The Harvest of Indian Economy: Unicorn Companies

India just hit a unicorn century. A unicorn is a start-up valued at or north of US $ 1 billion. The unicorns are aptly anointed because just like the mythical creature, the rarity of such a wildly successful enterprise is improbable, but not impossible. Most companies that transcend this much-coveted valuation do so by constructing a moat, either with a unique service or product, or a polished go-to market strategy. They are either first to win a market or they become prominent and can displace incumbent competition consistently. A start-up announced as a unicorn deserve applause of the ecosystem as it is a robust signal of success. This a key, as to "why," repetable generation of this elusive outcome is an important indicator of the strength of a country's start-up ecosystem.

The first Indian unicorn was "MakemyTrip" which took a span of 10 years to become an unicorn company. Since then the pace of generating unicorns got catalyzed in India, start-ups are taking less time comparatively to join the club. The year 2021 has been an inflection point in India's start-up story, which is reflected at the growth of the "unicorn base" of the country. An overwhelming 46 of its 90 unicorn(observed at the end of the year) at 2021. 13 companies have turned unicorns in 2022 with 73 identified "soonicorns," one to become an unicorn company soon. The year 2021 was remarkable in the sphere of unicorns because, 254 of the US' 489, 74 of China' 301, 15 of UK' 39. Unforeseen utilitarian and lifestyle changes induced by the pandemic has accelerated what was already "fast growing" economic growth engine worldwide.
India also possesses five "Decacorns," and they are renowned among children and adults. The Indian decacorns are, Flipkart, Paytm, BYJU', Oyo Rooms and Swiggy. All five are prodigious aquirers of other start-ups as a part of their strategy to continue expanding their platforms and offerings. While Paytm listed on the public market through its IPO in november 2021, the other four are in various stages of their IPO offerings in 2022.

India now has 100 unicorns. What does it mean for valuations in the startup ecosystem?

The Start-up ecosystem in India has been upgraded and at present, functioning better, which added more fire-power, becoming the third largest hub globally after the US and China. India has more than 61,400 start-ups. After mighty 42 unicorns in the year 2021, the milestone of 100 unicorns was a touching distance away for the Indian start-up ecosystem. However, by the end of the year 2021 an effective progress was noticed, India progressively doubled its unicorn count. Two publicly listed companies MapmyIndia and EaseMyTrip also joined the unicorn club.
The entry of neo-banking start-up "Open;" which raised a series D funding round from IIFL with participation from Temasek, Tiger Global and 3one4 Capital. With 50Mn fundraise the start-up claims to have become India's 100th unicorn. A range of reactions were observed after the "100th unicorn of India" was unveiled. The Minister of Commerce and Industry tweeted "India hits a century in style. Bengaluru based start-up becomes country's 100th unicorn. India= Ideas+Innovation+Investments". The Managing Director of Sequioa Capital said, " What an incredible milestone, 1st Indian unicorn in 2011. Here we are-11 years later welcoming the 100th Indian unicorn."

100 Unicorns: decoding India's unicorn-rush

The acceleration in Funding and Capital being raised at high valuation in the past couple of years has completely transformed the start-up landscape. In a record-breaking calendar year for Indian-tech, start-ups raised about $42 billion across 1579 deals in 2021, which led to a unicorn-spree. With 42 unicorns last year all the precious long-term predictions were simply proven not-so correct. And a new benchmark was set regarding start-up projections and expectations. For instance,Inc42 report at the end of 2019,it was predicted that India would have 100 unicorns by 2025. The expected trajectory went haywire, this happened due to the mass-adoption of digital products and services by the consumers and businesses in the wake of the pandemic , and over the two years

Looking towards future unicorns

A record for number of unicorns has been set as benchmark in 2021 and 2022, now, all eyes are set upon the start-ups to come in the future that will take far & beyond 100. Like the unicorn rush we also saw soonicorns or potential unicorns than year in the past as 2021. Many of the 73 start-ups from the soonicorn club have now graduated to unicorn. As per data, in 2021, Bengaluru was home to 31 soonicorn, when it came to Mumbai there were 19 soonicorns and 13 from Delhi-NCR. While these soonicorn were predicted after a year, there was an absence of discussion about the funding. A drop in the funding has been noticed, the month-on-month figures have declined from $4.6 Bn in january 2022 to $3.4Bn in march and now $2.6 Bn. The IPO frenzy expected in 2022 has not provided the desirable results, as a response, shifting the focus of the investors globally, towards better value bets. It has been observed that a combination of investment slowdown, and bigger focus on corporate governance and financial practices is likely to lead to challenges. Layoffs, down rounds, low valuations and distress M&As. But for now, the focus is celebrating the 100th unicorn in India's start-up ecosystem.