Indian tech unicorn journey shortens, averaging 5.5 years in 2023: Orios Report

In 2023, startups secured $8.2 billion in funding, reflecting a 72% drop from the $25 billion raised in 2022. The number of startup IPOs rose to 8, up from 4 in 2022.

Indian tech unicorn journey shortens, averaging 5.5 years in 2023: Orios Report

Wednesday January 17, 2024,

3 min Read

The average time for startups to achieve the unicorn status has transitioned from 8.4 years in 2022 to just 5.5 years in 2023, according to a report by Orios Venture Partners.

The report, titled ‘Indian Tech Unicorn and Exits Report 2023’, showcased that India saw the emergence of only two unicorns in 2023, but maintained its position as the third-largest nation with the highest number of unicorns.

In 2023, Indian startups secured $8.2 billion in funding, reflecting a 72% drop from the $25 billion raised in 2022. The number of startup IPOs rose to 8, up from 4 in 2022, and there were 123 acquisitions in 2023, a decrease from the 229 recorded in 2022.

Cartrade.com's acquisition of Olx Autos was the largest deal in 2023, followed by Automattic acquiring Texts. 

“Though 2023 saw only two unicorns, we are excited to note how in the last four years startups are taking 5 to 6 years to get to unicorn status vs 8 to 10 prior to that. That shows the market has become large," said Rehan Yar Khan, Managing Partner, Orios Venture Partners.

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Moreover, the ecommerce sector surpassed SaaS in securing the highest number of funding rounds in 2023. The report emphasises that 25% of unicorn founders are seasoned entrepreneurs, bringing expertise from prior successes. Bengaluru has yet again emerged as the unicorn hub in India, with Delhi and Mumbai closely following behind.

"We also love how many unicorns are profitable, and in our conversation with several unicorn founders, profitability was a big focus area. Both these factors point to there being a significant number of tech IPOs in 2024 and the years to follow,” Rehan adds.

Some of the key findings from the report include the emergence of unicorns exclusively in the fintech and ecommerce sectors (Incred and Zepto, respectively). 

Startups that gained IPO status in 2023 include Zaggle, Mamaearth, and ideaForge. Prominent exits during the year included Edamama, Plix, Olx Autos, Goodera, and Texts.

Additionally, 80% of Indian unicorns are founded by engineers, with 75% being established by first-time founders.

Mensa Brandsachieved unicorn status in just six months after raising its initial $50 million round in May 2021. In contrast, Five Star Finance holds the record as the slowest unicorn, taking 37 years to attain the unicorn status. Notably, 44 startups became unicorns in less than five years.

Established in 2013, Orios Venture Partners is an early-stage venture capital fund, boasting a portfolio that includes companies like Pharmeasy, Battery Smart, Country Delight, Ixigo, MobiKwik, CarDekho, Vedantu, and Zupee, among others.


Edited by Megha Reddy