Washington, Jan 6 (Agency) India is currently the third-largest startup ecosystem in the world and is home to 21 unicorns valued at USD 73.2 billion, India’s top envoy in the US has said, as he expressed hope that more than 50 startups might join the unicorn club as early as 2022. “Entrepreneurial activity has picked up in India. In 2020 India was among the top 50 innovative economies,’ India’s Ambassador to the US Taranjit Singh Sandhu said.
‘Today India is the third-largest, startup ecosystem in the world and is home to 21 unicorns valued at USD 73.2 billion. By some estimates, more than 50 ‘soonicorn’ startups might join the unicorn club as early as 2022,” he said. A unicorn is a term to indicate a privately held startup company valued at over USD 1 billion. Soonicorns are startup companies that are good candidates for late-stage investment and have a good possibility of becoming ‘unicorns’. Sandhu was speaking at a mentoring programme for Indian National Startup Awards 2020 finalists that was co-hosted by the Embassy of India, in partnership with Department of Promotion of Industry and Internal Trade (DPIIT) and US-India Strategic Partnership Forum (USISPF) on Monday. Sandhu said according to a recent report, Indian startups raised USD 9.3 billion until mid-December this year.
“A little below 2019 but definitely encouraging, considering the current pandemic. It is because people like you were not averse to taking risks and were not deterred by challenges. People like you continued to think out of the box. People like you put all your efforts in creating a better life around you,” he said. Rise of Indian IT companies, large talent pool, increased expendable income of Indian middle class and availability of capital have contributed to the growth of India’s startup ecosystem. More recently increased usage of smartphones, access to the internet, and recent reforms to push digital finance have given further impetus. Sandhu said that Indian programmers, engineers and entrepreneurs are providing their skills and that too in sizeable numbers to US companies. India is also a leading R&D hub for many of these companies. Many US-based venture firms have been investing in Indian talent and are amongst the largest players in the field.