Over the years, India has shown its potential as an attractive market to do business by offering a business-friendly ecosystem. Within 10 months of 2021, 31 startups made it to the Unicorn list. India has produced more than three unicorns in a month on an average this year. India saw its first health-tech, crypto, e-pharmacy and social commerce unicorn this year.
Unicorn Rush, which started this year with Bengaluru-based startup Digit Insurance, has covered diverse areas ranging from fintech to e-shopping and even cloud kitchens. Rebel Foods, which operates a network of cloud kitchen brands such as Faasos and Behrouz Biryani, became the first to enter the unicorn club from the niche category that has found its place during the pandemic.
What Is a Unicorn?
Unicorn is a term used in the venture capital industry to describe a privately held startup company with a value of over $1 billion.
What triggered the unicorn rush during 2021?
While work from home during Covid fueled the growth of digital businesses in India, the incident also resulted in a long unicorn list. Mainly three factors, a thriving digital payments ecosystem, large smartphone user base and digital-first business models, have come together to attract investors.
Tech companies, which have become household brands, are contributing to the unicorn boom in India, as smartphone penetration and digitization of commerce in every aspect of life have increased manifold during the pandemic. Besides fintech, e-commerce grocery, SaaS and marketplace players are contributing the most to the unicorn universe.
No. of unicorns in 2021
1. Fintech – 7
2. E-commerce – 4
3. SaaS – 4
4. Marketplace – 4
5. Crypto – 3
6. Edtech – 3
7. B2B E-commerce – 2
8. Social Media – 2
9. Gaming – 1
10. D2C – 1
11. Foodtech – 1
31 new entrants to the coveted US$ 1 billion club
Digit Insurance, Innovaccer, Five Star Finance, Meesho, Infra.Market, CRED, Pharmeasy, Groww, Gupshup, Mohalla Tech, Chargebee, Urban Company, Moglix, Zeta, BrowserStack, BlackBuck, Droom, Ofbusiness, BharatPe, MindTickle, upGrad, CoinDCX, Eruditus, Zetwerk, Grofers, Mobile Premier League, Apna, Vedantu, Licious, CoinSwitch Kuber and Rebel Foods.
Role of Digital India in making startups into unicorns
Union Commerce and Industry Minister Piyush Goyal said that India is poised to become one of the largest digital markets in the world. During the Second Global Fintech Fest-2021 address, he said, “At 87 per cent, India has the highest Fintech adoption rate in the world against the global average of 64 per cent.”
“As of May 2021, India’s United Payments Interface (UPI) has seen the participation of 224 banks & recorded 2.6 billion transactions worth over $68 billion and the highest ever, more than 3.6 billion transactions, in August 2021,” said Union Minister Piyush Goyal. “Over 2 trillion transactions were processed using the AePS (Aadhar-enabled payment system) last year,” he added.
There are about 640 million internet users in the country. Of this, 550 million are smartphone users. Additionally, digital payments have seen a growth of 30.19 per cent for the financial year ended March 31, 2021.
With the next 500 million internet users coming from smaller cities, the growth of the digital business is about to grow from here and investors are trying to be a part of it.