Aside from the funding winter, India surpassed the United Kingdom to become the world’s third-largest start-up economy in 2022. During the year, it created 24 new unicorns and attracted $25 billion in venture financing.

India surpassed the 100-unicorn mark in 2022, becoming the world’s third-largest start-up economy. The country has now fallen behind the United States (661 unicorns) and China (312 unicorns). According to Orios Venture Partners’ ‘The India Unicorns and Exits Tech Report 2022,’ despite the ‘funding winter,’ Indian start-ups raised $25 billion in cash, which was 2.2X the amount raised in 2020.

However, as compared to the highs of 2021, start-up funding fell by 30% in 2022. Even start-up IPOs have been cut in half, from 11 in 2021 to four last year. Meanwhile, the number of start-up purchases declined from 250 to 229 last year. The largest M&A was ShareChat-owned Moj’s $600 million acquisition of MX Taka Tak, followed by Zomato’s $568 million acquisition of Blinkit and Lenskart’s $400 million acquisition of Owndays.

24 Indian start-ups become unicorns this year. In fact, one out of every thirteen unicorns born worldwide was born in India. In 2022, the SaaS sector surpassed fintech startups to become the leading unicorn generator. Logistics came in second, followed by fintech. At $37.6 billion, Walmart-owned Flipkart is India’s most valuable unicorn.

“India is a global hotspot in technology firm value generation,” stated Rehan Yar Khan, Managing Partner of Orios Venture Partners. This reflects the widespread adoption of technology across the country. The next stage of the Indian technology story will see these unicorns graduate to IPO exits, and the next years should see a frenzy of activity in that regard.”

Bengaluru remains India’s largest unicorn hotspot, with 43 unicorns headquartered there. In 2022, it will also be the world’s seventh-largest unicorn hub. Meanwhile, with 34 and 20 start-ups, respectively, Delhi and Mumbai were the second and third-largest unicorn hubs. “Not only are these entrepreneurs providing breakthrough ideas and technology, but they are also creating large-scale employment,” Orios Venture Partners stated. 

When it comes to unicorn founders, investor bias continues to favor elite universities such as IITs and IIMs/ISBs. According to the survey, two-thirds (or more than 66% of Indian unicorns) have at least one or more founders from IITs, IIMs, or ISB. Furthermore, 80.3 percent of unicorn founders have a background in engineering.

However, India has a long way to go in terms of gender diversity. There are only 19 female unicorn founders in the country, divided into 18 start-ups.