Startup Ecosystem in India

India has emerged as the 3rd largest ecosystems for start-ups globally with over 63,100 recognized start-ups across 638 districts of the country as of 7th February 2022.

India ranks 2nd in innovation quality with top positions in the quality of scientific publications and the quality with top positions in the quality of scientific publications and in quality with top positions in the quality of scientific publications and the quality of its universities among middle=income economies.

The innovation in India is not just limited to certain sectors. We have recognized startups solving problems in 57 diverse industrial sectors with 13% from IT services, 9% healthcare and life sciences, 7% education, 5% professional and commercial services, 5% agriculture and 5% food & beverages.

Indian Startup Ecosystem has seen exponential growth in past few years (2015-2021):

Unicorn Elements

Unicorn is a term used in the venture capital industry to describe a privately held startup company with a value of over $1 billion.

While work from home during the pandemic fueled the growth of digital businesses in India, the incident also resulted in a long unicorn list. Mainly three factors, a thriving digital payments ecosystem, large smartphone user base and digital-first business models, have come together to attract investors. Tech companies, which have become household brands, are contributing to the unicorn boom in India, as smartphone penetration and digitization of commerce in every aspect of life has increased manifold during the pandemic. Besides fintech, e-commerce grocery, SaaS and marketplace players are contributing the most to the unicorn universe.

Unicorns Of India

As of 09th February 2022, India is home to 88 unicorns with a total valuation of $ 295.99 Bn. 

The year 2021, 2020, and 2019 saw the birth of the maximum number of Indian unicorns with 44, 10, and 9 unicorns coming each year, respectively. COVID-19 has caused a great amount of socio-economic suffering globally, but it is during this time when the resilient Indian Entrepreneurs have worked effortlessly to not only contribute to the economy but to also contribute toward COVID-19 relief efforts. In 2020, we witnessed the birth of more than 10 unicorns. ‘Its raining unicorn’ has been the motto of the year 2021 with 44 unicorns pumped in the ecosystem and many soon corns waiting in line.  

Geographically, the center of India’s high-tech industry, Bengaluru is India’s unicorn capital with the largest number of unicorns headquarters followed by Delhi (NCR) and Mumbai. While we see unicorns active in Tier I cities, this ecosystem is not restricted and is proliferating across the country till the last district. Traditional sectors such as Fin-tech, E-commerce, Supply Chain & Logistics, Internet Software & Services do dominate the arena but a strong wave of unconventional sectors such as Content, Gaming, Hospitality, Data management & analytics, etc are making their place on the list. 

While every startup has its unique journey to becoming a unicorn, the minimum and maximum time taken by a startup to become a unicorn are 6 months and 37 years, respectively. Mensa Brands took only 6 months to become a unicorn in 2021, making it one of fastest unicorns in Asia.

Indian Startups Turned Unicorns in 2021

In 2021 itself, India witnessed the birth of 44 unicorns with a total valuation of $ 94.37 Bn. Bengaluru, Delhi NCR, and Mumbai continue to be the top cities preferred as unicorn headquarters in 2021. Unconventional sectors and sub-sectors marked an entry into the unicorn space including, NBFCs, Conversational Messaging, Cryptocurrency Exchanges, D2C, Cloud Kitchens and many others.

Indian unicorns are also exploring the public listing avenues as a next step to realise the growth potential. Some one of big unicorn names that offered an IPO include Zomato, Nykaa, PolicyBazaar, Paytm and Freshworks, while many are already in line such as Delhivery, Mobikwik and CarDekho. 

Today, 1 out every 10 unicorns globally have been born in India. Overall, 2021 is experienced an exponential boom when it comes to startups entering the unicorn club. This is a testament to the vibrant startup ecosystem present in India.

Till date, 2022 has witnessed the birth of 7 unicorns with a total valuation of $ 9.12 Bn (as of 09th February 2022).