A privately held startup company with a valuation of over $1 billion is referred to as a "unicorn" in the venture capital sector. Aileen Lee, the founder of Cowboy Ventures, a seed-stage venture capital fund based in Palo Alto, California, was the first to coin the word. 1
Unicorns are also a term used to describe a phenomenon in the human resources (HR) industry. HR managers may have high expectations for filling a position, causing them to seek individuals with better qualifications than are required for the job. In essence, these managers are on the lookout for a unicorn, resulting in a mismatch between their ideal candidate and who they can hire from the pool of candidates available.
An Indian Startup founder joked on Twitter about a week ago that the definition of a "Unicorn" in the venture capital market should now be $1 billion in funds raised. The word is now used to describe a Startup with a $1 billion value.
He was making a remark on the recent flurry of unicorns developed around the world. Aileen Lee, a US venture capitalist, coined the term in 2013, when there were only 39 businesses worldwide that fulfilled the description, which hasn't altered since then.
The Indian startup ecosystem is the fastest growing in the world, with 92 unicorn startups expected by 2022. It is not as simple as it once was to launch a unicorn firm, but it is not unheard of in today's environment. This article highlights the startups that have achieved unicorn status via hard work, endurance, and dedication.
The terms "Unicorn" and "Startup" make form Unicorn Startup. Aileen Lee, an investor and venture capitalist, created the word unicorn to describe a firm worth more than $1 billion. A startup company, on the other hand, is a privately held corporation that is still in its early stages.
The scene has altered dramatically, from producing only one unicorn per year between 2011 and 2014 to witnessing 33 new billion-dollar startups so far this year. Since 2014, 66 firms have joined the exclusive unicorn club, raising a total of $50 billion in more than 3,700 agreements. Clearly, something remarkable is taking place in India's startup ecosystem, and it deserves to be recognised. While we applaud these accomplishments, we must not forget about the'soonicorns' waiting in the wings – the future unicorns — who will continue to propel India forward.
Despite an incredible surge in the number of Indian unicorns in recent years, the country's global share of unicorn production, at 6%, is still far behind the United States (51%), and China (17%). It is, nonetheless, superior to industrialised countries such as the United Kingdom, Germany, and France.
India's digital industry is expanding, with companies raising $42 billion in 2021 alone. There are approximately 10,000 funded businesses in India, with a combined value of $198 billion for 58 cloud unicorns.
Unicorns are being made at a faster rate than ever before. In 2021, India will have developed 53 unicorns, up from 19 in 2020 and 13 in 2019. BJYU's, Zomato, Ola, Paytm, OYO, and other consumer digital unicorns (13) are spreading well outside India.
Furthermore, the scale and frequency of unicorn exits and mergers and acquisitions are increasing. Zscaler was the most recent high-profile Indian firm to be listed on the NASDAQ stock exchange, with a $32.7 billion value. Flipkart, one of India's first unicorns, was purchased by Walmart Inc, a US-based retail powerhouse, for $16 billion.
According to the research, an increasing number of Indian IT innovators are choosing to base themselves in the United States to build for global markets. According to the report, 31 percent of India's startup unicorns are headquartered in the United States, with 28 percent in Bengaluru, 21 percent in Delhi-NCR, and 12 percent in Mumbai. From 36 unicorns in 2021 to 40 unicorns in 2022, the number of unicorns choosing the United States as their home increased.
However, Anand Prasanna, Managing Partner of Iron Pillar, told Fortune India that it is a proud moment for India rather than a source of concern. "As you may be aware, Indian origin founders make up the largest group of non-US born Unicorn entrepreneurs in the United States (please refer to data below published by Stanford University in January). It should be a source of pride for all Indians that Indian founders are developing global digital firms from the US, employing Indian technology prowess, and succeeding against other global companies. It's not something to be concerned about. Please keep in mind that these businesses are focusing on worldwide markets (rather than the Indian market) "Prasanna stated.
According to a recent report by investment firm Iron Pillar, India is predicted to produce more than 250 unicorns, or privately held firms valued at $1 billion or more, by 2025. This follows a record-breaking 43 Indian firms joining the unicorn club in 2021, a watershed year for the home ecosystem.
Iron Pillar has invested in firms such as Uniphore, a software startup, FreshToHome, a meat delivery startup, and Eatfit, a cloud kitchen player.
Last year's unicorn boom coincided with Beijing's assault on Chinese internet businesses, which frightened investors and led them to seek alternate investments. At the same time, as the COVID-19 pandemic compelled Indian customers to turn to internet businesses for their daily needs—from food to medicine—tech India's companies grew dramatically. The rapid development of unicorns this year—roughly one per week—indicates that the investment boom in 2021 wasn't a fluke, and that foreign investors who flocked to India last year are despite the global market's volatility. According to a study by PwC, a prominent worldwide accounting firm, the rate of unicorn formation would rise up as 2022 progresses; the company expects that India will have the most unicorns.
In CY21, Indian companies enjoyed a record-breaking year, raising around USD 35 billion in 1k+ rounds. The fourth quarter of CY21 was the second quarter in which start-up funding surpassed USD 10 billion, making 2021 a watershed year for India's startup ecosystem. According to the PwC India report "Startup Perspectives – 2021 Year-end Edition," 43 Indian firms became unicorns in CY21, bringing the overall number of unicorns to 68 by the end of the year.
