Zepto becomes India’s first unicorn of 2023

Zepto becomes India’s first unicorn of 2023

Zepto, a quick-commerce startup, raised $200 million at a valuation of $1.4 billion, ending India's 11-month unicorn drought.

The Series E round was led by the StepStone Group, a US asset management firm, and included Goodwater Capital and some existing investors. Zepto’s valuation jumped from $900 million in May 2022.

The funding is of particular importance because Zepto is the first unicorn, or startup valued at over $1 billion, to be minted in India this year. Molbio Diagnostics was the last to achieve unicorn status in September 2022.

Most of the capital from the previous round still sits in Zepto's bank but the startup has raised more money to build its balance sheet ahead of going public in the first half of 2025, co-founder Aadit Palicha has said.

At the height of the funding boom in 2021, the country added a unicorn almost every week. As many as 44 startups entered the unicorn club in 2021 and 23 were added last year. Since then, investors tightened their purse strings and have been cherry-picking the startups they’re backing.