LinkedIn, which is the world’s largest professional networking website, on Tuesday, unveiled the top start-ups' list with CRED, upGrad, Groww, and Zepto leading as the top firms where Indian professionals want to work. The list, which also features 25 other start-ups, is compiled across four pillars namely employee growth, job seeker interest, member engagement with the company, and its employees, and the ability of start-ups to attract and retain talent. LinkedIn has included those companies in the list, which are fully independent, privately held and have more than 50 full-time employees. 

According to LinkedIn, between January and August this year, the Indian start-ups raised more than $21 billion in funding, with upGrad leading the funding round by raising $210 million this year. “Start-ups are a natural place to look for new ideas and innovation. But they’re also risky. And have not been immune to recent economic turmoil. While there’s no doubt it’s a challenging moment, uncertainty often sparks innovation. Operating under constrained resources can push companies to be nimble, more intentional and adapt quickly,” LinkedIn said. The electric mobility start-ups such as BluSmart, Rapido, Park, and Zypp, are also included in the list. 

The list comes at a time, when the Indian start-up ecosystem is in a transitional period, with the sector witnessing massive layoffs, paycuts and funding winter over the past few months. Apart from this, while mergers and acquisitions of start-ups were at a record high this year, several start-ups have also closed shop owing to the lack of funds. Meanwhile, several IT employees in the Indian industry have either resorted to ‘quiet quitting’ or ‘moonlighting.’

In order to retain employees, several start-ups are offering employee stock ownership plans (ESOPs). LinkedIn said CRED’s lucrative benefits like ElderCare, and egg freezing as part of its BeniFlex Program along with the program to support mental wellness is the reason behind it topping the start-up's list. Apart from CRED, online food aggregators, Zomato and Swiggy are also offering employee-friendly benefits. 

The Indian start-up ecosystem, which is ranked third after the US and China, has witnessed a massive growth of over 15,400% in the last six years. While only 471 start-ups were recognized in the country in 2016, in 2022 India registered at least 72,993 start-ups, according to the data by the ministry of commerce. Meanwhile, India witnessed a whopping 39% year-on-year growth in venture capital funding deal volume to 976 during H1 2022, according to a report by GlobalData

According to Hurun India Future Unicorn Index 2022, India registered an increase of 65% in domestic unicorns this year. The Indian start-ups are likely to add 122 fresh unicorns at a valuation of more than $1 billion. In order to boost the domestic start-up ecosystem, the central government has launched initiatives such as the Start-up India Action Plan, Fund of Funds for Start-ups (FFS) Scheme, Start-up India Seed Fund, Start-up India: The Way Ahead, Start-up India Showcase, Start-up India Hub, income tax exemption for three years, self-certification under labour and environmental laws, among others.

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