First time dip in number of Indian unicorns: Hurun Index

The two top-valued Indian unicorns are ranked 83rd in the list globally, while Razorpay is at 94th position

   
decline in the number of unicorns in India

The number of unicorns — companies worth over USD 1 billion — in the country has declined for the first time in four years to 67, a report said on Tuesday.

The country, however, maintained the tag of being the third biggest hub for unicorns across the world, according to the Hurun Global Unicorn Index 2024.

Grappling with a slew of issues, edtech company Byju’s, which was valued at over USD 22 billion a year back, dropped off from the list, meaning it is worth less than USD 1 billion at present.

The drop in valuation for Byju’s made it the biggest dip across any startup in the world, as per the Hurun report.

The 2008-founded Byju’s lost its coveted position as it restructured operations and cut costs after increasing losses, the report said, adding, “the former unicorn missed its revenue target for the financial year ending in March last year and is working to resolve a USD 1.2 billion debt”.

Commenting on Byju’s, Hurun Report chairman and chief researcher Rupert Hoogewerf said that some startups indeed fail and receive massive media attention in the process, but added that such companies are vital to an economy.

Food delivery platform Swiggy and fantasy sports focused Dream11 are the most valuable unicorns from India valued at USD 8 billion each, and are followed by Razorpay at USD 7.5 billion, the report said.

The two top-valued Indian unicorns are ranked 83rd in the list globally, while Razorpay is at 94th position.

There were some additions in the list of unicorns like the artificial intelligence platform Krutrim, Hurun India’s chief researcher Anas Rahman Junaid said.

However, the same year has seen 60 AI-focused startups from the US and 37 from China break into the unicorn club, he said.

Rahman said the overall drop in the number of Indian companies in the list of 1,453 unicorns is due to lack of investments into startups despite handsome gains on the equity indices.

He also added that a tendency to start a company outside the country among founders has also dented the prospects for India, pointing out that founders hailing from India started 109 unicorns outside of the country, compared to 67 within the country.

This led to the addition of 24 unicorns to take the overall number of companies valued at over USD 1 billion to 340 during the year.

The unicorn list was led by 2012-founded Bytedance, owner of Tiktok, with a valuation of USD 220 billion, and was followed by billionaire Elon Musk’s SpaceX at USD 180 billion and Microsoft-backed OpenAI worth USD 100 billion.

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