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India’s 44 unicorns create USD 106 billion in economic value for the startup ecosystem

Written by Moulishree Srivastava Published on   2 mins read

India’s startup ecosystem has emerged as the third-largest in the world.

In the last 10 years, India’s 44 unicorns—companies that are valued at a minimum of USD 1 billion—have generated over 1.4 million direct and indirect jobs annually, creating USD 106 billion value for the country’s startup ecosystem, a new report by Mumbai-headquartered early-stage VC firm Orios Venture Partners said.

Three of these firms–online travel portal MakeMyTrip, job-hunting site Naukri, and local search JustDial–have been listed, while one unicorn, Flipkart, was acquired by Walmart. As per India’s Economic Survey 2020-21 released last month, there are 38 companies valued over a billion dollars in the country at present, including 12 that entered this elite club last year during the pandemic.

The report titled ‘Indian Tech Unicorn Report 2020,’ said unicorn creation has largely been in the B2C segment. Maximum companies that got the unicorn status are from the fintech sector, followed by retail and SaaS that came at a close second. Rest of the unicorn companies are in logistics, data analytics, travel, food, and gaming sector.

At 41%, India’s Silicon Valley, Bengaluru, topped the chart of creating largest number of unicorns, while New Delhi and Mumbai contributed to 34% and 14% of unicorns, respectively.

Furthermore, the report found that on an average a company took eight years to get to the unicorn status.

“The trend that is noticeable here is that time has been reducing, as founders with prior founding or startup experience are coming into play,” it added. For instance, B2B e-commerce startup Udaan and Ola’s mobility business Ola Electric have taken only three years to achieve that status.

Source: The India Tech Unicorn Report 2020

“The Indian startup ecosystem has generated tremendous value for founders, employees, investors, and the economy. Most of these are backed by technology and that is the key differentiating factor between unicorns of the 21st century vs the prior era,” said Rehan Yar Khan, Managing Partner, Orios Venture Partners said.

Currently, Orios has three unicorn companies in its portfolio–Ola, Druva, and Pharmeasy–which it had backed in their early days and aims to have another three to five unicorns over the next few years.

“I think, for us, it is all about creating value,” Anup Jain, managing partner of Orios, told KrASIA in a previous interview. “We aim to invest in one out of every ten Indian unicorns. So, if there are going to be 30 unicorns in the next two years, we’d like to hold stakes in three of those unicorns. That is our key focus, and that is our investment philosophy.”

From its inception in 2008-09, India’s startup ecosystem has emerged as the third-largest in the world. As per the Economic Survey 2020-21, India has 41,061 recognized startups as of December 23, 2020.

“Startups have the potential to be the engine of growth in the medium to long run…The Indian start-up ecosystem has been progressing well, despite the COVID-19 pandemic. Faced with a myriad of challenges at the onset of the pandemic, the ecosystem defied the odds and had a record number of 12 startups that reached unicorn status,” the Economic Survey said.


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