Indian startups raised a record $24.1 billion in 2021, a two-fold increase over pre-Covid levels, while $6 billion were raised via public markets with 11 startup IPOs, a new Nasscom report said on Friday.
The Indian tech startup base continues to witness steady growth, adding over 2250 startups in 2021, which is 600 more than 2020.
India, accounting for 70 unicorns, added a record number of new unicorns (42) in 2021 across 18 sectors, third highest after the US and China, with a cumulative valuation of newly-added unicorns standing around $90 billion.
“In comparison to 2020, there was a 3X increase in the number of high-value deals (deals over $100 million), demonstrating investor confidence,” according to the Nasscom-Zinnov report.
While the US remains the leading source of foreign direct investment in start-ups, worldwide involvement is also growing in India and 50 per cent of the deals had at least one India-domiciled investor, the report noted.
“With record-breaking funding, an increase in the number of unicorns, jobs being created in the near term, the Indian startup ecosystem’s future looks even brighter going ahead in 2022,” said Debjani Ghosh, President, Nasscom.
The start-up ecosystem saw a 2X gain in cumulative valuation from 2020 to 2021, with an estimate of $320-$330 billion, demonstrating the sector’s development and recovery throughout the pandemic.
In the last decade, the ecosystem has played a key role in growing direct and indirect job opportunities, providing 6.6 lakh direct jobs and more than 34.1 lakh indirect jobs, said the report.
“When compared to the UK, the US, Israel and China, 2021 has been an outstanding year for the Indian startup ecosystem, with the highest growth rate in terms of deals, both in seed stage and late-stage funding, and number of startups,” said Pari Natarajan, CEO, Zinnov.
Established start-up centres like Delhi-NCR, Bengaluru, Chennai, Pune, Hyderabad and Mumbai account for 71 per cent of all startups.
Outside of the developing start-up centres like Jaipur, Kochi, Kolkata, Chandigarh, and others, 29 percent of all startups are located.
At least one-woman founder/co-founder is present in 12-15 per cent of start-ups and 10 unicorns.
Women-led start-up success stories, academia-led efforts, business programmes, and government initiatives are driving the inclusion and diversity flywheel, the report said.
In terms of maturity and investments, BFSI, Retail and Retail Tech, Enterprise Tech, and EdTech reign supreme.
BFSI witnessed a breakout year, accounting for 13 Unicorns additions and over 35 potential unicorns, registering 25 per cent of investments in 2021.