With record capital raising, 2018 was year of transformation for start-ups

If it were not for notices to pay angel tax and a less-than-favourable e-commerce policy, 2018 would have been a perfect year for Indian start-ups. “There has been record capital raising, bumper exits, and positive investor sentiment,” said Ashish Sharma, chief executive officer at venture debt provider Innoven Capital. Funding has been good, especially for late-stage category leaders such as Swiggy, OYO, Byju's, Paytm, and PolicyBazaar. Early-stage funding, however, has been tough, as is Series-B funding. Exits have also been good. "The Flipkart-Walmart deal showed that Indian start-ups can attract billions," said K Ganesh, serial entrepreneur and start-up investor. Digital products and services have been popular, not only in urban areas but also in rural markets, thanks to low bandwidth rates. There has been better distribution of funding as well, and more companies are looking for global expansion. "This reflects increasing ambition," said Sharma. Start-ups are also attracting more private equity and pension funds, besides big investors such as SoftBank, Alibaba and Tencent. 

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