India has 83 startup unicorns with a total valuation of $277.77 billion as of January 14, 2022, Economic Survey 2021-22 tabled in the Parliament, states. The country added a record 44 unicorn startups in 2021, overtaking UK to “emerge as the third highest country in number of unicorns after US and China which added 487 and 301 unicorns respectively in 2021,” the survey notes.
During 2021, the government recognised over 14,000 new startups as compared to only 733 new startups during 2016-17. As a result, more than 61,400 startups have been recognised in India as of January 10, 2022. “Startups in India have grown remarkably over the last six years, most of these belong to the services sector,” the survey says. Nearly 555 districts had at least one new startup last year. This compares to only 121 districts which had at least one new startup in 2016-17.
The survey highlights that Delhi has replaced Bangalore as the startup capital of India over the recent years. More than 5,000 recognised startups were added in Delhi while 4,514 startups were added in Bangalore between April 2019 and December 2021. Maharashtra on the other hand has the highest number of recognised startups with a total of 11,308 startups.
More consumers moved online amid the pandemic and signed up for a spate of services offered by tech startups, boosting the growth of the ecosystem and widening the market for startups. Indian startups raised close to $30 billion in funding in 2021, recording a growth of more than 100% over the previous year. Firms had collectively garnered about $10.9 billion in investments in 2020, according to data sourced from market research firm Tracxn earlier showed. According to industry estimates, the fintech space led the country’s unicorn count in 2021 with 11 unicorns. Edtech, SaaS (software-as-a-service) and healtech are other segments that are attracting heightened investor interest.
Interestingly, fresh startup ideas are increasingly emerging from cities beyond the established startup hubs of Delhi, Mumbai and Bengaluru. The startup activity is gaining momentum in cities like Indore, Ahmedabad, Jaipur, Lucknow, Kolkata and Bhubaneswar, regions analysts often collectively describe as the “emerging startup hubs.” A recent report by Nasscom and Zinnov said as much as 29% of all tech startups today are based in the emerging startup hubs. In fact, Jaipur has also joined the list of unicorn cities last year. Investors have infused about $850 million in capital into such companies over the last three years.
Analysts say that while late-stage financing is sure to persist, early stage funding is likely to get a boost as investors are more than willing to bet on newer business models.