As we launch the DataLabs by Inc42 Annual Indian Tech Startup Funding Report 2019, presented by Dell, here’s a look at the key highlights from the detailed analysis of the investment trends, mergers & acquisitions (M&As), startup policies and macroeconomic factors that influenced the Indian startup ecosystem from 2014-2019. Read all articles in this series
As we step into a new decade, it’s evident from the year gone by that the startup ecosystem is well on its way to maturity. Keen observers of the startup funding landscape in 2019 would acknowledge that it has been one of the more remarkable years for startups. That’s not just in the Indian context, but also globally, where questions were raised about rampant funding for startups in light of the WeWork debacle and continued losses for ecommerce giants in India. But that does not mean that Indian startups did not raise noteworthy funding in 2019
According to DataLabs by Inc42’s Annual Indian Tech Startup Funding Report 2019, by the end of the calendar year of 2019, the total funding poured into Indian startups since 2014 stood at $58 Bn whereas the total count of funding deals crossed the 5K mark with 5,011 investments. But beyond that, we saw mid-tier cities grow in stature among startup hubs, seven new unicorns and a spate of big-ticket deals that grabbed the headlines.
Here are the key insights drawn from the data we have recorded over the past year, which have been compiled in the Annual Indian Tech Startup Funding Report 2019.Download Your Free Copy Now
Startup Funding Deals At A 5-Year Low
When discounting the outlier deals of the year, the value of funding amount actually recorded a historical peak in 2019, reaching $9 Bn in comparison to $8 Bn in 2018.
As the startup ecosystem moves from growth stage to maturity, the funding amount and deal count have both stabilised over the two years from 2017 to 2019. In 2019, the total funding raised by tech startups in India across 766 deals was $12.7 Bn, which is a 15% increase from 2018. In 2018, 697 unique Indian startups raised funding, while this figure fell to 664 in 2019, indicating that investors looked to invest more in funded startups, which were better poised for growth.
Another sign of investors largely backing growth startups is the fact that bridge funding and growth-stage funding achieved a high pace of growth, growing fastest at 30% and 12% respectively. With $252 Mn in funding, the seed-stage deal value fell by 44% (compared to 2018) as only 306 seed funding deals were recorded.
The report also shows that the median funding amount has been growing at 38% CAGR from 2015 to 2019 for startups in India. This indicates the growing popularity for late-stage investments over seed funding and growth-stage deals.
Seed Funding Crunch Hits Bengaluru Hardest
Among 24 active startup hubs, the top three hubs or cities — Bengaluru, Delhi NCR and Mumbai — have dominated the startup funding activity in India for five straight years (2014 to 2018) across all three major indicators. Bengaluru, Delhi NCR and Mumbai led in both funding amount and the deal count for 2019 as well with a collective 87% and 84% share respectively, as seen in the Annual Indian Tech Startup Funding Report, 2019.Book Your Copy Now
Bengaluru startups secured the most funding for the year at $5.3 Bn across 267 deals, narrowly beating Delhi NCR startups
Among the top three cities, though the deal count among Bengaluru startups fell slightly (4.3%), the city’s share of the overall deal count in India for 2019 actually increased. But when looking into stage-wise growth in each city, Bengaluru seems to have borne the biggest brunt of the seed funding decline.
The number of seed-stage funded startups went below 100 for Bengaluru for the first time since 2015.
Funding Boom For Enterprise Tech
Among the top-performing sectors, fintech, enterprise tech, ecommerce, consumer services and healthtech have continued to dominate on the basis of the number of funding deals and count of unique startups funded. However, this stronghold is loosening as these big 5 sectors combined made 61% of the total deal count in 2019 compared to 65% share in the previous year.
With total funding of $1.15 Bn across 114 deals in 2019, enterprise tech recorded 49% surge in total funding amount compared to 2018 whereas the deal count plunged by 10% during the same interval. With 21.9% share in the total M&A count, enterprise tech startups recorded 23 deals, compared to 5 deals for fintech and 9 deals for ecommerce.
Sequoia Tops VC List Thanks To Surge
DataLabs by Inc42 has noted that that number of unique investors in 2019 saw a minor fall as compared to last two years. Indian startup ecosystem saw 275 unique VC, continuing to fall from the peak of 315 unique VCs in 2017 and 283 in 2018. In terms of ranking, the most active VC of 2018 — Accel Partners was dethroned by Sequoia Capital in 2019.
Sequoia recorded over 2X growth in investments compared to 2018 and this can be attributed to the launch of Sequoia Surge, the VC’s early-stage accelerator and incubation programme. Surge has committed to back 10–20 early-stage startups twice a year and invest around $1.5 Mn in each of them.Book Your Copy Now