Only A 10th Of China, 21 Indian Startups Are 'Unicorns' Worth Over $1 B

The Indian Institutes of Technology (IITs) have emerged as the lead source of unicorn founders, with 36 of the founders being from these institutes and IIT-Delhi being the most preferred one.

India is home to 21 unicorns or startups with over $1 billion in valuation each, and 40 more of such companies have been founded overseas by people of Indian origin, a report said on Tuesday. Amid talk of regulating investments from the northern neighbour, the study found that three Chinese investors have backed 11 of the Indian unicorns.

The number of Indian unicorns is just a tenth of China's 227, it said, adding China has only 16 businesses started outside the country by its diaspora as against 40 in India. The valuation of the unicorns founded globally by Indians is $99.6 billion, led by the fintech Robinhood at $8.5 billion.

He added that the founders of these 40 unicorns need to be recognised as much as someone like Google's chief executive Sundar Pichai and Microsoft's Satya Nadella. 

The research pegged the overall number of unicorns at 586 across the world in 29 countries and 145 cities.

A third of the 21 Indian unicorns, which include Paytm, Oyo Rooms, Byju's Ola Cabs etc, are in the e-commerce sector and Bengaluru is the unicorn capital of India being home to eight such enterprises, it said.

Even as the ties with China get frosty, the study found out that Chinese investors Alibaba (5), Tencent (3) and have invested in 11 Indian unicorns. 

Japanese investor Softbank takes the lead with nine investments while USA's Tiger Global has five such bets.

From a gender perspective, it is a highly unfavourable ratio, with 104 Indian unicorn founders being male and only five of them being women, it said.


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