Covid Births Indian Unicorns

Pandemics and lockdowns stimulate India's start-ups.

India added 7,000 new start-ups in 2020, making it one of the top five countries for birthing new businesses, according to a report from the Indian Venture Capital Association and Bain & Co. Twelve new firms soared over $1 billion in valuation during the Covid-19 period. Venture capital firms contributed over $10 billion, according to the report. Sequoia Capital, Elevation Partners, Falcon Edge and Light Speed were among those closing deals even as the pandemic peaked.

The momentum has continued into 2021 as Covid-19-related restrictions ease. Venture Intelligence, a Chennai-based tracking firm, reports that Indian start-ups sealed 152 deals for $2.8 billion in capital in the last three months. Investors are moving in more rapidly, if anything, on promising newcomers. Udaan, a B2B e-commerce start-up, needed just 26 months to reach unicorn status. CRED, a Bengaluru-based fintech, has been valued at more than $2 billion after less than 29 months in operation, making it the fourth unicorn to emerge in 2021, following Digit (insurance); Infra.Market (logistics); and Innovaccer (health care).