Indian startups rise sans Chinese money

The great Indian tech startup story is being rewritten amid the COVID-19 pandemic as traditional sectors still bear the brunt.

With 16 unicorns (startups with a valuation of over $1 billion) and more than $11 billion in funding, chiefly from the US-based investment firms (till June-end), the year 2021 has proved that Chinese investment is no longer needed in a self-reliant’ India amid the new normal.

The Indian tech startups started to shun Chinese investment in 2020 as desi corporates and wealthy individuals, along with investors from other countries, came onboard to fund the homegrown firms.

In the first half of 2021, investors have pumped in at least $11 billion into the Indian tech startups in over 600 deals, which is growing at an exponential rate.

The US-based investment firm Tiger Global is currently leading when it comes to investing top dollars, overtaking another US-based venture capital firm Sequoia Capital as the top investor in the burgeoning Indian startup/unicorn ecosystem.

IT industry’s apex body Nasscom had forecast that India will have 50 unicorns before the end of 2021. The country has already surpassed that number which now stands at 52.

The $1 billion valuation club now has new unicorns in Digit Insurance, InnovAccer, Cred, Meesho, Gupshup, Pharmeasy, Groww, Urban Company, Mohalla Tech (ShareChat and Moj), Chargebee, Moglix, Infra.Market, Zeta, Five Star Business Finance, BrowserStack and logistics firm BlackBuck, the latest entrant.

The list will only grow in the remaining months in a mobile-first country where digital access is increasing by each passing day.

In 2019, Chinese investors poured $3.9 billion into India, up from $2 billion in 2018. This investment scenario took a turnaround from May last year amid skirmishes between Indian and Chinese troops.

As a result, investment from China in Indian companies fell to $263 million across 15 deals in the first half of 2020. Sensing the atmosphere, homegrown tech startups started to look elsewhere for investments, and their calls have been answered.

Media reports have claimed that nearly 150 investment proposals from China worth more than $2 billion were stuck in the pipeline.

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