India consolidated its top 3 spots with 68 unicorns, led by online educator BYJU’s worth $22 billion, followed by on-demand delivery start-up Swiggy and fantasy sports platform travel-stay finder Dream11 ($8bn each), according to Hurun’s Global Unicorn Index 2023. However, no Indian startup was listed in the top 10 in 2023.

India's total tally of new unicorns in 2023 increased by 14 to 68 unicorns year-on-year and also increased by 47% since pre-Covid.

A further 70 unicorns were started by Indian co-founders outside of India, taking the total to 138 unicorns founded by Indians around the world. Of the unicorns founded outside of India, significantly all were in the USA (64), led by the Bay Area, and 2 in the UK, and 1 each in Germany, Singapore, Indonesia and Mexico.

Outside of the US and China, countries that have seen a boom in unicorns were led by India, and followed by the UK and Germany. Also, India led the way for emigrant unicorn founders, followed by China, Israel and Russia.

“Founders from India, China and Russia are producing more offshore unicorns than any other country. India’s co-founded 70 unicorns outside of India compared with 68 in India, whilst Chinese co-founded 32 outside of China, compared with 316 in China,” says the Hurun report.

Across the world, the US-led chart of the most number of unicorns with at 666, up 179, followed by China with 316, up 15, in 2023. The US added 250 ‘new faces’, while China added 107 and India 22. The USA had 23 ‘promotions’ from the Hurun index with 16 IPOs and 7 acquisitions. In China, 36 were promoted, 35 of which were IPOs.

The UK was fourth with 49 unicorns, while Germany retained fifth place with 36 unicorns. San Francisco retained the title of ‘World Unicorn Capital’ with 181 unicorns, up 30. New York is in the second spot with 126 unicorns, up 41. With 79 unicorns Beijing was down 12 to the third position, followed by Shanghai with 66. London with 42 unicorns was fifth, followed by Bengaluru and Shenzhen with 33 unicorns each.

Hurun Research found 508 new unicorns from 16 countries last year, led by the USA with 250, China with 107 and India with 22. The new unicorns were worth US$938bn, more than the GDP of Saudi Arabia.

With 35 unicorns, the USA has the largest number of e-commerce unicorns, followed by China (24) and India (17). China and India have a higher percentage of Gazelles and Unicorns, which over the course of 5 years, ought to translate into a higher percentage of Hurun Global 500s.

In the same way, France, Canada and Australia have a smaller percentage of start-ups, which suggests they will lose ground in the Hurun Global 500. The US has half of the world’s known unicorns and Global 500s, so will likely retain its dominance for the next five years.

The Hurun unicorn list found 1,361 unicorns in the world, up 303 or 29% in the last year and 867 or 175% since Covid in India.

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