Agnikul Cosmos
AgniKul Cosmos is an aerospace manufacturer based out of the National Center for Combustion R&D of IIT Madras, Chennai.
- Agnikul was founded in 2017 by Srinath Ravichandran and Moin SPM.
- Agnikul is building small launch vehicles to help launch small satellites into orbit.
- Agnibaan, the core product is a launch vehicle capable of placing a 100 kg payload into a 700 km low earth orbit.
- In May 2021, Agnikul has raised $11M in a Series A round funding led by Mayfield India and a couple of existing investors.
In September 2021, the Department of Space signed an MoU with Agnikul for access to ISRO facilities and expertise towards the development and testing of subsystems/systems of Space Launch Vehicles.
2. Mad Street Den
Mad Street Den was founded by Ashwini Asokan and Anand Chandrasekaran in 2013 and aims to build the AI of the future.
- In 2016, Mad Street Den launched Vue.ai, an AI platform for the retail industry.
- Vue.ai uses image recognition to analyze user behaviour and helps marketing, cataloguing teams improve customer experience, drive conversions and reduce costs.
- Vue.ai is a full-stack AI built that improves product discovery and personalization creates customized shopper journeys based on real-time shopper intent and empowers the team with AI tools to increase merchandising efficiency.
- In June 2021, Mad Street Den expanded its AI offering by launching Blox.ai, AI in a box.
- Blox.ai enables businesses to use their data to solve business problems ranging from classification & recognition to prediction and forecasting. Blox.ai enables companies to build AI native businesses and drive value irrespective of the segment they operate in.
Fabheads was founded in 2015 by Dhinesh Kanagaraj and Abhijeet Rathore for building automated solutions for manufacturing high-end carbon fibre parts.
- FibrBots, a series of 3D printers built in-house, has been developed for enabling carbon fibre printing.
- Apart from this Fabheads also provides services such as design/prototype/production/end-to-end development partner.
In August 2021, Fabheads has raised an undisclosed amount from Rockstud Capital, FirstPort Capital, and Bliss Flow Investments Pvt Ltd after raising Rs.8 Crores in a pre-Series A round from Inflection Point Ventures.
The ePlane company was founded in 2019 by Satyanarayanan Chakravarthy and Pranjal Mehta to build flying taxis for door-to-door commuting in cities.
- The company is building an electric flying taxi,e200, to enable faster air travel at a reduced cost.
- The 2-seated electric plane is of 4*4 footprint and accommodates up to 200kg, is designed for a vertical take-off like a drone and flies like a plane.
In December 2020, the company raised $1M in a seed round of funding from venture capital group Speciale Invest, Naval Ravikant, JavaCapital, FirstCheque, CIIE and aims to make short-distance flying for a affordable commute.
Jidoka Technologies was founded in 2018 by Sekar Udayamurthy and Vinodh Venkatesan.
- Jidoka Technologies combines artificial intelligence with industry automation to deliver cutting edge engineering solutions.
- Jidoka specializes in automating the detection of visual defects at high speed by leveraging deep learning, AI and machine learning.
- Jidoka expertise includes deep learning, machine vision, automation, integration, analytics.
In May 2021, Jidoka Technologies has raised $340K in the seed round and serves automotive, general manufacturing, pharma, textiles and printing industries.
PipeCandy was founded in 2016 by Ashwin Ramasamy,Shrikanth Jagannathan and Murali Vivekanandan.
- PipeCandy is an intelligence platform that provides sales, marketing teams with deep insights on eCommerce and D2C brands.
- PipeCandy has built machine learning models that help companies segment leads based on industry-specific attributes.
- PipeCandy help companies to build a precise lead list of eCommerce customers and offer industry-standard reports on eCommerce market size estimates for different market and categories.
Aquaconnect was founded in 2017 by Raj Somasundaram.
Aquaconnect offers a full stack comprehensive product suite for fish and shrimp farmers to maximize their profits.
- Aquaconnect app - Powered by AI, the app provides data-driven advisory to improve productivity and reduce losses.
- Aquastore - One stop store where farmers can order feeds, healthcare products and farm equipment directly from manufactures at the best price.
- Aquahubs - Last mile touchpoint centres to connect with farmers and handhold them for all aquaconnect services.
- Aquacred - Helps farmers to access formal credit and insurance from financial institutions.
- Aquabazzar - Connect farmers directly with potential buyers and help them to maximize returns.
In July 2021, Aquaconnect raised $4M in a pre-series A round and plans to use the funding to expand the business scope.
Other Startups in Chennai
Netmeds is an online pharmacy startup founded by Pradeep Dadha in 2010.
- Netmeds offers a wide range of prescribed medicines and Over-the-counter medicines including vitamins, supplements, beauty products and surgical kits.
- Netmeds allows customers to upload prescriptions through their website/app which is then validated by certified medical professionals before dispatching the medicines.
- Netmeds sends reminders to refill stocks and rewards customers with NMS Cash which can be redeemed in subsequent purchases.
In August 2020, Reliance Industries acquired a 60% stake in Netmeds increasing its footprint in online commerce.
Tendercuts was founded by Nishanth Chandran in 2016. In October 2021 Tendercuts opened its 50th store in Bengaluru and does omnichannel sales.
- TenderCuts offers antibiotic-free, farm-fresh meat, seafood and allows customers to pick it up from the store or order online.
- Tendercuts offers fresh chicken, mutton, seafood, eggs, pickles, dry fish and a wide range of ready to cook products.
In Feb 2021, TenderCuts raised $15M in a round led by Paragon Partners, with participation from NABVENTURES, an agri-food tech VC fund backed by NABARD.
CaratLane is a physical and online jewellery retailer founded by Mithun Sacheti and Srinivasan Gopalan in 2008 to make beautiful jewellery accessible.
- Caratlane has wide jewellery product offerings including the likes of rings, earrings, bracelets, pendants in different metals and allows customers to try the jewel at home by making an online appointment.
In July 2016, CaratLane joined with Tanishq, through a strategic investment made by Titan Company in CaratLane. CaratLane has over 123 retail stores across 40+ Indian cities.
Waycool was founded in 2015 by Karthik Jayaraman and Sanjay Dasari catering fruits and vegetables to the B2C segment under the name SunnyBee and later pivoted to the B2B model.
- Waycool procures fruits and vegetables from small farmers and aggregators and sells them through multiple channels including hotels, supermarket chains and local small stores.
- Waycool uses technology to optimize the end to end supply chain and wastage reductions.
In October 2021, WayCool has raised a $13M Series D round and claims to serve 18,900 customers and 50K+ farmers.
GoBumpr was founded by Nandha Kumar, Karthik Venkateshwaran and Sundar Natesa in 2015.
- GoBumpr has an extensive network with independent two and four wheeler service outlets and allows people to book service experts through their website/app to repair bikes and cars.
- GoBumpr offers various services including general service, engine repair, fully body painting and other ad-hoc repair services.
GoBumpr offers instant support for breakdown and roadside assistance. In June 2021, GoBumpr was acquired by TVS Automobiles Solutions.
Vakilsearch was founded by Hrishikesh Datar in 2011.
- Vakilsearch offers services for the legal needs of businesses like incorporation, government registrations, accounting and annual compliance.
- Apart from this, Vakilsearch also serves the legal needs of individuals like property agreements and tax filings.
Vakilsearch has raised $10M in Series B funding from InCorp India and aims to use it for tech and product development.