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Watch out for the top 10 Unicorns coming out of Delhi
By www.economictimes.indiatimes.com, 12 Sep. 2019

7000, a magical figure

The Indian startup story is driving the Indian economy in many ways and propelling the economy at a time when jobs are very challenging. It is creating products for India and the rest of the world. So, it is heartening to know that in the startup world Delhi-NCR is way ahead of Bangalore and Hyderabad. It has 7000 startups between 2009-2019 and 10 unicorns in this region alone. The cumulative private market valuation of the startups in Delhi NCR currently stood at approximately $50 billion, higher than Bangalore which hovered between $32-37 billion and Mumbai being a distant third at around $12 billion. These, among other findings, were part of the report, "Turbocharging Delhi-NCR Startup Ecosystem" released by TiE Delhi-NCR in the capital recently. Delhi NCR added at least 1 unicorn each year since 2013, with 70% of the unicorns being B2C companies as per the findings.


The great Indian startup story

Delhi alone, with 4,491 startups, is well ahead of Mumbai while Gurgaon (1,544), the magnet around which Delhi-NCR's corporate world revolves, has more startups than Chennai and is almost equal to Pune. Noida, where mobile payment firm Paytm is based, has over 1,000 startups and is catching up with the others fast. In terms of the total startup valuation in India, Delhi-NCR's contribution is almost 50%. The report also pointed out that Delhi-NCR also has a diverse mix of startups with maximum activity in consumer products and services (14% of the total), followed by e-commerce, health, and education tech. (Text: Shubhra Pant).


Land of the Unicorns

Expressing surprise at the revelations, Amitabh Kant, CEO, Niti Aayog said that it wasn't known that this region had such a huge opportunity to offer. He added, "It is the very high speed connectivity which has driven this trend. Also, the per capita income is very high at $4,686 which is almost 2.6 times higher than the average per capita income of other Indian states. CB Insights recognises 19 unicorns from India, 10 out of these are from Delhi NCR. Delhi, in fact, has truly outclassed Bangalore and is also far ahead of Mumbai." He further said that what was more encouraging was that there were 10 so soon-to-be unicorns knocking on the magical $1 billion value mark from Delhi-NCR. This meant that Delhi will be way ahead than other cities of India.


Big values

The report highlighted how three of the most valuable listed internet companies are in Delhi NCR such as Info Edge with a market capitalisation of $3670 million, MakeMyTrip ($2420 million) and IndiaMart ($490 million). Justdial with a market cap of $640 million was the only exception in the list which wasn't from the same region. "With a concerted focus on the most important areas, NCR has the potential to become the top global hub for startups, leading innovation, creating more startups and at least 30 unicorns in NCR by 2025," Rajan Anandan, President, TiE Delhi-NCR said on a bullish note.


Problems and solutions

"When it comes to government initiatives to boost startup activity, states like Karnataka have introduced some great policies. For instance, every startup in Karnataka gets a seed fund of Rs 50 lakh and in the past few months, they have given this fund to more than 150 startups. Similar assistance must also be provided in NCR by the respective governments," said Anandan. Pollution and a high crime rate are the other two significant hurdles before the startup ecosystem in NCR. The rise in pollution has forced a few startup founders to move base to Bangalore. There are more than 20,000 startups in India one of the key things lacking in India is incubation centres.


An incubation hub

Niti Aayog is ready to support 25 incubation centres this year in the Delhi-NCR region. "The other big thing is that we need to create structures like T-Hubs the way Hyderabad has created. That is a very vibrant space as that is a meeting point for all innovators. I am willing to take this up with the government of Haryana to find a location in Gurgaon as well as with the UP government. In fact, NCR region should have 4 or 5 such T-Hubs in different parts of Delhi. We should really push the envelope to create such T Hubs which can serve as catalysts of change for the region," said Amitabh Kant.