UNICORN BOOM IN INDIA
The Indian Unicorns are thriving in today's highly competitive and dynamic economy. Startups are not only producing innovative solutions and technologies but are generating large-scale employment. COVID-19 accelerated India's digital transformation as more consumers started relying on digital services - be it shopping online, digital payments, online health consultations, or video conferencing - to fulfill their daily business and personal requirements.
Until FY 2016-17, approximately one unicorn was added yearly. Over the past four years (since FY 2017-18), this number has increased exponentially, with a whopping 66% Year-on-Year growth in the number of additional unicorns being added every year. As of 05th May 2022, India is home to 100 unicorns with a total valuation of $ 332.7 Bn. Out of the total number of unicorns, 44 unicorns with a total valuation of $ 93 Bn were born in 2021, and 14 unicorns with a total valuation of $ 18.9 Bn were born in 2022.
The year of 2021 saw a massive growth in the Unicorn boom in India, with 42 companies becoming unicorns, owing to the work from home that took place during the pandemic aiding in the evolution of digital businesses in India.
Three main aspects can be credited for this boom that attracted investors:
A thriving digital payments ecosystem
A large smartphone user base
Digital-first business models
Moreover, 2021 saw eight Fintech Companies joining the unicorn list and diversified E-shopping companies making to the listing like in Online Pharmacy (PharmEasy), Social Commerce (Meesho), D2C brands (Licious, MyGlamm), Groceries (Grofers) and B2B marketplaces (Infra. Market, Moglix, OfBusiness).
According to data from Dolat Capital, Indian fintech firms generated $10.6 billion in 2021, up from $4.3 billion in 2019 and $3.1 billion in 2020.
During its acquisition binge of Indian/global enterprises, Indian tech behemoth Byju's became the most valuable startup, estimated at $21 billion. IPOs such as Zomato, Nykaa, and Paytm attracted significant FII anchor investment during a global liquidity boom. In fact, Indian entrepreneurs raised more money in the third quarter of 2021 than they had in the previous seven years.
Year 2021 saw some great unicorns developed:
First woman-led Unicorn by Ruchi Deepak, a digital insurance company Acko Insurance became the first female-led fintech startup to enter the unicorn club.
Covid-led Edutech boom drove three of the EdTech Majors: Eruditus, upGrad, and Vedantu.
Despite uncertainty around the regulation of cryptocurrencies in India, two of the crypto exchanges, CoinSwitch and CoinDCX, turned unicorns.
Amid the rising market for used cars, three of the startups in the used car space turned into unicorns Spinny, Cardekho and Droom.
Founded by the former CEO of Myntra, Mensa Brands became one of the youngest unicorns globally by hitting the milestone in just six months of inception.
SoftBank, Tiger Global, Temasek, Prosus, and Falcon Edge, among others, are pouring money into Indian businesses like never before. Innovacer and Infra. Market, Meesho, CRED, PharmEasy, Groww, ShareChat, and OfBusiness all more than quadrupled their values in various financing rounds in 2021.
The acquisition of Thyrocare by PharmEasy will go down as a legend as the first unicorn/startup to take out a publicly-traded company.
Tech companies, e-commerce grocery, SaaS and marketplace players are contributing the most to the unicorn universe. The unicorn wave in India is still going strong: one unicorn has been added every five days within the first two months of 2022, and India is expected to have 100+ new unicorns in 2022.