Start-ups in India

January 16 has been launched as National Start-up Day. It was the day when the government of India launched Start-up India that has energized the start-up ecosystem. “Today, India is rapidly moving towards hitting the century of the unicorns. I believe the golden era of India’s start-ups is starting now,” is what PM Narendra Modi said on National Start-up Day.

The government initiated The Start-up India Action Plan for start-ups, a platform that allowed entrepreneurs to register, gain access to investors and seek funding and other requirements (https://www.startupindia.gov.in/). Ever since it has been set up six years ago, the programme has made investments worth over INR 8,085 Cr ($1.08 Bn) in 550 start-ups funds and has committed INR 6,495 Cr ($873.1 Mn). As per official records, more than 61,669 start-ups have been recognised by the Department for Promotion of Industry and Internal Trade (DPIIT).

Indian start-ups have attracted impressive VC funding up-to $33.7bn in 2021 according to GlobalData, a leading data and analytics company. Some of the notable VC funding deals during 2021 in India included $3.6bn funding raised by Flipkart in July, $840m raised by Dream Sports in November, $570m funding raised by Fashnear Technologies (Meesho) in September, and $500m funding raised by Zomato in January. India saw 46 unicorns (companies with $1 billion valuations) in 2021 alone, more than doubling the total number of unicorns to 90. India is the third-largest unicorn hub behind the US (487) and China (301), and ahead of the UK (39). These include ShareChat, Cred, Meesho, Nazara, Moglix, MPL, Grofers (now Blinkit), upgrade, Mamaearth, GlobalBees, Acko, Spinny, and others.

Indian start-ups are developing innovative solutions and technologies and also large scale employment. Fintech, E-commerce, and SaaS have seen the maximum number of unicorns, with health-tech, ed-tech, D2C, gaming and crypto not far behind.

Another very interesting study compiled by Ilya A. Strebulaev, professor of finance at Stanford University’s Graduate School of Business, showed that out of 1,078 founders across 500 US unicorns, 90 entrepreneurs were born in India, signaling the significant presence of Indian Americans in the country’s start-up and tech economy. India-born founders were followed by the ones from Israel and Canada.

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