Here’s a mind-blowing statistic about Uttar Pradesh. Back in 2017 it had just 200 startups and now it has more than 10,000. Also and I would say this is arguably more impressive is that 50% of the startups in Uttar Pradesh are run by women and from a Global Perspective this is not normal the United States has barely managed to keep this number at around 40% in the last 60 years and in 2021 it was just 39.9% and the global average is even lower at 34% for women run businesses but Uttar Pradesh and its entrepreneurs are anything but average.
Uttar Pradesh is a hugely ambitious State they want to be a 1 trillion-dollar economy all on their own just as a state and because they’re the biggest state in India in terms of population and much bigger than most countries this doesn’t sound impossible.
And here’s the thing startups have a big role to play in building such a massive economy. Which is why the state is building a robust startup ecosystem that supports Innovative entrepreneurs in building startups.
The state government has promised to set up 100 incubators with each of its districts having at least one incubator by 2025. There are 75 districts in Uttar Pradesh, and they’ve already set up 60 of these incubators to support entrepreneurs.
So, with all of that said let’s dive in and look at the top 10 Uttar Pradesh startups that are helping the state to achieve this 1 trillion-dollar dream.
We’re going to start off of course in Noida. So, despite being one of the most developed cities in Uttar Pradesh Noida is also one of the greenest cities in the country. And its close to Delhi and Gurugram makes it a perfect place for entrepreneurs looking to startup in Uttar Pradesh.
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So, let’s begin with the first company from Noida. It’s a profitable EdTech unicorn most of you guys have heard of it. It’s pretty much become a household name across India.
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Coming from a humble background, the founder of Physics Wallah Alakh Pandey could never pursue IIT coaching as a kid and failed to get into IIT as a result and his parents had to sell their house just so he could attend an engineering college. In 2014 he decided to do something that would forever change the course of his life.
He started a YouTube channel, and he didn’t have a fancy camera, no expensive microphone. Just a simple whiteboard, a phone camera, and a dream to make education accessible to everybody. Just a couple of years later Physics Wallah had become a household name and as his students will tell you Physics Wallah had become an emotion for many.
In 2020, Alakh Pandey had partnered with his friend Prateek Maheshwari to launch the Physics Wallah app and with the successful launch of this app, they both decided to turn Alakh Pandey’s YouTube channel into a startup.
In 2022, Physics Wallah became India’s 101st unicorn after raising $100 million from their investors and today Physics Wallah has more than 100 offline centers and over 23 million subscribers across multiple channels. They wrapped up FY22 with 233 crores rupees in revenue and generated a profit of 98.2 crore rupees.
Next up we have another Noida based company and this startup has unlocked a very rare achievement. They’ve been to the Moon. If you don’t already know the company that I’m talking about here is OmnePresent Technologies.
It was founded by Aakash Sinha in 2010. So, OmnePresent Technologies builds drones and robots primarily along with the software that powers them but they’re crowning achievement came recently with the success of the Chandrayaan 3 mission.
It was their perception navigation software that was able to stitch together the images taken from the Rover to create a 3D image of the Moon surface which was then used by ISRO scientists on Earth to navigate the Rover back on the moon.
But that’s not all OmnePresent Technologies drones and robots are also used by companies on Earth too for everything from cleaning the Yamuna and Gunga rivers to surveying Patrol pipelines.
In fact, back in 2021 one of OmnePresent drones completed a 51 kilometers survey of the Hindustan Petroleum pipeline making it the longest drone flight in the country ever.
Let’s move on to the next company on this list it’s a fun one. I think you’ll enjoy it this company manufactures food trucks and it’s called Azimuth Business on Wheels.
Azimuth Business on Wheels
The company was founded by a former Merchant Navy officer Puneet Anand in 2016 Azimuth Business on Wheels designs and builds customized trucks for their customers in the food and beverage industry. They’ve also launched a new kind of food truck it’s the first of its kind in India.
It’s 20 feet capsule shaped food truck made entirely of steel and it comes equipped with all the necessary kitchen equipment too. So far Azimuth Business on Wheels has built food trucks for more than 500 brands including 24SEVEN, Starbucks, Chicago Pizza, Rebel Foods, Chai Point, and Haldiram’s.
Next up we have a startup in the emerging sector of lithium-ion battery recycling LOHUM.
Most of the lithium that goes into the batteries of electric vehicles is being extracted through activities that are harmful for the environment. Poisoning our water, soil, and air.
Unfortunately, it’s not just lithium it’s the same for other rare minerals that are mined from the earth like Cobalt, Nickel, and Graphite. This is where Lohum comes in.
It was founded by two Harvard Business School graduates Rajat Verma and Justin Lemmon in 2018 and basically what they’re doing is taking the dead batteries from cars, bikes, laptops, and smartphones and processing them to recover metals and minerals which are then purified and made ready to be used in new batteries.
In fact, Lohum can recover up to 95% of all the lithium-ion batteries salts through their processes and these are used to make Second Life Batteries. Today Lohum already has a 1-gigawatt recycling capacity and they’re planning to invest another $100 million to expand more.
Let’s move on to another city, the capital city of Uttar Pradesh, Lucknow. A lot of people don’t realize this, but Lucknow is a thriving startup ecosystem which was ranked 21st in India by StartupBlink and the first startup that I want to talk about from this city is Isak fragrances.
