India's 2023 First Unicorn

Zepto Raises $200M: India’s 2023 First Unicorn

In recent years, the spotlight on Indian startups has intensified. Their numbers have surged, backed by comprehensive support. Today, startups are pivotal for growth, job creation, and innovation, with potential to become unicorns—a term for privately-held startups valued at USD 1 billion.

In India’s history of unicorns like BYJU’s, Swiggy, OYO, and Ola Cabs, the latest entrant is Zepto, a swift-commerce delivery startup. Zepto recently secured $200 million, marking India’s first 2023 unicorn and ending an 11-month drought. StepStone Group and Goodwater Capital led the investment. While Zepto’s fund usage remains undisclosed, their plan to go public by 2025 is clear. Competing with Swiggy, Dunzo, Blinkit, and others, Zepto shines as a notable contender in the quick-commerce arena.

Zepto, A Quick Commerce Startup:

Zepto, announced raising $200 million at a $1.4 billion valuation, becoming India’s first 2023 unicorn. Led by Stepstone Group, the funding also involved Goodwater Capital, Nexus Venture Partners, Glade Brook Capital, and others. 

Let’s delve into the startup’s journey, founders Aadit Palicha and Kaivalya Vohra, and the quick commerce sector. Launched in 2021 by Stanford University drop-outs, Zepto offers a 10-minute grocery delivery service, focusing on ultra-fast convenience for customers.

Zepto, previously known as Kiranakart, embarked on its journey by collaborating with local grocery stores to enable product deliveries across Mumbai. In contrast, the current Zepto focuses on providing rapid grocery delivery services in major metro cities like Bengaluru, Lucknow, Delhi, Chennai, and more. The founders, Aadit Palicha and Kaivalya Vohra, initiated Zepto as an extension of Kiranakart Technologies Private Limited.

Zepto’s Founders:

Palicha, hailing from Mumbai, and Vohra, the company’s CTO and a Bengaluru native with roots in Dubai, launched Zepto during the pandemic’s second wave. As Stanford University computer engineering dropouts, they created a platform that aligned with the increasing demand for online grocery services. Their vision was to offer convenience and streamline daily lives.

In terms of financial accomplishments, Zepto’s founders have amassed considerable wealth. According to IIFL Wealth Hurun India Rich List 2022, Palicha and Vohra possess net worths of approximately Rs 1200 crore and Rs 1000 crore, respectively.

Zepto Journey: 

Zepto’s progress has been marked by strategic funding rounds. It secured USD 730K in its initial round and began operations in April 2021. Subsequent rounds raised USD 60 million and USD 100 million in October and December, respectively, propelling its valuation to USD 570 million. Notably, the company garnered USD 200 million in May, reaching a staggering valuation of USD 900 million.

What is Zepto’s method for achieving 10-minute deliveries?

Zepto’s swift delivery within 10 minutes is powered by its dark store model, efficient supply chain, and innovative technology integration. Operating over 200 dark stores across major cities, the company’s goal is to expand this network by 40 percent. Competing with giants like Dunzo, Swiggy Instamart, and Blinkit, Zepto has emerged as a key player in the quick-commerce sector.

With sights set on an IPO in early 2025, Zepto is working towards EBITDA positivity within the next 12-15 months. Strengthening its leadership team, the company welcomed Vikas Sharma as COO and Ramesh Bafna as CFO. As Zepto pursues a bright future, its journey showcases innovation, adaptability, and an unwavering commitment to reshaping the e-grocery landscape.

Frequently Asked Questions:

Ques: What is Zepto’s recent accomplishment? 

Ans: Zepto raised $200 million in funding, securing a valuation of $1.4 billion, which makes it India’s first unicorn of 2023.

Ques: Who were the major investors in Zepto’s funding round? 

Ans: StepStone Group and Goodwater Capital led the funding round, along with existing investors like Nexus Venture Partners, Glade Brook Capital, Lachy Groom, and others.

Ques: What is a unicorn in the context of startups?

Ans: A unicorn refers to a privately-held startup company that achieves a valuation of $1 billion or more.

Ques: How did Zepto utilize the funds raised? 

Ans: While the specific usage of funds remains undisclosed, Zepto revealed its intention to go public by 2025, showcasing its plans for growth and expansion.

Ques: How does Zepto’s quick-commerce model work? 

Ans: Zepto’s business model revolves around dark store operations, efficient supply chains, and technology integration. It aims to deliver orders from its nearby dark stores in under 12 minutes.

Ques: Which cities does Zepto operate in? 

Ans: Zepto currently operates in major cities such as Bengaluru, Mumbai, Delhi, Gurugram, Noida, Ghaziabad, Hyderabad, Chennai, Pune, and Kolkata.

Ques: Who are the founders of Zepto?

Ans:  Zepto was founded by Aadit Palicha and Kaivalya Vohra, two 20-year-old drop-outs from Stanford University.

Ques: What are Zepto’s future plans? 

Ans: Zepto is planning to go public in early 2025 and aims to achieve EBITDA positivity in the next 12-15 months. The company is also focused on expanding its dark store network.


In the landscape of India’s startup ecosystem, Zepto’s achievement of becoming the country’s first unicorn in 2023 with a funding of $200 million marks a significant milestone. This infusion of capital not only attests to the promising potential of the startup but also signifies the growing investor confidence in the innovative ventures shaping India’s future. As Zepto continues to expand its presence and redefine the quick-commerce sector, its journey exemplifies the spirit of entrepreneurship, resilience, and adaptability that define the startup narrative in the ever-evolving world of business.

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