Despite the coronavirus pandemic negatively effecting many sectors of the blooming Indian startup culture this year, investors have poured in $9.3 billion into the country, according to the consultancy firm Tracxn. While, this is a huge drop from the record $14.5 billion that was invested last year, the numbers show signs of recovery.
While the first half saw $4.2 billion coming in the borders of the world’s second largest internet market, the second half was much bigger, mainly due to restrictions being uplifted in a huge part of the country and businesses returning.
About 1088 deals were made in 2020, which is significantly lower compared to last year’s 1185. Moreover, there were fewer $100-million funding rounds this year, but these accounted for about $3.6 billion of the total amount raised, Tracxn data showed.
Although there is a certain drop compared to previous years, the amount raised was still significant, and higher than what was raised in 2016. This means that the interest of investors, globally as well as domestic, has prevailed.
This year also saw a stark rise in mergers and acquisitions between companies. Some of the major ones were the acquisition of furniture and décor Urban ladder and Indian online pharmacy Netmeds by Reliance Industries and e-learning platform WhiteHat Jr by Byju’s.
Consumer healthcare, SMB SaaS (Software-as-a-Service), fintech, e-grocery, ed-tech and med-tech sectors saw company valuations ballooning, as startups started realigning business models to manage their way through the coronavirus lockdown.
In contrast, deals in sectors such as offline retail, restaurant SaaS, consumer lending, consumer mobility and construction/real estate declined sharply.
As mentioned before, online platforms saw their businesses remain comparatively stable and even successful this year. Byju’s is one of those companies, as it is now valued at $11 billion, up from $8 billion in January this year.
“Compared to last year, 2020 has been a year of higher deal velocity. Overall, we committed to deploy 50% more capital this year than we did in the previous year,” said Hemant Mohapatra, partner at early-stage venture capital firm Lightspeed India, which has backed companies such as Oyo and Byju’s.
Other than the pandemic, another aspect effecting the startups in India is the absence of a certain group of investors, being the Chinese. Chinese investors such as Alibaba and Tencent invested far less compared to previous years, mainly due to the political tension brewing between the two neighboring countries.