In April this year when online marketplace Paytm Mall received funding of $445 million followed by hotel chain OYO’s mega $800 million fund raise, in September, it looked like Delhi-NCR (the National Capital Region) had toppled Bengaluru to attract the lion’s share of startup investments for 2018. But, as the year draws to a close, the data, which Fortune India has collected, tells a different story.
This year so far, startups in Bengaluru have garnered $2.29 billion in 111 funding rounds, the highest across cities in India, according to data from analytics firm Tracxn. Delhi-NCR based startups were next in line: raising $2.11 billion in 67 rounds during the same period. The data reveals that startups based in Mumbai raised a total of $525 million in 59 rounds. The data includes funding rounds between January 1, and November 19, this year for companies which were founded in 2011 and after.
Can this buoyancy be sustained?
The startup community in Bengaluru feels that it is not only “sustainable” but is “bound to accelerate.”
“Stars have aligned to spur this growth as well as for this growth trajectory to continue. We have seen very good scaling of companies, huge adoption by consumers for products and services being offered,” says K Ganesh, Bengaluru-based serial entrepreneur and partner at GrowthStory, one of India’s largest entrepreneurship platforms, which promotes and runs startups.
“The success and exits of companies like Flipkart, investors making real money, secondary sales in companies giving returns to early-stage investors, huge exploding growth in Internet, smartphones, untapped markets in rural India are some of the reasons fuelling the growth,” adds Ganesh.
Among the major funding deals announced this year for Bengaluru-based startups include: BigBasket raising $300 million in February in a funding round led by Chinese e-commerce giant Alibaba. In June, food-tech startup Swiggy raised $310 million. In September online business-to-business (B2B) marketplace Udaan raised a hefty $275 million funding.
During the same period last year Bengaluru raised $2.33 billion in 96 funding rounds, the highest across cities, followed by Delhi-NCR-based startups which raised $1.08 billion in 69 rounds, noted Tracxn data. Experts point out that the increase in fund flow among Bengaluru-based startups is mainly fuelled by three factors: the ever-growing startup ecosystem, availability of the critical mass, and the talent pool.
“Over the past, Bengaluru has seen many high-tech companies in the ecommerce and Internet space including the likes of Amazon, Yahoo, Google,” says Rishi Das, co-founder and chairman, IndiQube, a Bengaluru-based shared office space provider, adding that, “A rich catchment of tech entrepreneurs who have made it big in the city’s startup scenario are all the alumni of the cutting-edge global technology companies. Another key differentiator that adds on is the availability of talent in the city.”
In the last decade, Bengaluru has built a buzzing ecosystem of startups, angel investors and venture capitalists, who have consistently contributed to the growing entrepreneurial culture of the city.
According to the numbers from Tracxn, the consumer sector is the most funded in the startup space in Bengaluru and in the Delhi-NCR region. Interestingly, food as a sector is the second-most funded in the startup space in Bengaluru. Food startups in the city raised a total funding of $829 million in 12 rounds during the period under review.
“Unlike many other sectors, food is recession proof and solves the most basic human need. The evolution of the food space has accelerated over the last 10 years and the sector is now in the best shape ever. As with most other segments, user-led evolution has driven the most innovations. There is a massive behavioural shift and a digital-led solution is at the heart of the development and growth of the food sector,” says Sandipan Mitra, CEO and co-founder, HungerBox, a Bengaluru-based B2B food-tech startup. In July this year, HungerBox raised $4.5 million from Neoplux, Sabre Partners, Lionrock Capital and Infosys co-founder Kris Gopalakrishnan. Mitra is looking to raise fresh funding in the next 12 months.
Ganesh points out that with funding available across the various stages of growth, it is important to choose the right type of investor at every stage of the company. “We like to raise money sooner rather than later. Raising money is not the end-objective but only a necessary milestone. Having aligned investors is very important.” At present, sectors such as hyper-local delivery, financial tech companies are seeing immense investor interest.
Only time will tell if Bengaluru can maintain the momentum going into 2019.