44 unicorns, 9 IPOs — the high points of the Indian startup ecosystem in 2021

Dec 31, 2021

By: Kritti Bhalla

81 unicorns in the last decade

India is now home to 81 unicorns as 44 startups made it to the list in 2022. A unicorn, in startup parlance, is a company valued at or over $1 billion.

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150 unicorns by 2025

This growth compelled researchers and consultants to rethink their analysis. From the earlier 100, researchers now believe that there would be 150 unicorns by 2025.

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Nine startups got listed in 2021

The year 2021 will be remembered for mega tech startup initial public offering (IPOs). Nine public issues raising ₹46,045 crore ($6.1 billion) of the total $8.8 billion⁠ was raised from public markets by tech startups this year.

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Fintech was the biggest segment

Fintech continued to be the most funded sector in 2021. Indian fintech companies raised $10.6 billion in 2021 till December 22, according to a report by Dolat Capital.

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Five women-led startups turned unicorns

Upasana Taku-led digital payments solution Mobikwik, Ruchi Deepak-led digital insurance company Acko Insurance, Ruchi Kalra-led raw material procurement service OfBusiness and Ghazal Alagh-led direct-to-customer (D2C) brand Mamaearth were the women-led startups to enter the unicorn club.

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Ecommerce was noticed too

India now has 18 unicorns from the fintech sector and 20 from ecommerce. Eleven ecommerce startups made it to the unicorn club in 2021, including Mensa Brands, Cars24, Meesho and others.

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Crypto got a chance too

This year also turned out to be the year for crypto companies as CoinDCX and CoinSwitch Kuber became the first crypto unicorns, from India, after raising $300 million collectively.

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Sequoia was the top investor

Sequoia was the top unicorn investor of 2021 in terms number of deals, followed by Tiger Global.

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Byju’s got the biggest funding

Byju’s raised the largest funding round as it raised $1.3 billion across multiple tranches. Mensa Brands, on the other hand, became the fastest unicorn.

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India is home to 4 healthtech unicorns now

Four Indian healthtech companies — Pharmeasy, Innovaccer, Cultfit and Pristyn Care — were all valued over $1 billion this year.

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India surpasses UK

India has now surpassed the United Kingdom (UK) as the third largest ecosystem with the most number of unicorns. USA is currently leading the world with the most number of unicorns, followed by China, as per Hurun Global Unicorn Index for 2021.

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