Indian unicorns: The torchbearers of the Indian economy
A unicorn is a privately held startup company with over $ 1 billion. The startup ecosystem is a sign of an economy's vitality and inventiveness. Governments, central banks, and the corporate sector have all realised how essential startups are in delivering specialised solutions in recent years. With cutting-edge technology, start-ups help the economy grow over time while also spawning new industries. When these companies go public, they become profit machines for the founders, employees, and shareholders. Furthermore, startups help to strengthen a country's economy.
In India, the government witnessed the significance of start-ups' penetrative capacities as a result of which, they quickly created a supportive regulatory and legal framework for their smooth functioning and development. The Reserve Bank of India, India's central bank, recognised the value of technology in the Indian society, government, and economy and created a supportive financial framework. Entrepreneurs from India took the initiative and pushed forward with their concepts. The extraordinary amount of unicorns India produced in 2021 resulted from such a collective endeavour.
There are currently 105 unicorns in India, valued at a combined $ 338.50 billion (July 2022 report). The majority of these unicorn businesses are tech-native businesses that have proven their capability by offering solutions to specific pressing issues in a variety of industries, including healthcare, financial services, mobility, logistics, e-commerce (Business to Business (B2B)) and (Business to Customer) (B2C)), Software as a Service (SaaS), and education. India has demonstrated its dominance in software and Information Technology Enabled Services (ITeS) and dominated the global market. Like software, education technology (ed-tech) is a field in which India is well-positioned and can make a substantial contribution. Some Indian businesses are attempting to achieve global scale, such as Byju's, one of India's greatest unicorns with an estimated worth of $ 18 billion.
India has demonstrated unquestionable performance in payments. For instance, practically all banking transactions are now digital. According to the most recent annual report by the Reserve Bank of India, 98.5 per cent of all non-cash payments were made digitally over the years 2020–21. Particularly during the Covid-19 lockdowns, the digital revolution picked up the pace. Due to these powerful interconnected loops, most unicorns in India are digital native businesses that have successfully picked up the ball and run in different directions, including fintech, edtech, health-tech, or logistics-tech.
The skill of entrepreneurs and innovators is the second unspoken factor influencing unicorn success. They comprehend global best practices and have the necessary experience with digital technology. They are leading the way in transitioning cutting-edge technologies like blockchain, artificial intelligence (AI), machine learning (ML), and others from testing to various application cases. The top incubators, accelerators, and mentors are highly contested among all higher education institutions. More than 7 million kids actively instill skills like design mentality, computational thinking, adaptive learning, physical computing, and more in more than 8,700 "Atal Tinkering Laboratories" at the school level, building the next generation of Indian startup founders.
As a result of Indian unicorns' early success, financing sources have recognised both their potential and that of others still in the queue. The financing environment has altered. The emphasis has switched to India as some geographic areas are a barrier to investment. According to a PwC report, fintech is leading with investments totalling $ 4.6 billion recorded up until September, an increase of roughly 296 per cent from $ 1.6 billion for the same period in 2020. Fifty-three concluded projects totalling $ 2.4 billion in investments at various phases of the investment process were documented in the third quarter of the financial year (FY) 2021.
The Hurun India Future Unicorn Index 2022 identified 122 future unicorns in 25 Indian cities. With 46 unicorns, Bengaluru is still India's unicorn capital. With 25 and 16 unicorns, Delhi-National Capital Region and Mumbai are in second and third place. After the United States and China, India has the third-largest ecosystem for startups. According to Rajesh Saluja, Chief Executive Officer and Managing Director of ASK Wealth Advisors Pvt Ltd. In India in 2021, a record 44 startups became unicorns with a total valuation of $ 93 Billion.
All kinds of markets are significantly impacted by wise technological use. Whether startups or multinational corporations, all businesses require technology to achieve a competitive advantage in domestic and foreign markets. Indian unicorns are a vibrant example of this. In India, a spiral effect is at work: as more unicorns are produced, more are born. Between 2015 and 2021, India's startup ecosystem saw a nine-time increase in investment and a seven-time increase in funding. It is believed that India is gradually 'transitioning from the age of unicorns to the age of decacorns.' A company valued at more than $ 10 billion is known as a decacorn. Forty-seven businesses worldwide had attained the decacorn rank as of May 2022. The decacorn cohort now includes four firms from India: Flipkart, BYJU's, Nykaa, and Swiggy, which shows the expanse of India's success story.
This has been co-authored by Bhakti Jain and Ishita Dhar.