India has 50 startups with the potential to achieve the coveted 'unicorn' status in 2022 and by the end of the year, the list of the new-age companies valued at over USD 1 billion will be at least 100, a report by a consultancy firm said on Monday.
In 2021, which witnessed a huge spike in company valuations in the listed and unlisted space driven by ample liquidity, according to some watchers, India added 43 startups to the list and the number of unicorns shot up to 68 by the end of the year. Over USD 10 billion was invested in the Indian startup ecosystem in the October-December quarter alone, according to the report by PwC India.
"We can see that the base of the companies in the growth stage and late-stage deals have improved significantly in CY21, depicting a stronger base of companies having the potential to reach unicorn status," the firm's partner for deals and startups Amit Nawka said.
He added that market sentiments are placed favourably towards startups, and when coupled with the large base of startups, the number of unicorns will go "well beyond" 100 by the end of 2022. A December 2021 report by the Hurun Research Institute had said India is the third-largest home for unicorns globally but trails the US and China by a wide margin.
The PwC report said USD 35 billion were raised by Indian startups in over 1,000 rounds of funding in 2021, which was 1.5 times higher than the previous year. Edtech, software as a service and fintech sectors witnessed the highest activity.
Growth and late-stage deals comprised 85 per cent of the total funding attracted by the startups in 2021. Bengaluru and the National Capital Region (NCR) witnessed nearly three-fourths of the total funding by venture capital and private equity funds, it said. In its list of 50 potential unicorns, it placed companies like Khatabook, Whatfix, Practo, Ninjacart, Inshorts, Ecom Express, Pepperfry and Livspace as among the candidates because of their history of having raised over USD 100 million to date.