Crisis to Opportunity: How Indian Startups are Pivoting Amidst Economic Challenges

Crisis to Opportunity: How Indian Startups are Pivoting Amidst Economic Challenges

This piece will showcase inspiring stories of Indian startups that have successfully pivoted their business models in response to economic challenges or changing market conditions. It will discuss the reasons behind their pivots, strategies, and their transformations' results.

Crisis to Opportunity: How Indian Startups are Pivoting Amidst Economic Challenges

Table of contents

What is pivot in the startup ecosystem?

When you see the expression "that startup pivoted," it means they ditched their primary product or service and explored a different market direction. It typically occurs when investors start to reroute a startup or when a startup experiences problems, such as the "Pandemic."

Indian Startups are Pivoting Amidst Economic Challenges

The COVID-19 pandemic has been largely disruptive in India, impeding economic growth because of the shutdown of several manufacturing channels and causing reverse labor migration due to the loss of mass human life.

Almost all industries suffered as domestic demand and exports fell precipitously; apart from some notable outliers where growth surged, such as sanitizers, some went bankrupt and had to shut down.

On the other hand, some startups were on the point of being shut down but pivoted their strategy and business model, which finally had a positive influence and led to the startups recovering from the economic crisis.

Here are some Indian startups that have successfully pivoted their business models in response to economic challenges or changing market conditions led by the pandemic in India.


Rapido is a bike and taxi booking automobile platform that was created to make intra-city transport and connectivity simple and economical. It specializes in two-wheeler rides and services, with comfort and convenience improved by the reliability of its passengers.

Business model: Taxi, bike, and auto services

Industry: Automotive

Challenge: Since the pandemic kept everyone at home, automobile services faced significant issues because its early business model relied on people physically communicating with its services.

Pivot: During the pandemic, the startup drastically altered its business model and partnered with Bigbasket, Spencer's Retail, Big Bazaar, and local households. It aided India in delivering fundamentals, making it a perfect example of surviving the economic crisis through pivoting.

The startup acknowledged the pandemic's shutdown and refocused its activities by starting to supply essential services and continued its operation by assisting home-locked individuals in need of getting their products delivered to their homes while ensuring consumer safety and employment for its captains.

Current Valuation: $800 million is a healthcare startup that uses technology and data to help people live a healthy lifestyle and acquire affordable healthcare by providing online and offline experiences in fitness, nutrition, and mental well-being across four linked verticals.

Business model: Gym & Fitness

Industry: HealthTech, MedTech

Challenge: faced a severe challenge when gyms and health clinics were closed due to the pandemic, resulting in a significant scaling down of its company.

Pivot: The startup realized that things would not return to normalcy soon. As a result, it shifted its strategy to digital by offering online live courses with Cult experts and numerous celebrity trainers, as well as a library of DIY content for its community.

Current Valuation: $1.5 billion


FabHotels is a modular hotel network that offers low-cost hotels in India. It operates on an asset-light approach, promoting its partner hotels with capacities ranging from twenty to forty rooms and offering services. It also allows budget travelers to have a calm and consistent vacation experience.

Business model: Hotel aggregator

Industry: Hospitality

Challenge: The hotel and hospitality business was certainly struck worse during the COVID-19 pandemic, with the Confederation of Indian Industry estimating a loss of five crore employment and a $28 billion loss to the sector.

Pivot: With its "Work-from-FabHotels" campaign, it recognized the assignment and created a new service line to satisfy the crisis-driven need for keeping its business afloat: "Quarantine Hotels with Isolation Facility."

Current Valuation: ₹856.4 crores


Delhivery provides comprehensive logistics services such as express package and heavy goods delivery, warehousing, supply chain solutions, freight services, etc. It also provides value-added services such as eCommerce return services, processing, assembling, etc.

Business model: Logistics services; Supply chain business solution

Industry: Logistics

Challenge: Social distancing created and hauled services where people were concerned about delivery safety, and because the majority of warehouses were closed, the bulk of B2C solutions were stopped.

Pivot: Customers started ordering straight from stores rather than visiting them, and D2C and Delhivery enabled the transaction through an omnichannel format from the shop to the home and added 200 clients, largely from FMCG, pharmaceutical, and other industries, with real-time product updates pivoting the landscape.

Current Valuation: ₹22,104 crore

Digital Jalebi

Digital Jalebi is a multidisciplinary agency that creates compelling interactive experiences through technology, architecture design, and interactions. It assists its clients in organizing events and managing technological support so that they may host the finest possible events.

Business model: Event Management Services

Industry: Events, Art & Design

Challenge: Digital Jalebi aided and organized various events and parties for the government, defense, aero, technology, pharma, and other industries, but everything came to a standstill because of the COVID-19 outbreak.

Pivot: In addition to hospitality, event management was badly impacted by the pandemic, and by recognizing the increased digitization, Digital Jalebi adapted itself to the client's requirements and developed its web-based virtual event platform.

The firm focused on reproducing real-world experiences online from the comfort of one's home, which could be accessed through any browser. It received a heavy hit from the epidemic and sought to stay afloat by pivoting its concept.

Current Valuation: $5 Million


Flipspaces is a 3D design and decorating platform that designs and executes consumer space interiors. It is a global tech-enabled startup focused on commercial space discovery, design, and execution.

It provides an end-to-end, design-to-execution solution for companies looking to establish their office, contractors looking to differentiate their residential and commercial projects, and working space market players creating professional spacing.

Business model: Real Estate, Interior design, and virtual reality

Industry: Real Estate

Challenge: Before the pandemic, office spaces were supplied with papers, printers, documents, and so on, which was practically impossible to accomplish during the pandemic breakout, which introduced cloud storage, and so on. But what about office space design and so on?

Pivot: Filespaces saw the pandemic as a chance to widen its competitive perimeter through technology to develop a scale and distinct customer experience in commercial space design and construction in the post-pandemic era.

The startup subsequently shifted its focus to a vertical REBOOTSPACE campaign, concentrating on merging social distance, touchless automation, and other technologies to transform the workplace into a better, safer, and more promising future.

Now that the lockdown has ended, offices are reopening, and working spaces must take the necessary precautions. This startup wanted to provide safety-enhanced solutions with technology integration that favor automation over human operations.

Flipspaces was previously active in commercial interior design, product design, and so on, but now heavily targets SMEs, startups, co-working spaces, and so on, owing to virtual learning, game engine-based tech, and its new campaign.

Current Valuation: $24 million

As seen above, it was not just the negative aspects of the pandemic that caused companies to pivot their concept, but even unaffected startups, who saw the market shift and how digitalization's involvement influenced overall adoption and revenue simply pivoted their strategy owing to drifting market conditions.

Also, read our recently published article on Sustainable startups in India, and read about various Indian government schemes for startups.

The #1 Tech Newsletter
in India

Stay updated with the #1 Tech Newsletter in India, featuring the latest startup news, AI advancements, and tech innovations. Subscribe now for expertly curated stories delivered directly to your inbox, keeping you informed and at the forefront of India's tech landscape.

The #1 Tech Newsletter in India

Siddhesh Surve

With a background in Journalism, Siddhesh aims to educate readers on tech news in India. Covering national and global events, he wants his readers to be the first to know what’s new in tech today!