India will have 122 new unicorns (startups valued over $1 billion) in 2-4 years in 25 cities, according to ASK Private Wealth Hurun India Future Unicorn Index 2022.
India currently has about 100 unicorns, the exact number depending on whether one includes companies like Zoho and Zerodha, both of which are doing exceedingly well but have not raised external capital and hence have not gone through a valuation process.
Hurun Research said India’s future unicorns are currently worth $49 billion, an increase of 36% compared to last year. It said 17 gazelles and 7 cheetahs from last year’s index hit unicorn valuation this year. Gazelle is a term Hurun uses for startups most likely to become unicorns in the next two years, while cheetahs are those that could become unicorns in the next four years.
The cumulative valuation of gazelles featured in the index increased by more than 54% year-on-year to $31 billion. Combined, the 51 gazelles in the index have received $10 billion in funding. Logistics tech startup Shiprocket leads the gazelle pack. Hurun said online furniture store Pepperfry, a cheetah, might skip the gazelle stage and become a unicorn in some months.
Rajesh Saluja, CEO of ASK Wealth Advisors said, “India has emerged as the third-largest ecosystem for startups after US and China and saw a record 44 startups turning into unicorns in 2021. ”
Anas Rahman Junaid, MD and chief researcher in Hurun India, said, “In just one year, the number of unicorns has increased by 65%, the number of gazelles has increased by 59% to 51, and the number of cheetahs has increased by 31% to 71. Probably, the pandemic has accelerated the disruption of traditional businesses and fostered the emergence of startups. The ecosystem is gradually attaining the requisite maturity and resilience. ”
There are some global economic concerns, he said. Some Indian startups, he noted, are implementing layoffs and cost-cutting measures, fuelling speculation of an ecosystem downturn.