March 31 2022

The Indian Unicorn Landscape

Source: Invest India

India has emerged as the 3rd largest ecosystem for startups globally with over 66,359 DPIIT-recognized startups across 642 districts of the country as of 21st March 2022. India ranks #2nd in innovation quality with top positions in the quality of scientific publications and the quality of its universities among middle-income economies. The innovation in India is not just limited to certain sectors. We have recognized startups solving problems in 56 diverse industrial sectors with 13% from IT services, 9% healthcare and life sciences, 7% education, 5% professional and commercial services, 5% agriculture and 5% food & beverages.

Indian Startup Ecosystem has seen exponential growth in past few years (2015-2021):

  • 9X increase in the number of investors.
  • 7X increase in the total funding of startups.
  • 7X increase in the number of incubators

The Indian Unicorns are flourishing in the fast-paced and dynamic economy of today. These startups are not only developing innovative solutions and technologies but are generating large-scale employment. Till FY 2016-17, approximately one unicorn was being added every year. Over the past four years (since FY 2017-18), this number has been increasing exponentially, with a whopping 66% Year-on-Year growth in the number of additional unicorns being added every year.  As of 25th March 2022, India is home to 94 unicorns with a total valuation of $ 319.67 Bn. Out of the total number of unicorns, 44 unicorns with a total valuation of $ 94.77 Bn were born in 2021 and 13 unicorns with a total valuation of $ 25.4 Bn were born in 2022.

Unicorns Of India

As of 25th March 2022, India is home to 94 unicorns with a total valuation of $ 319.67 Bn.

The year 2021, 2020, and 2019 saw the birth of the maximum number of Indian unicorns with 44, 10, and 9 unicorns coming each year, respectively. COVID-19 has caused a great amount of socio-economic suffering globally, but it is during this time when the resilient Indian Entrepreneurs have worked effortlessly to not only contribute to the economy but to also contribute toward COVID-19 relief efforts. In 2020, we witnessed the birth of more than 10 unicorns. ‘Its raining unicorn’ has been the motto of the year 2021 with 44 unicorns pumped in the ecosystem and many soonicorns waiting in line.

Geographically, the center of India's high-tech industry, Bengaluru is India’s unicorn capital with the largest number of unicorns headquarters followed by Delhi (NCR) and Mumbai. While we see unicorns active in Tier I cities, this ecosystem is not restricted and is proliferating across the country till the last district. Traditional sectors such as Fin-tech, E-commerce, Supply Chain & Logistics, Internet Software & Services do dominate the arena but a strong wave of unconventional sectors such as Content, Gaming, Hospitality, Data management & analytics, etc are making their place on the list.

While every startup has its unique journey to becoming a unicorn, the minimum and maximum time taken by a startup to become a unicorn are 6 months and 37 years, respectively. Mensa Brands took only 6 months to become a unicorn in 2021, making it one of fastest unicorns in Asia.

Indian Startups turned Unicorns in 2021

In 2021 itself, India witnessed the birth of 44 unicorns with a total valuation of $ 94.77 Bn. Bengaluru, Delhi NCR, and Mumbai continue to be the top cities preferred as unicorn headquarters in 2021. Unconventional sectors and sub-sectors marked an entry into the unicorn space including, NBFCs, Conversational Messaging, Cryptocurrency Exchanges, D2C, Cloud Kitchens and many others.

Indian unicorns are also exploring the public listing avenues as a next step to realise the growth potential. Some one of big unicorn names that offered an IPO include Zomato, Nykaa, PolicyBazaar, Paytm and Freshworks, while many are already in line such as Delhivery, Mobikwik and CarDekho.

Today, 1 out every 10 unicorns globally have been born in India. Overall, 2021 is experienced an exponential boom when it comes to startups entering the unicorn club. This is a testament to the vibrant startup ecosystem present in India.

Till date, 2022 has witnessed the birth of 13 unicorns with a total valuation of $ 25.4 Bn (as of 25th March 2022).

Unicorn Sector Snaps


  • The HealthTech market in India is estimated reach $ 5 Bn by 2023, growing at a CAGR of 39% post the pandemic impact. Digital shift, use of better technology, and favourable government policies are facilitating the growth of the market.
  • Noida-based healthtech startup Innovaccer has become the first Indian unicorn in the healthcare sector currently valued at $ 1.3 Bn. Innovaccer analyses healthcare data to provide actionable insights to healthcare providers, hospitals, insurance companies and other organisations and businesses.
  • Earlier this year, Pharmeasy, an online pharmacy and diagnostics brand, became a unicorn, bagging a valuation close to $ 1.5 Bn. The online pharmacy is now planning to go public soon, eyeing a valuation of about $ 7 Bn through its IPO.
  • The heathcare segment in India is soon to see added number of unicorns with the growth of health-tech startups such as, Practo, HealthifyMe, etc.

Social Commerce

  • Social commerce startups in India have generated revenue worth of $554 million as of July 2021, a 7x increase from last year and the highest ever since 2015.
  • Social commerce has made it possible to unlock tier 2 and tier 3 markets and reach low-margin categories in fast-moving consumer goods and groceries, which large e-commerce platforms have not done so far, helping boost the overall e-commerce industry, experts and investors who view the sector as an extension of e-commerce.
  • Meesho, backed by Facebook, has become the first Indian social commerce startup to enter the unicorn club valued at $ 2.1 Bn. Meesho is an online reseller network for individuals and small and medium businesses (SMBs), who sell products within their network on social channels such as WhatsApp, Facebook, and Instagram. It has about 13 Mn individual entrepreneurs, bringing the ecommerce benefits to 45 Mn customers pan India. Meesho claims to have delivered orders from more than 100K registered suppliers to over 26K pin codes across 4,800 cities, generating over INR 500 Cr ($68 Mn at current conversion rate) in income for individual entrepreneurs
  • The social commerce segment in India is fast growing, with companies like  SimSim, GlowRoad, Dealshare, CityMall and Bulbul also in the unicorn race, getting attention from both customers and investors.

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