It’s been 10 years since India saw the operation of its first unicorn, Makemytrip. Since then, the Indian startup ecosystem has seen huge leaps of progress. According to an Indian Tech Unicorn Report by Orios Venture Partners, to date, India has seen 44 Unicorns emerge and cater Indian consumer market and has generated a total value of $106 billion.  

Currently, India’s startup ecosystem is third-largest after the United States of America and China. Over the past 10 years, India has served as the home of some innovative entrepreneurs that started ingenious startups. These startups went on to redefine their categories while generating value for investors, employment for masses and products for consumers.  

According to the Indian tech Unicorn Report published by a seed-stage VC fund Orios Venture Partners, 44 Indian unicorns in the last decade have created opportunities for direct and indirect employment for 1.4 million people on an average every year. Of these 44 unicorns, MakeMyTrip, JustDial and Naukri went on to become the first few unicorns that went public.  

But before we went on to dissect the report in a detailed way, let’s take a step back and talk about what unicorns are all about. 

What are unicorn companies? 

A unicorn company or startup is a privately operated company that has a market valuation of over $1 billion. As of 2021, there are 546 total unicorns in the world. These 546 unicorns have a cumulative valuation of a whopping $1817 billion.  

Insights from the Indian Tech Unicorn Report 2020  

  • The Indian startup ecosystem has created $106 billion in the past 10 years by a total of 44. These unicorns are responsible for directly or indirectly has helped India with providing masses more than 1.4 million jobs annually. 
  • During 2010-2020, it took a startup an average of 8 years to become a unicorn. However, the time is reducing each year. 
Founding year Number of Unicorns Number of years taken to become unicorn Name 
Before 2005 7 14+ Just dial, Make my trip, Bill Desk, Pine Labs, etc
2007-09 9 8+ Flipkart, Zomato, Policy Bazar. etc
2010-11 13 7+ Ola, Zerodha, First Cry, Delhivery, Byju’s, etc
2012-13 4 5+ Nyka, Hike, PhonePe, etc
2014-15 8 5 Razorpay, Postman, Swiggy, Unacademy, etc
2016-17 3 2+ Udaan, Glance, Ola Electric


  • Unicorn companies are mainly in the B2C space (business to consumer), with Fintech being the sector with the most number of unicorns (11), followed by retail (6) and Saas (5).  
  • India’s silicon valley Bengaluru has the most number of unicorn companies. 41% of the total Unicorns saw their inception in Bengaluru while 34% came from the National Capital Region and 14% from Mumbai.  
  • When it comes to founding figures of these Unicorns, 86% of Unicorn founders are Engineering graduates with the Indian Institute of Technology as the most common institute among them.  

Indian Startup Ecosystem during the COVID-19 crisis 

Although, it cannot be undermined just how many businesses and all the stakeholders in businesses suffered during the COVID-19 pandemic. This was especially true for businesses that operated in the travel, restaurant and mobility sectors. But there were sectors that thrived during the COVID-19 crisis. This included EdTech, FinTech, e-grocery, etc.  

In spite of the havoc wreaked by the COVID-19 virus, India saw 11 startups turn unicorn in 2020. These startups include Pine Labs, First Cry, Razorpay, Cars 24, Nykaa, etc.   

Currently, Paytm by One97 Communications continues to be the most valuable unicorn in India with a valuation of $16 billion. It is followed by EdTech startup Byju’s which earned the unicorns status in 2018. 

The current startup ecosystem is on steady growth with most former founders continuing to start a second venture or become angel investors to help other newer startups. These founders not only bring their cheques to the table but also their experiences and insights that can help any new-age entrepreneur.  

EdTech, health tech, b2c channels, social commerce are on the brink of bringing a widescale digital disruption to the Indin markets. They are witnessing double-digit growth and are harboring an exponential user adoption rate.