Isak fragrances was founded by Vidushi Vijayvergiya in 2016. Isak fragrances is a premium brand that you might remember from their appearance on Shark Tank India. Despite coming from a Marwari business family Vidushi had never been a part of the family business and after her ideas were rejected by her family, she decided to start her own company.
She launched Isak fragrances to revive the tradition of India which are made of 100% perfume oils and are much stronger and longer lasting than normal perfumes. Vidushi managed to secure 50 lacs rupees from Lenskart founder Peyush Bansal for a 50% stake in the company and now she’s even planning on taking Indian fragrances to the international market.
Moving on to the next company on this list we have a startup that’s making Stevia based food and beverage, Orboreal Bioinovations.
Stevia has a plant-based natural sweetener which happens to have zero calories and with more than 100 million diabetics in the country, India is often called the diabetes capital of the world. So, Orboreal wants to replace sugar in the country with stevia by making products that are safer to consume founded by Swati Pandey and Manish Chauhan in 2015.
Orboreal operates a B2B business where they’re selling Stevia based solutions to more than 150 companies in India and around the world to reformulate their food products.
In 2019, they also launched a B2C brand called Magic Leaf where they’re selling Stevia of course and Stevia based products like sweet dishes, hot chocolate, and apple cider vinegar, and the cherry on top here is that in 2021, Orboreal won startup India’s national startup award in the food processing category.
Now we’re going to shift over to a new city. It’s the biggest in all of Uttar Pradesh, Kanpur. So, Kanpur is located on the banks of the Ganga River, and it’s also known as India’s leather capital as it accounts for 15% of the country’s leather and leather product exports.
The city also has a budding startup ecosystem and it’s ranked as 34 in India by StartupBlink so the first company that we want to talk about from Kanpur is taking flower waste and turning it into incense sticks. This startup is called PHOOL.
Every single day more than a thousand tons of flowers are thrown into the Ganga River and these flowers contain toxic wastes like Arsenic, Lead, Cadmium, and Pesticides and the thing is even though this is a massive ecological problem and it’s also an issue for people who live next to the river and animals that live in the river. No one was really questioning this temple waste as a source of pollution. At least not until Ankit Agarwal decided to start PHOOL in 2017.
So, this startup collects flower waste from outside of temples, takes the flowers petals, sorts them by color, turns them into powder, mixes them with water and then presses them into incense sticks.
Now the other great thing about Phool is that their incense sticks aren’t made with charcoal like other brands and charcoal releases toxic sulfur dioxide when it’s burned but Phool’s incense sticks have none of these harmful toxins.
Moving on to another Kanpur based company this is a plant-based milk brand called OatMlk.
India is the world’s biggest producer of milk yet about 70% of its population is estimated to be lactose intolerant. So, in 2020 two lactose intolerant friends Akash Wadhwani and Rishabh Gupta decided to quit their jobs in the UK to start OatMlk to offer an alternative to dairy milk to other lactose intolerant Indians.
After months of failed experiments with oats and putting 15 lack rupees of their own money into the company they were finally able to launch their alternative milk brand Oatmlk in November 2021 in their hometown of Kanpur.
Today most of oat milk sales come from their B2B channels where they have ties with hotels across 40 cities but they’re also planning to expand their B2C business in India too. This young startup has already expanded internationally into the UAE and Singapore, and they’ve raised 1 crore rupees from their investors to help them strengthen their brand and roll out more oat-based products for their consumers.
And now for the last two companies in this list we’re going to move over to the final city Ghaziabad. The startup culture here has been increasing rapidly with Ghaziabad Rising 60 Global ranking spots and it’s currently sitting at 24th in all of India. So, the first startup that we want to talk about from Ghaziabad is an omni channel eyewear brand started in 2017 called Cleardekho.
Cleardekho was founded by Shivi Singh and Saurabh Dayal. The company sells affordable eyewear in tier 3 and tier 4 cities in India. However, the company began as an online eyewear Marketplace, and they even managed to raise funding in the first few months of operations.
But within 6 months the company had run out of money, and they needed to make 1.5 lakh rupees in one month just to survive and cover operational costs.
So, they decided to pivot and in a big way instead of relying on an online model where they had huge customer acquisition costs through advertising the founders decided to literally sell their eyewear on the streets like a street vendor and even though this was probably a huge ego shattering moment for the founders it helped them to survive.
The experience enabled them to better understand and empathize with their customers on a deeper level when selling affordable eyewear and it also opened their eyes to the opportunity presented by offline retail today Cleardekho has built their own eyewear brand and operates on a franchise model having more than 100 stores offline.
Now finally coming to the last company on this list we have KYARI Innovations.
Founded by brother sister Duo Abhay Sharma and Smratika Sharma, KYARI makes Innovative products which are designed to help adventure travelers on their hiking and camping trips their flagship product is a smart stick called Guardian. Which comes with three LED lights to help you navigate hiking paths at night and it also comes with a panic alarm and an electro stun feature to scare away wild animals that you might encounter.
But apart from these safety features it also comes with an emergency power bank that you can use to charge your phone and it’s essentially a multi-purpose Smart Stick designed and manufactured in India.
The startup was also featured on Shark Tank India and managed to raise 51 lakh rupees for 6% Equity from Anupa Mittal and Peyush Bansal.
So, those are a few of the hundreds of incredible startups in Uttar Pradesh, India.
Credit: Backstage with Millionaires