Growth of startup in India

The article primarily focuses on analyzing the growth factors driving the booming startup ecosystem in India, highlighting top-performing sectors, job creation, technological advancements, bilateral trade, and healthcare innovations. It also addresses challenges such as domestic funding, foreign domiciliation, and the need for skill development to sustain India's startup growth in the global economy

Growth of startup in India


Indian startups have experienced significant growth, positioning India as the third-largest ecosystem for ventures globally. The Indian government has actively supported entrepreneurs through initiatives like the Startup India scheme. Over the past decade, India's entrepreneurial landscape has transformed, attracting global investor interest and advancing infrastructure and policies.

In 2021, the Indian startup ecosystem thrived, with growing investor confidence evident across all stages of startup growth, including seed-stage funding. The year 2022 saw Indian startups secure a remarkable $42 billion in funding, a substantial increase from the previous year's $16 billion, highlighting their crucial role in India's goal of achieving a $5 trillion economy. Despite a decline in tech funding in 2022, India remains a top-performing tech ecosystem globally.

Startups in India are diversifying to meet consumer needs across sectors like fintech, e-commerce, SaaS, D2C, and Autotech. These sectors have consistently attracted significant investments, comprising 89% of total funding in H1 CY23. The government's strategy to propel India towards a $5 trillion economy involves inclusive growth, promoting digital and fintech sectors, technology-driven development, energy transition, climate action, and fostering a cycle of investment and growth.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi has expressed confidence in India's economic trajectory, highlighting its status as the fastest-growing major economy globally and projecting India's imminent rise to a $5 trillion economy.

Key factors attributed to the booming of India's startup ecosystem:

  1. Acknowledgment of Startup Importance: India has realized the critical need to nurture innovation and entrepreneurial spirit, leading to the establishment of innovation hubs and incubators within academic institutions to cultivate a culture of entrepreneurship among students.
  2. Rise in Incubators and Entrepreneurial Interest: The surge in the number of incubators and a growing trend among young professionals to venture into entrepreneurship has been key drivers fueling the growth of the startup ecosystem in India.
  3. Abundance of Talent Pool: Research on tech startups in 2021 highlighted that a significant number of edtech founders are recent graduates from prestigious institutions like IITs or individuals with backgrounds in global consulting firms. This rich talent pool, blending expertise and passion, positions India's early-stage startup scene advantageously.
  4. Government's Startup-Focused Measures: The Indian government has been instrumental in fostering the growth of early-stage startups through initiatives such as Startup India, aimed at simplifying regulatory, financial, and knowledge barriers. These initiatives create a conducive environment for budding startups to thrive.
  5. Synergies Between Startups and Corporates: Collaborations between established corporations seeking innovation and agile startups lacking resources for scaling have played a pivotal role in driving innovation and propelling the growth of early-stage startups in India.
  6. Culture of Risk-Taking: A noticeable shift towards engineering and product startups underscores the increasing risk appetite among young Indians. This boldness to take risks and move swiftly without fear has emerged as a significant asset for India's startup ecosystem, enabling startups to expand globally and develop solutions for international markets.


Top performing sectors:

Increased internet penetration, digitization, and government initiatives have been instrumental in driving the growth of various sectors in India from 2014 to 2023. According to the Tracxn report, the top-funded sectors during this period include Retail, Enterprise Applications, Fintech, Transportation & Logistics tech, Food & Agriculture tech, Auto tech, Travel & Hospitality tech, and Edtech.

Moreover, in the Deep Tech sector, which focuses on research and development, Indian investment has shown steady growth, with a total funding of $6.73 billion. Over a decade, this sector received $6.23 billion in funding, highlighting India's consistent commitment to science and technology. This trend underscores the significance of technology-driven innovation in shaping India's future economic landscape.

