With disruptive business models and tech-powered platforms, Indian startups are raking in millions of dollars in funding and witnessing a massive surge in valuation, making this a “decade of unicorns” for India, according to industry leaders.
Speaking at the India Today Conclave 2021, upGrad co-founder and MD Mayank Kumar said given the significant rise in the number of startups achieving unicorn status, it is a “decade of unicorns” for India.
“I guess 30-35 unicorns that have been found this year, I think it’s just about scratching the surface as we speak right now because when we look at those businesses, these are real businesses that are coming out and these are businesses that are actually disrupting the existing offline with the online ecosystem,” he said.
Kumar added that these tech-enabled businesses come with very different margin profiles and have the potential to scale.
“So, I do believe that with the quality of founders, with the capital coming in, with the market opening up, digital infrastructure getting ready, it’s not just a year but it’s a decade of long run growth for us,” he stated.
Unicorn startups are those with a valuation of over USD 1 billion. India, which is one of the world’s fastest-growing startup ecosystems, has seen companies like Mobile Premier League, CoinDCX, Rebel Foods, Licious and CoinSwitch Kuber joining the unicorn club.
Urban Company founder and CEO Abhiraj Bhal said valuation is an outcome metric of the work done by the startup.
“I think you have to really focus on building a company that creates value for customers, for suppliers, and (becoming a) unicorn is really an outcome, valuation is really an outcome metric. So, the focus has to be on building a high quality company, which creates a lot of value for society, and the valuation will follow,” he added.
Droom founder Sandeep Aggarwal, who has previously founded e-commerce platform ShopClues, noted that beyond the US, there are only two countries – India and China – that can provide access to about a billion internet population.
He added that the difference between the India and China markets is that China had years of protectionism for the Internet companies, while that was not the case in India.
“I would say India is still the home to the third largest unicorns and half of them have come in last two years alone,” he noted.
He added that the definition of innovation is “what is possible now” with the availability of technology and was not possible before. “Internet has made products and services geography-agnostic, it has made them time-agnostic, it has lowered the entry barrier,” he said.
Moglix founder and CEO Rahul Garg said “I think what Covid has taught is India really needs to play a very very important role in the global supply chain”.