India is home to the third-highest number of unicorn start-ups in the world, with seven new ones joining the club in 2019 alone, said industry body National Association of Software and Services Companies (Nasscom) on Tuesday.
“The start-up landscape in the country is becoming the epitome of innovation. Indian start-up ecosystem has definitely come a long way in providing a level playing field for innovators to flourish,” said Nasscom president Debjani Ghosh at the body’s 16th Product Conclave 2019.
In start-up and venture capital circles, unicorns are start-ups commanding a minimum valuation of $1 billion.
In 2019 alone, up until August, the Indian start-up ecosystem has seen seven unicorns being added, said Nasscom, giving an update on the state of Indian start-up ecosystem through its Start-up Report 2019.
Nasscom has estimated that there are up to 24 unicorns in India while it sees unicorn potential in 50 more start-ups.
Additionally, 1,300 new start-ups enriched the Indian start-up ecosystem in 2019, with encouragement from 335 active incubators and accelerators, Nasscom said.
The incubator and accelerator capacity in India currently is powerful enough to raise 5,000 start-ups annually, with 65 per cent of the incubators being added in the last five years alone.
From January to September 2019, investment in 450 Indian start-ups touched $4.4 billion, signalling a 5 per cent year-on-year growth in funding, Nasscom said.
Further, Indian start-ups received 70 per cent growth in early stage funding, with nearly 18 per cent of them deploying deep tech and 21 per cent focused on global markets.
Nearly 480 start-ups are registered outside India with research and development located in the country.
In the last five years, tech start-ups in India grew to be 9,300-strong, which directly generated more than 4 lakh jobs until 2019, Nasscom added.
The start-up ecosystem is also witnessing rapid growth in deep-tech start-ups, along with focus on underserved markets.
Deep-tech includes artificial intelligence, analytics, augmented reality, blockchain and internet of things among others.
As many as 1,600 deep-tech start-ups have been identified by Nasscom, representing a compounded annual growth rate of 40 per cent.
Nasscom said rise in internet penetration, better digital infrastructure, and the government’s digital inclusion push has given a shot in the arm for start-ups.
Interestingly, the industry body has observed that start-ups nowadays are more focused on business to business space, with half of them offering enterprise services.