India's unicorn tally touches 50, MindTickle the latest entrant

Illustration by Binay Sinha
With 16 start-ups gaining unicorn status in 2021, India’s tally has touched the 50 mark. 

The newest entrants to this list include Pune-based MindTickle, which is close to finalising a $100-million funding round from Softbank’s Vision Fund 2, taking the company’s valuation to $1.1 billion.

Last year, Softbank had invested $100 million in the company at a valuation of $500 million.

MindTickle was looking to raise funds and Softbank did not want to let go of the chance and, hence, they are reinvesting in them,” said a source close to the development. When contacted, a Softbank spokesperson declined to comment.

Softbank has again started investing big in the Indian start-up and e-commerce segment. It invested in social commerce platform Meesho and Firstcry. 

The Japan-based player is also planning to invest around $500 million in Flipkart. Meanwhile, Saas start-up BrowserStack secured $200 million from US-based BOND in a series B round, raising its valuation to $4 billion, said media reports. The funding round also saw participation from Insight Partners and Accel. The company has so far raised $250 million and is a profitable venture.

According to Venture Intelligence data, Browse­rStack’s valuations have risen 8x in the last three years. Industry experts have said in recent times that the Indian unicorn list is expected to rise as fund houses with access to liquidity are looking at avenues for investment.

According to Preqin data, as on February 15 around 35 private equity (PE) players focused on India were raising funds with an aggregate capital target of $8 billion and close to 80 venture capital firms were looking to raise around $8.3 billion. And that’s not all. 

According to Preqin data from June 2020, PE firms in Asia are sitting on a record $361 billion of unspent capital. A Bain & Company report said India-focused dry powder was stable at $6 billion at the end of 2020. 

Multiple unicorns who are category leaders in their space have been created signaling an improvement in investor sentiment as against last year. 

Investor appetite can also be ascertained from the fact that many high growth start-ups are planning initial public offers this year.

"Start-ups which showcased their resilience during the pandemic, maintained serious growth without sacrificing on unit economics have found it easier to raise higher ticket size equity rounds. The pandemic has increased digital usage by all kinds of customers across sectors pan India & startups which are benefiting from the same are leveraging their track record to raise sizeable equity rounds and in the process some are even reaching the unicorn status," said Ankur Bansal, Co-founder and Director, BlackSoil.

Source: Venture Intelligence, others

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