Indian startup ecosystem crosses the threshold of 50 unicorns

Industry experts have been saying that the Indian unicorn list is expected to only rise as fund houses with access to liquidity are looking at avenues for investment.

Topics

unicorn companies | startups in India | SoftBank


BS Reporters  | 
Mumbai/Bengaluru 

Year 2021 is all about the rising unicorns in the Indian startup ecosystem. Since the start of the year the country has seen around 16 unicorns taking the total unicorn base to over 50.

The newest entrants to this list include Pune-based MindTickle that is close to finalizing a $100 million fund from Softbank’s Vision Fund 2, taking the company’s valuation to $1.1 billion. Last year Softbank had invested $100 million in the company for a valuation of $500 million.

MindTickle was looking to raise funds and Softbank did not want to let go of the chance and hence they are reinvesting in them,” said a source close to the development. When contacted Softbank, the company spokesperson declined to comment.

Softbank has regained its momentum of investing in the Indian startup and ecommerce segment, other than MindTickle it also invested in social commerce platform Meesho and Firstcry. The Japan-based players is also planning to invest around $500 million in Flipkart.

Meanwhile, Saas-startups BrowserStack secured $200 million from US-based BOND in a series B round of funding raising its valuation to $4 billion, said media reports. The funding round also saw participation from Insight Partners and Accel. The company with India founders based out of Dublin and San Francisco till date has raised $250 million and is a profitable venture.

According to Venture Intelligence data, BrowserStack’s valuations have risen 8x in the last three years.

Industry experts have been saying that the Indian unicorn list is expected to only rise as fund houses with access to liquidity are looking at avenues for investment.

According to Preqin data (as of Feb 15, 2021) around 35 private equity (PE) players focused on India are raising funds with an aggregate capital target of $8 billion and close to 80 venture capital firms are looking to raise an aggregate capital of $8.3 billion. This is not all, according to Preqin data of June 2020, PE firms in Asia are sitting on a record $361 billion of unspent capital. A Bain Capital report India-focused dry powder ending 2020 has remained stable at $6 billion.

Multiple unicorns who are category leaders in their space have been created signaling an improvement in investor sentiment v/s last year. Also the same is witnessed from many high growth startups planning to hit the IPO market this year. “Start-ups who showcased their resilience during the pandemic, maintained serious growth without sacrificing on unit economics have found it easier to raise higher ticket size equity rounds. The pandemic has increased digital usage by all kinds of customers across sectors pan India & startups which are benefiting from the same are leveraging their track record to raise sizeable equity rounds and in the process some are even reaching the unicorn status. Larger capital will continue to go to few start-ups that have emerged as winners in the pandemic but the valuation will only sustain if they can amplify their high growth rate, execute sustainably and at the same time improve / sustain their margins,” said Ankur Bansal, Co-founder and Director, BlackSoil.

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