The number of recognised startups in the country increased from 471 in 2016 to 72,993 in 2022, recording a massive over 15,400% growth, the commerce ministry data as of June 30, 2022, shows. The recognised startups are spread across 56 diversified sectors, with around 4,500 startups recognised in emerging tech such as the internet of things (IoT), robotics, artificial intelligence, analytics, etc.
The government launched the Startup India initiative on January 16, 2016, to build a stronger ecosystem for nurturing India’s startup culture to drive economic growth, support entrepreneurship, and enable large-scale job opportunities.
The initiatives taken by the Centre are schemes like the Startup India Action Plan, Fund of Funds for Startups (FFS) Scheme, Startup India Seed Fund, Startup India: The Way Ahead, Startup India Showcase, Startup India Hub, income tax exemption for three years, self-certification under labour and environmental laws, among others.
Not only the government schemes but the Indian startup community is also benefitting immensely from the venture capital (VC) funding as well. "Indian startups seem to be gaining investors’ confidence. India witnessed a whopping 39% year-on-year (YoY) growth in venture capital (VC) funding deal volume to 976 during the first half (H1) of 2022. The corresponding disclosed funding value too clocked a 4.5% rise to $15.6 billion," according to GlobalData, a leading data and analytics company.
“India witnessed a positive trend in both VC funding value and volume in H1 2022 compared to H1 2021 while several other key markets such as the U.S. and China experienced a decline," says Aurojyoti Bose, Lead Analyst at GlobalData.
The country also saw the announcement of several big-ticket deals during H1 2022. Some of the prominent deals announced during the period include $805 million funding raised by Verse Innovation, $800 million series F funding raised by Think and Learn (Byju's), $700 million funding raised by Bundl Technologies (Swiggy), $450 million funding raised by Polygon, and $300 million funding raised by Xpressbees.
Moreover, several government departments have also launched different programmes to boost the startup industry. The department of science and technology launched an umbrella programme called National Initiative for Developing and Harnessing Innovations in 2016 for startups. Besides, the biotechnology department, through Biotechnology Industry Research Assistance Council (BIRAC), supports and nurtures startups. The Centre's “Innovation and Agri-entrepreneur development” programme promotes innovation and agri-preneurship. Also, the defence ministry’s Innovations for Defence Excellence (iDEX) aims to achieve self-reliance and foster innovation and technology development in defence and aerospace.
However, the overall sector has been facing tough times amid global supply chain disruptions causing fund crunch. Indian startups being heavily reliant on external funding are bearing the brunt. A spate of startups, including unicorns like Unacademy, Byju's, Vedantu and Cars24, have laid off employees. Reportedly, more than 12,000 Indian startup employees have lost jobs. At the same time, the global tally of impacted staff in the tech and startup sector stands at more than 22,000.