Indian Startup Success Stories | Startup Companies in Germany


We all know there are no shortcuts to success. Neither is there a magic formula that will make a startup immune to the approximately 90 per cent existing death rate. True entrepreneurs are not deterred by the fear of failure; they are passionate about their ideas, driven to succeed and eager to disrupt the status quo. What’s Up, Germany? takes a look at some successful startup stories from Germany and India.

 ZALANDO (Germany) 

 Idea  Initially an online shoe retailer, Zalando transformed itself into Europe’s leading fashion e-commerce platform, backed by Rocket Internet.

 Background  Founders Robert Gentz and David Schneider failed miserably with their first startup, which they launched in Mexico. They could not even afford the fare back to Germany! But instead of being discouraged, they learnt their lesson, rolled up their sleeves and got down to it.

 Success  Zalando has more than 17 million customers across 15 countries, 10,000 employees and a revenue of roughly €3 billion.

 Secret Sauce  their “radical agility approach”

 PAYTM (India) 

 Idea  Paytm stands for “Pay Through Mobile”. Its users can buy bus and movie tickets, recharge their phones, pay bills and lots more using their virtual wallets.

 Background  A topper from a Hindi- medium school, founder Vijay Shekhar Sharma taught himself English with the help of magazines and second-hand books. Even when he was left bankrupt after his first startup failed, he did not give up on his dream of becoming an entrepreneur. He decided to enter the payment ecosystem by launching Paytm.

 Success  Paytm is India’s largest mobile commerce platform with over 100 million users. Its current market value is $2 billion.

 Secret Sauce  completing transactions in 10 seconds

 ECOSIA (Germany) 

 Idea  This Berlin-based search engine startup donates 80 per cent of its advertising revenue towards planting trees in Africa and South America.

 Background  While Christian Kroll was travelling the world, he worked with a search engine in Nepal that funded non-profits with its revenue, and in Argentina he learnt about deforestation. He drew from those two experiences to create Ecosia.

 Success  One of the coolest startup stories! Ecosia has already planted four million trees. As of 2013, it had raised $1.5 million for rainforest protection.

 Secret Sauce  “Your tree counter” which displays how many trees you’ve helped to plant while using the search engine

 SNAPDEAL (India) 

 Idea  Launched in 2010 as a daily deals platform, Snapdeal is India’s second-largest online marketplace. It offers 30 million products across diverse categories from over 275,000 sellers.

 Background  When Kunal Bahl and Rohit Bansal started Snapdeal,they were broke. They couldn’t even afford to travel to meetings, so they conducted them over Skype! However, after several cold calls, one investor meeting was set up and Snapdeal successfully scored its first funding.

 Success  With a $200 million funding in its bag, Snapdeal is now valued at $6.5 billion. It is aiming for 20 million daily transacting users by 2020.

 Secret Sauce  the “ability to move very, very fast”

The market in India, specifically in the consumer internet and technology space, is very dynamic and evolving quickly, while execution remains complex. For startups and investment decisions, factors such as market opportunity and business model are important, but for me personally, the ultimate criteria for success lies in the entrepreneurs’ ability to spot trends, to be good leaders and build strong teams and to adapt to changing market realities. Hence, we spend a lot of time finding the right teams and then support them with a long-term view and a strong partnership approach.
Success consists of going from failure to failure without loss of enthusiasm.
— Winston Churchill

Hottest Startup Ideas for 2016


Today, Indians are the biggest power players in Silicon Valley. The list comprises a veritable who’s who: Satya Nadella (CEO of Microsoft), Sundar Pichai (Google’s CEO), Vinod Dham (father of the Intel Pentium processor), Ajay Bhatt (developer of USB technology), etc. Most of them share a similar biography: born and brought up in India, educated at Ivy league universities in America and then a rapid rise in IT companies. Part of what makes their startup story successful, is an effective network, jokingly referred to as the “Indian Mafia”.

Crazy Startup Ideas that Made it Big!

 Doggles  Goggles for dogs. Initially rated as one of “the most useless inventions ever”, the company made $3 million in 2012 alone! Enwuff said!

 The Painted Pretzel  Chocolate-covered pretzels in more than 100 innovative variations. The inventor, a stay-at-home mum, managed to rake in $1.5 million in 2014.

 Narrative Clip  Overcoming the “I wish I had a camera” angst. This small wearable lifelogging camera automatically takes a photo every 30 seconds. This Swedish company raised $8 million in funding in 2014. Relive your life!

 Santa Mail  Getting rich the Santa Claus way! Modus operandi: the founders registered a postal address in the North Pole and charged parents $10 for every handwritten letter their kids received, supposedly from Santa! The startup has made $2 million on 200,000 letters since its launch! Merry Christmas, Santa Mail!

 Advanced Bio Treatment  The crazier side of startup stories! Sadly, there are plenty of murders and suicides in the world, and nobody wants to clean up the mess at the crime scene—except for this company. It pocketed $1 million in a single year!