India to have 50+ unicorns by end of 2021: Nasscom, Zinnov report

Despite the pandemic, the stormy situation in regional economies globally; there’s a silver lining as far as the growth and health of Indian technology startups is concerned. The number of ‘unicorns’ (companies valued over $1 billion, Rs 7,316.15 crore, approximately, as per current dollar-rupee exchange valuation) is expected to be more than 50 by the end of 2021.

The ‘Indian Tech Start-up Ecosystem – On the March to Trillion Dollar Digital Economy’, an annual startup report brought out by the National Association of Software and Services Companies (Nasscom) in partnership with Zinnov, a global management and strategy consulting firm, puts forward some amazing findings of the year that, in general, left the businesses disturbed during the pandemic.

“Deep-tech and new start-up hubs will continue to grow at 40-45% CAGR. While the investments in 2020 were significantly lower than in 2019, recovery in deal pace and investments is expected to return to 2019 levels, if not exceed in 2021. In terms of total Unicorns, India is on track to have a 50-plus strong Unicorn club in 2021,” a press communique, shared on behalf of Nasscom and Zinnov, states.

The year 2020 had 1,600 new startups. Twelve startups evolved as unicorns, again the highest number of additions in a given year. Fintech, HealthTech, EdTech, AgriTech, and EnterpriseTech sectors saw digital adoption.

The number of unicorns in India, year-wise, is stronger from 2016 onwards. Here’s the cumulative distribution of unicorns, by the unicorn year. (Source: Nasscom, Zinnov)

2011 1
2013 2
2014 4
2015 6
2016 8
2018 17
2019 26
2020 38

“… Depending on headwinds, 2021 promises to be a positive year for Indian tech start-ups – marching steadily towards $1Tn digital economy goal,” states Debjani Ghosh, president, Nasscom.

“The resilience and fortitude demonstrated by the India start-up ecosystem in 2020 was unparalleled and unprecedented,” said Pari Natarajan, CEO, Zinnov. “2021 will be the ‘decade of collaboration’ where entrepreneurs engaging more with not just their peers but also with the government, corporates, and the manufacturing ecosystems, will catapult India’s dream of becoming a trillion-dollar economy,” Natarajan adds.


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