Investments in Indian startups have reached pre-COVID levels thanks to deals bagged by late-stage companies

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  • According to a report by TiE Delhi NCR and Zinnov, startup funding and deal activity has recovered to pre-COVID levels by September 2020.
  • Four Indian startups even become unicorns during the worst months of the pandemic.
  • But it is worthy to note that investors have placed ‘safe bets’ on startups this year as they continued to support late-stage startups.
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When the coronavirus pandemic began and global economies hit pause, many questions cropped up on investments, mergers and acquisitions. But India’s startups and the moneybags behind them – the venture capital ecosystem – have taken stock of the coronavirus pandemic, and money is beginning to flow into the companies again.

According to a report by TiE Delhi NCR and Zinnov, startup funding and deal activity has recovered to pre-COVID levels by September 2020, while four Indian startups even become unicorns during the worst months of the pandemic. “India is on track to have 8 unicorns in 2020 – almost the same number of additions as in 2019,” said the report.

But it is worthy to note that investors have placed ‘safe bets’ on startups this year as they continued to support late-stage startups, while early-stage or seed-funded startups saw their funding line-up fall. “More than 55% year-on-year decline in seed and early-stage funding in CY Q2 2020,” said the report.

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COVID-19 and the Antifragility of Indian Startup Ecosystem report

This had also resulted in a dip in valuations for startups. For founders who are in the initial stages of their journey, it seems crucial to take the cash available and be rational about the valuations that come with it. “Even during the Great Recession of 2008 in the US, startup valuations across each round for the next year had reduced by 30% on average from the previous year. But in the long run, for good businesses run by good founders, getting the right valuation is not a challenge,” Ankur Mittal, Co-founder, Inflection Point Ventures, had told Business Insider in an earlier interaction.

And experts are optimistic. “Investor sentiment has also recovered quickly and we expect the Indian unicorn club to steadily expand through 2020 and 2021. Although COVID-19 has been a major setback for the ecosystem, we believe that the changes that the pandemic has brought on will make our ecosystem much stronger, across every dimension. India is on a path to have 100 unicorns by 2025,” said Rajan Anandan, President, TiE Delhi-NCR.

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