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Home / Companies / Start-ups /  Nasscom sees 12 startups joining unicorn club in ’21

The Indian tech startup ecosystem will continue to grow on the back of rapid digitization and adoption of new technologies in a post-pandemic world, according to a joint report by Nasscom and global management and strategy consultancy Zinnov.

The report said that India will have at least 12 more unicorns in 2021, taking the total count to 50. The pipeline of startups with valuations of $1 billion or more remains strong with 1.5x growth since 2019, the report added.

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In 2020, 12 startups joined the coveted unicorn club, the highest ever in a year, with 58% of them being B2B tech startups, including Razorpay, PineLabs, Zerodha and Postman. At $16 billion, Paytm is India’s most valuable unicorn, followed by edtech startup Byju’s.

Nasscom said the initial public offering pipeline for startups will also strengthen in 2021-22, with a number of profitable firms such as Freshworks, Druva, PolicyBazaar and Delhivery announcing plans to list their shares.

Earlier this week, Mint reported that cosmetics e-tailer Nykaa is looking at a stock exchange listing by the end of 2021 or early next year at a valuation of more than $3 billion.

E-commerce major Flipkart, foodtech startup Zomato and furniture e-tailer Pepperfry are also preparing to go public.

Nykaa, which was founded eight years ago, will be the first online beauty marketplace in India to launch an IPO.

According to the report, increasing adoption of deep-tech has led to increased interest from venture capital firms (VCs) and funding agencies. It said 14% of total investments in 2020 were in deep-tech startups, up from 11% in 2019.

Furthermore, last year, 87% of all deep-tech investments were in artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning (ML) startups.

“With continued addition of new startups, booming unicorns and increased adoption of deep-tech, the ecosystem shows an even more promising future. Depending on headwinds, 2021 promises to be a positive year for Indian tech startups, marching steadily towards a $1 trillion digital economy goal," said Nasscom president Debjani Ghosh.

Sectors, which benefited from covid-19, such as edtech, agritech and gaming, are seeing a steady rise in first-time funding.

In 2020, Indian tech startups not only managed to stay afloat amid the uncertainties with rapid innovations but also converted the crisis into an opportunity, the report said.

Remote working continues to see significant adoption among tech startups, with 30-35% offering remote roles and 15-20% companies committing to work remotely, it said.

Rising digital adoption and remote working have also prompted 28-30% Indian tech startups to consider overseas business expansion, the report said.

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