In 2021, the Indian startups raked in $42 billion funding from international VC giants including Tiger Global, SoftBank, and Accel, thereby creating a record in the progress of the country’s startup ecosystem.
One of the reasons for this record-breaking investment was due to the tech crackdown and crisis in China, which focused the attention of investors on the country. India became an alternative centre of gravity for the tech ecosystem in Asia.
Being a hotbed for international investors, the trend continued in 2022 it didn’t last for long. The year began with a sizzling bout of investments, but it slowed down soon. As per Dealroom, $25 billion in funding in 2022, a 40% decline from the investment raised in 2021.
While growth and late-stage funding for Indian startups saw a decline of 27%, seed and bridge funding increased significantly by 11% in 2022. In India, 13 startups attained unicorn status in the first 3 months of the year, which is an impressive achievement as compared to 8 startups in the first 4 months of the previous year. However, the trend took a turn and declined by 50% as compared to 2021 as the year progressed. Infact, a latest report by Inc42 pointed out that the Indian startup ecosystem has emerged as the third largest in the world with over 57,000 startups launched till date. Also, the report highlighted that the country has the third highest number of unicorns in the world at 105, after US(618) and China(174).
In US, the VC activity was 1,208 deals valued at $71.4 billion, down dramatically from 1,925 deals valued at $753.2 billion a year earlier. Likewise, the value of venture capital deals in the China tumbled 44% in 2022 as compared to the previous year.
When it comes to the Indian market, the fintech company OneCard and edtech PW (PhysicsWallah) raised $100 million in funding to attain unicorn status. Another notable mention is the foodtech unicorn Licious, and also 5ire, the world’s first sustainable unicorn.
That said, let’s take a look at India’s biggest rounds of investment in the country, last year.
Founder/s: Umang Bedi, Virendra Gupta
Founded year: 2007
Total funding: $1.6B
VerSe Innovation is the parent firm of news aggregator app Dailyhunt, which develops a mobile app that gives updates on trending topics. It offers online news, books, and magazines. Using its vertical search and recommendation tools, it provides users with personalised content and notifications based on their preferences.
In April 2022, Verse Innovation secured $805 million in Series J funding, valued at $5 billion. The round was led by Canada Pension Plan Investment Board (CPP Investments) and saw participation from Ontario Teachers’ Pension Plan Board, Luxor Capital, and Sumeru Ventures, among others.
Founder/s: Byju Raveendran, Divya Gokulnath
Founded year: 2011
Total funding: $4.6B
Byju’s is a leading edtech company in India that has created the most loved school learning app in the country that offers highly adaptive, engaging, and effective learning programs.
In October 2022, closed a financing round of $250 million from its existing investors, including Qatar Investment Authority (QIA). Following this, Byju’s hit the headlines as it fired nearly 2,500 workers from its product, content, media, and technology teams as a result of the momentum shift.
Founder/s: Nandan Reddy, Rahul Jaimini, Sriharsha Majety
Founded year: 2014
Total funding: $4.3B
Swiggy is the Deliveroo of India and brings an on-demand food delivery platform that brings food from neighbourhood restaurants directly to customers’ doors. The company’s food delivery platform lists local restaurants and menu lists on an app for users to order from and track the delivery of its delivery executives, enabling users to order food with speed and convenience. The service picks up and drops off laundry, documents, and parcels for business clients and retailers.
Early last year, the food delivery decacorn scored $700 million in a funding round led by US-based VC Invesco alongside participation from new investors such as Baron Capital Group, Sumeru Venture, Kotak, Axis Growth Avenues AIF- I, Sixteenth Street Capital, Ghisallo, Smile Group and Segantii Capital.
Founder/s: Jaynti Kanani, Mihailo Bjelic, Sandeep Nailwal
Founded year: 2017
Total funding: $450M
A platform for Ethereum scaling and infrastructure development and web3, Polygon offers a growing suite of products that offers developers easy access to all major scaling and infrastructure solutions. In addition to L2 solutions (ZK Rollups and Optimistic Rollups), it also offers sidechains, hybrid solutions, stand-alone and enterprise chains, and data availability solutions.
