Dr. Syama Prasad Mookerjee Research Foundation

Growing Number of Unicorns shows the confidence in Indian Business and Entrepreneurial Ecosystem

In India, the meteoric rise in the recent years in number of New Ventures as well as Unicorns (companies which are privately held and are of value over 1 $billion/7,500 Cr Rupees) have caught the world attention. With Slice, a Fintech Company entering the club as the 41st Unicorn of this year. India has now overtaken the UK and Israel in terms of the number of Unicorns being created in one calendar year.

I have been closely observing India’s entrepreneurial scene since 2012. As during my undergraduate days, I was passionately attending business plan competitions and pitching to various angels and VCs, I personally could see lot of changes since then in terms of support and encouragement that is there for new ventures today both in public and private markets. There are several College Incubators. Support for Student Entrepreneurs at various seed, angel round to higher Venture funding level.

In 2011, InMobi, became India’s first Unicorn company founded by Harvard Business School Alumni Naveen Tewari, providing mobile advertising solution to other global companies. Since then, there were number of successful unicorn companies such as Ola, Flipkart, Zomato, OYO, BYJU’s, Cure. Fit, CRED etc. In various domains such as Fintech, SaaS, Retail, Logistics, Travel, Food, Education. These early companies through their business and growth models, have shown global investors strong confidence in Indian Start up Ecosystem.

Bengaluru, Information Technology Capital of India, has taken the crown for producing the highest number of unicorns accounting for over 40% of all unicorns in the country. Due to strong technology talent pool and venture capital support available. Other Indian cities such as Mumbai, Delhi-NCR, Chennai, and Hyderabad are also home to many of the high growth venture-backed companies.

Recently, Freshworks, a Chennai born startup got listed in US Stock Exchange NASDAQ got valuation of over 23 Bn $ (1,73,000 CR Rs), Many of its employees who had stock options hence it also created 500 Crorepatis in India. This is one of the beautiful essences of Entrepreneurship i.e., creation and distribution of wealth.

Even on Indian Capital Market the recent IPOs such as Zomato, Policy Bazaar and their successful listing in Indian Exchanges. Also, Successful Exit through Sale of Flipkart to Global Retail Giant Walmart shows the confidence in the underlying value of the given companies and its timely returns to alternate investment funds. Cascading effect of these entrepreneurial exits is in creation of newer venture funds and investment through seed, angels to many more companies of the future. It also creates beacon of hope for newer funds to make entry into India and make bold bets on Indian Entrepreneurs.

Last decade, Indian Information Technology Industry has created a New Upper Middle Class, which has provided foundation for the talent base and skills in business and technology. The new generation is aspirational, risk taking and entrepreneurial they want to create new ventures of tomorrow from India even having global ambitions.

The 4G revolution in India through Jio and Digital India Initiative of Prime Minister Modi and support system given for entrepreneurs has given wings to dreams of Indian Aspirational young population. I believe next decade can produce phenomenal companies from India with great wealth creation through ventures and startups.

(The Writer is a Technologist having interest in Public Policy, Foreign Policy, Economics and Startup Ecosystem. Views expressed are his own)