India added three ‘unicorns’ each month in 2021. It nearly doubled the overall number of startups valued at over USD 1 billion to 51 at the end of August. Unicorn is a term used in business to define a startup whose valuation is over USD 1 billion. India stands at third position in the list of unicorns globally, only behind the US (396) and China (277). The country marched ahead of UK (32) and Germany (18) respectively.
Although the cumbersome regulations for startups have deeply impacted the businesses in India, it can be noted that over the last couple of years, dedicated efforts have been taken by the government to hone the startups with flagship initiatives like ‘Startup India’.
As per the Hurun India Future Unicorn list 2021, the number of gazelles (currently valued at over USD 500 million) was 32. They have a high possibility of turning unicorn in the next two years. While there are 54 cheetahs (currently valued at over USD 200 million), that can achieve the coveted status in four years. Sequoia topped Hurun India’s future unicorn list of 2021 followed by Tiger Global with 37 and 18 investments.
The future unicorns listed by Hurun are valued at USD 36 billion. Currently, India has more than 600 million internet users. By 2025, the number is expected to increase to 900 million. The surging number of users will further complement the rise of startups.
However, Rahman Junaid, Managing Director, and Chief Researcher at Hurun India indicated that the number of unicorns in India could have been higher as some startups leave the country after achieving a certain scale of profits. It is evident from the past because some of the best enterprises with software as a service, ‘flipped’ to the USA even though they originated in India. If these start-ups will be incentivized to stay in the country, it will cover the lost cost opportunity.
IITs and IIMs contribution to the unicorn list
The country’s leading institutions, such as IITs and IIMs have churned out the most successful entrepreneurs. As per the reports, 17 founders were graduated from IIT Delhi, 15 from IIT Bombay followed by 13 from IIT Kanpur. Among all the IIM’s, the favorite post-graduation school was IIM Ahmedabad with 13 founders in the list. There were 31 startups that originated from Bangalore, followed by Delhi-NCR at 18 and Mumbai at 13. As many as 11 co-founders on the list were under the age of 30, while 15 were above 50 years.