In February last year, the secondary scaling solution snapped $450 million in a round led by Sequoia Capital India. The fund was raised through a private sale of Polygon’s native Matic token. SoftBank Vision Fund II was among the 40 marquee venture capital firms.
Founder/s: Sandeep Deshmukh, Saurabh Nigam, Shitiz Bansal
Founded year: 2015
Total funding: $424M
ElasticRun acts as an extended arm of FMCG companies’ direct distribution networks by providing a logistics and distribution platform. It has been helping e-commerce companies reach customers in far-flung areas through its network of rural Kirana stores. ElasticRun has been harnessing the data generated from its platform to help its customers sharpen their marketing plans.
In February, the B2B e-commerce platform for rural India raised $330 million in a round led by SoftBank Vision Fund 2 and Goldman Sachs Asset Management with participation from Chimera and Innoven along with long-term investor Prosus Ventures.
Founder/s: Goku Jangra, Supam Maheshwari
Founded year: 2015
Total funding: $472M
As an e-commerce logistics company, Xpressbees offers reliable logistics solutions to its partners. The company offers comprehensive last-mile delivery, reverse logistics, payment collection, drop shipping, vendor management, cross-border services, fulfillment services, and tailored software solutions to clients.
Earlier in 2022, the e-commerce unicorn grabbed $300 million in a Series F funding from Blackstone, TPG and ChrysCapital. This round took its total funding to $575.8 million and tripled its valuation to $1.2 billion.
Founder/s: Bhavesh Manglani, Kapil Bharati, Mohit Tandon, Sahil Barua, Suraj Saharan
Founded year: 2011
Total funding: $1.7B
Providing transportation, warehousing, and freight services, Delhivery specialises in supply chain management. Its mission is to build trust and improve the lives of its consumers. It offers a full suite of services such as last-mile delivery, third-party and transit warehousing, reverse logistics, payment collection, vendor-to-warehouse, and vendor-to-customer shipping.
Furthermore, Delhivery transforms the logistics industry by utilising a strategy that enables faster delivery speed, thus decreases logistics costs and increases e-commerce supporters.
In 2022, Delhivery went public and saw its shares rise nearly 10% shortly after the IPO. In addition, it reached a valuation of $670 million.
Table Space Technologies
Founder/s: Amit Banerji
Founded year: 2017
Total funding: $300M
Table Space provides companies with customised coworking spaces. The workspace network is composed of a wide variety of workspaces that can be customised to suit the specific needs of our clients. Its Enterprise Workspace-as-a-Service platform leverages cutting-edge technology to design & create state-of-the-art workspaces.
Late last year, coworking space provider Table Space reportedly secured nearly $300 million from private equity fund Hill House Capital to expand its operations across India. It competes with the likes of Innov8, WeWork India and other dominant players in the sector.
CEO: Ajay Sahasrabuddhe
Founded year: 1991
Total funding: $372M
A financial company, Hero FinCorp, offers two-wheeler financing, supply chain finance, and business loans. Among the services it provides are retail loans, home loans, and digital loans, as well as corporate loans such as property loans, unsecured business loans, medical equipment loans, and working capital loans.
Early last year, the non-banking finance company grabbed $267 million from Apollo, Hero MotoCorp, and others. The company plans to use its latest fundraise to support its growth strategy as it continues to further expand its product offerings across India’s retail, SME and corporate lending landscape.
Founder/s: Ankush Sachdeva, Bhanu Pratap Singh, Farid Ahsan
Founded year: 2015
Total funding: $1.5B
In the world of social media, ShareChat is an Indian unicorn. To cater to over 1 billion users, it offers content consumption and sharing in 15 Indian vernacular languages.
In May last year, the parent firm ShareChat scored $300 million in funding from Google, Times Group and Temasek Holdings, valuing the social media firm at nearly $5 billion.