Photo: iStockphoto
Photo: iStockphoto

India adds 1300 start-ups, 7 unicorns in 2019: Nasscom report

  • In January to September period of this year, there were 8,900-9,300 tech start-ups, compared with 7,700-8,200 in the year ago period
  • The number of investments in start-ups also grew hand in hand

NEW DELHI : India continues to be the third largest start-up ecosystem in the world, adding more than 1300 tech start-ups in 2019, according to a Nasscom report on the Indian Tech Start-up Ecosystem – Leading Tech in the 20s, released on Tuesday.

In January to September period of this year, there were 8900-9300 tech start-ups, compared with 7700-8200 in the year ago period.

The number of investments in start-ups also grew hand in hand. According to the report, investment in start-ups touched $4.4 billion for the January- September 2019 period, across 450 start-ups at a 5% year-on-year growth trajectory. Early stage funding too saw a spike with $ 1.6 billion being recorded in 2019.

“Indian start-up ecosystem has definitely come a long way in providing a level playing field for innovators to flourish by strengthening capabilities and fostering co-creation. The next wave of growth will be at the junction of convergence of technologies, where different sectors will embrace digital to re-define their operations," said Debjani Ghosh, President, Nasscom, in a statement.

Start-ups created 60,000 direct jobs in 2019 alone, compared with 40,000 jobs in 2018.

Indian start-up ecosystem’s quest for unicorns or start-ups with valuations of over $1 billion continued this year too. Seven new unicorns were added in 2019, taking the total tally of unicorns to 24, which is the third highest number of unicorns in a single country in the world, according to the report. These latest unicorn club members are BigBasket, Delhivery, Rivigo, Dream 11, Druva, Ola Electric, Icertis.

71% of these unicorns are B2B (business-to-business) focused, while 57% are from emerging and nascent sectors such as gaming, supply chain, logistics and automotive.

The report also identifies over 50 potential unicorns in the country that have received cumulative funding of more than $50 million. These include start-ups like GreyOrange, Grofers and Pine Labs.

There has been a 33% growth in deep technology start-ups with 18% of these start-ups leveraging deep-tech, up from 8% in 2014. These include start-ups in sectors like medical diagnostics, precision agriculture and fraud detection.

"The start-up landscape in the country is becoming the epitome of innovation, with companies bringing out solutions that are aimed at solving locally relevant issues. However, to simulate innovation, government and corporates need to focus on increasing their role as prominent stakeholders playing the part of venture capitalists and providing the appropriate market access, funding, and guidance to seed stage start-ups," said Ghosh.

The country has over 335 active incubators and accelerators with a capacity to enable over 5000 start-ups every year. More than 65% share of incubators and accelerator programs were added in the last five years, out of which 57% are active outside Tier 1 cities.

The start-up ecosystem of India is at a cumulative valuation of $95-101 billion and Nasscom aims to further accelerate this ecosystem by 2025. This would include increasing the number of unicorns to 95-105 potentially, with a cumulative valuation of $ 350-390 billion. Nasscom also wants to increase direct jobs to 1100-1250,000 in the start-up ecosystem by 2025.

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