In 2022, more than 50 firms have the potential to join the unicorn club, bringing the total number of unicorn startups in India to well over 100. "We can observe that the base of firms in the growth stage and late-stage deals has improved dramatically in CY21, indicating a stronger basis of companies with the potential to reach unicorn status, With favourable market sentiment toward startups and a substantial base of scaled startup companies at the end of CY21, we predict the unicorn tally for startups to exceed 100 by the end of 2022."
The year 2022 has started off on the same foot as the record-breaking year 2021. In the first three months of 2022, 13 Indian firms have joined the unicorn club. With this, there are now a total of 99 Indian tech businesses that have ever joined the unicorn club. These 99 Indian unicorns have raised a total of $83 billion in financing and are worth a total of $332 billion.
As per Inc42's analysis of quantitative evidence, Indian entrepreneurs raised $5 trillion in January 2022, followed by $3.7 billion in February. The financing amount in January 2022 increased by 5X year over year. In January, four businesses joined the unicorn club, followed by five in February, and now five unicorns have joined the club in March.
Unicorns had a banner year in 2021. Over 42 startups and two publicly traded corporations reached a billion-dollar value. With 74 firms in the soonicorn club according to Inc42's soonicorn tracker, India is on course to reach a century of unicorns in the coming weeks.
Pune-based In February, ElasticRun became the first firm to join the unicorn club. In a new round of fundraising sponsored by Masayoshi Son's SoftBank, the Kirana commerce firm raised $300 million. New York's Goldman Sachs, Prosus Ventures (formerly Naspers Ventures), Innoven Capital, and Abu Dhabi's Chimera Investment, a subsidiary of Abu Dhabi's Royal Group, were also present.
ElasticRun was valued at roughly $1.5 billion in the Series E financing, according to Inc42. The latest investment comes roughly a year after Avataar Venture Partners led a $75 million Series D investing deal. Prosus Ventures and Kalaari Capital were among the other investors in the round. The startup was valued at roughly $400 million in the financing.
Indian business to join the unicorn club in 2022, after raising $400 million at a valuation of $2.5 billion. NEA spearheaded the investment round, which included current NEA investors.
Ravi Saraogi & Umesh Sachdev founded the conversation intelligence unicorn in 2008. To transform or democrat customer experiences across industries, the startup has integrated conversational AI, automated workflows, and RPA (Robotic Process) in a single integrated platform.
Uniphore acquired two companies in 2021: Emotion Study Lab for better emotion AI capabilities and Jacada for improved ‘ reduced.
To date, the unicorn has received $610 million in funding, including this round.
After raising $75 million in a recent round led by Malabar India Fund, Games24x7 has become the 13th Indian unicorn of 2022. Tiger Global, a hedge fund based in the United States, was one of the other investors. The firm will get the funds in two instalments, with the first instalment consisting of a $32 million investment and the remaining funds coming from the same group of investors.
According to Inc42 estimations, the Mumbai-based startup's valuation has increased by 3X from $692 million in June of last year to $2.1 billion. The fresh investment comes a year after the company secured $18 million from investors including Frederick Emmer Pollock and Jonathan Sawyer. famous brands include RummyCircle, an online card game, and My11 Circle, a sports fantasy game.
DIRECTOR OF A MUMBAI-BASED COMPANY In 2022, LEAD became the first edtech startup to join the Indian unicorn club. In January, the company secured $100 million in a round led by WestBridge Capital and GSV Ventures, valuing it at $1.1 billion.
This was the company's sixth round of funding, with the final one scheduled for April 2021. Over the course of five rounds of investment, LEAD School has raised a total of $166 million. Edtech startups raised about $4.7 billion in 2021, making them the third most financed Indian startup industry, behind only ecommerce ($10.7 billion) and fintech ($8 billion).
A home renovation and interiors platform, was named the year's sixth unicorn. KKR & Co, Swedish retail giant Ikea, Jungle Ventures, Venturi Partners, and Peugeot Investments all contributed $180 million to the Series F round. Livspace has raised about $450 million in ten fundraising rounds.
After raising $90 million in Series D in September 2020, headed by Switzerland-based investment firm Kharis Capital and consumer-focused Venturi Partners, this is the company's second big round in the last 15 months. Saint-Gobain, a French global corporation, bought a minority share in the firm late last year.
In comparison, insurance firm Digit, healthtech startup Innovaccer, construction materials business Infra.Market, baby items online retailer FirstCry.com, and loan company Five Star were the five unicorns in the first three months of 2021.
For the time being, the Indian startup ecosystem appears to be maintaining its momentum from 2021. In the Indian startup ecosystem, 2021 was a record-breaking year, with a total of 43 unicorns being established. The year 2021 was so remarkable that the number of unicorn startups produced that year exceeded all prior years combined – till 2020, India had only managed to create 37 unicorn startups. In the first three months of 2022, 14 startups were launched, with the quarter ending in March 2022 producing another 14.
The first three months' unicorn data reveals that investors are still betting big on Indian businesses, but there are indicators that India's startup ecosystem may face some challenges in the months ahead.