1)      Electronic Vehicles (EV):

·         Startups in the EV sector are collaborating with the government to create a sustainable ecosystem for electric vehicles. It is predicted that the EV market will sell 17 million units by 2030. Currently, there are over 486 EV startups focusing on charging infrastructure, battery recycling, and energy storage solutions to promote green mobility in India.


2)      FinTech:

·         FinTech is a highly disrupted sector in India, with an adoption rate of over 87%. In India, 6,386 startups have emerged in the last decade catering to various financial needs like insurance technology, digital lending, and wealth management. These startups are expanding financial services to Tier 2, Tier 3, and rural areas, contributing to a market opportunity estimated to reach $1.3 trillion by 2025.


3)      Jobs Creation:

·         Recognized startups have generated more than 10.34 lakh direct jobs in India. India's entrepreneurial achievements are gaining global recognition, with the potential to surpass the growth of 100,000 unicorns in the country. These startups are seen as dynamic catalysts for economic growth, introducing innovative solutions, creating employment opportunities, and attracting foreign investments.


4)      Technology:

·         Startups in India are pivotal in driving the country towards its ambitious $5 trillion economy goal by leveraging cutting-edge technologies. Startups are actively involved in advancing technologies such as advanced battery technologies, electric vehicle components, self-driving technology, and charging infrastructure, particularly in the EV space. Moreover, these startups operate across a diverse landscape encompassing sectors like FinTech, EdTech, E-commerce, Social Networks, FoodTech, Logistics, Media, Entertainment, D2C Brands, SaaS, and HealthTech, showcasing their versatility and impact on multiple industries.


5)      Bilateral Trade:

·         Startups in India play a significant role in boosting the country's exports, with software services exports reaching $156.7 billion in 2021-22. Recent collaborations with the US, is evidenced by the $191 billion bilateral trade and investment in 2022. Initiatives like the US-India Defence Acceleration Ecosystem further enhance the growth of the Indian startup ecosystem by fostering partnerships and driving innovation through international cooperation.


6)      Healthcare:

·         In the healthcare sector, startups are introducing innovative solutions focused on enhancing patient management, patient data analysis, and insurance claim management in India. The increasing investments in health tech startups, indicate a 45.06% rise in total investments. These startups are pioneering advancements in telemedicine, telecommunication services, robotic surgeries, AI-based medical solutions for disease detection, and other cutting-edge technologies. Their contributions are reshaping the healthcare landscape, improving patient care, and driving efficiency in the sector.


Which sectors need attention?

The lack of domestic funding in India's startup ecosystem poses a significant challenge, with only about 8% of total startups receiving funding. India's share of unicorns globally stands at 4%, notably lower than the US's 65% and China's 14%. This disparity is further highlighted by the annual investment figures, where the US invests over $135 billion in venture capital and startups, China invests more than $65 billion (with over 60% being local capital), while India lags behind at $10 billion annually, with 90% sourced from overseas capital.

Concerns regarding a potential funding bubble have emerged due to the high valuations observed in some venture capital investments. This fear stems from a lack of comprehensive understanding of the investment strategies and risk management frameworks employed by successful venture capital firms. Addressing these concerns is crucial to maintaining a sustainable and stable funding environment for startups in India.

The issue of foreign domiciliation is prevalent in India, with nearly 30 of the country's unicorns being domiciled outside due to various factors. Outdated forex regulations, non-implementation of relevant federal regulations, tax challenges, and a lack of local capital incentives have contributed to this trend. This trend is particularly challenging for DeepTech and healthcare startups, which struggle to secure adequate early-stage capital within the country, leading them to establish operations abroad.


In conclusion, to harness the full potential of India's startup ecosystem and achieve the demographic dividend, a strong focus on education, reskilling, and upskilling of the workforce is essential. Beyond addressing domestic policy challenges, it is crucial to recognize the evolving global environment and technological advancements. India must proactively prepare for these changes to ensure its startups remain competitive and innovative in the ever-evolving landscape of the global economy.