Home to 10 unicorns, Delhi-NCR beats Bengaluru, Mumbai to win startup battle

Delhi-NCR has over 7,000 startups and 10 unicorns with a cumulative valuation of about $50 billion, ahead of cities such as Bengaluru and Mumbai.

The National Capital Region (Delhi-NCR), with 7,039 startups and 10 unicorns, is ahead of Bengaluru and Mumbai, revealed a report titled 'Turbocharging Delhi-NCR Start-up Ecosystem' published by TiE-Delhi-NCR and Zinnov. Currently, Bengaluru has 5,234 startups, Mumbai has 3,829, and Hyderabad has 1,940 startups.

Within Delhi-NCR, Delhi accounted for 4,491 startups, Gurugram for 1,544, and Noida for 1,004. These startups were founded between 2009 and 2019.

Rajan Anandan, President, TiE Delhi-NCR

Delhi tops with Unicorns

Interestingly, Delhi-NCR has 10 unicorns such as Paytm, OYO, Zomato, and Hike, compared to nine in Bengaluru, two in Mumbai and Pune, and one in Chennai.

Rajan Anandan, President, TiE Delhi-NCR highlighted at the event that as a region, Delhi-NCR has created at least one unicorn every year since 2013. "Unlike other regions, these 10 unicorns are not from one particular sector, but are from across the sectors such as fintech, ecommerce, logistics, food, energy, and so on," he added.

Delhi-NCR accounts for over 50 percent of cumulative valuation of Indian startup ecosystem to the tune of $46-56 billion, compared to $32-37 billion for Bengaluru, and $10-12 billion for Mumbai. The report also reiterates that five out of the top-10 most-valued startups in India are based out of Delhi-NCR.

Besides this, the National Capital Region is also home to three of the four listed startups such as MakeMyTrip, IndiaMart, and InfoEdge.

Consumer Products Capital

About 70 percent of Delhi-NCR unicorns are B2C companies, Anandan said, adding that Delhi can be the largest hub for startups in consumer products, which also saw the maximum funding in the region, the report said. The region currently has 2,653 consumer-focused startups, of which 14 percent are funded companies.

Quality vs Quantity

The report also showed that there has been a slowdown in the formation of new startups in the past two years across the country, as well as in Delhi-NCR. For instance, some 420 startups were founded in 2018 as compared to 826 in 2017, and 1,361 in 2016. However, the quality of startups have drastically improved, added Anandan, as the new startups are being founded by more seasoned entrepreneurs.

Challenges in Delhi-NCR ecosystem

The access to funding across all stages needs to be improved in the National Capital Region, for which the base of active angel investors in Delhi-NCR should be increased, Anandan said. Between 2015-17, only 8.7 percent of 3,800 startups in Delhi-NCR bagged seed funding, as compared to 13 percent of 1,850 startups during 2012-2014. The decline has been similar in terms of Series A funding as well.

Besides this, focused effort is required to increase structured programmes and corporate participation in the startup ecosystem in Delhi. Currently, only 10 percent of the incubators in India are in Delhi-NCR, even though the region has the largest number of startups.

The report recommended setting up of Centers of Excellence and spaces on the lines of T-Hub in Hyderabad to help startups continue to innovate and grow their operations. Also, the quality of accelerators and incubators developing deeper pools of technical talent and developing sector-specific policies, will help in further strengthening the region's position as a startup hub. For challenges like expensive real estate, there is a critical need to increase affordable co-working spaces in Delhi-NCR.

Niti Aayog Chief Executive Officer Amitabh Kant, who released the report, said vibrant hubs need to be created in Delhi, Gurugram, and Noida that can be catalysts and agents of change. He said the government will continue to support setting up of 25 incubation centres in the region to help the startup ecosystem.

The report estimates that the region can become home to 12,000 active startups by 2025. This would include 30 unicorns and account for cumulative valuations of more than $150 billion, it added. With appropriate interventions, Delhi-NCR can become one of the top five global startup hubs in the world, Anandan said.

(Edited by Suman Singh)


Updates from around the world