Speaking Of Asia

Time to track India's start-up frenzy

Digitalisation and the rise of a new generation of tech-savvy entrepreneurs are among the trends fuelling the surge

ST ILLUSTRATION: MANNY FRANCISCO

In the first half of last year, one Asian nation took a massive blow to its start-up industry in the wake of the lockdowns that followed the coronavirus pandemic. An estimated one in six of these new businesses shut in the April to June quarter and venture capital flows to the sector shrank 55 per cent, even as the broader economy contracted by nearly a quarter.

In the second half of the year, the same country spawned 12 unicorns - new companies that were getting valuations of US$1 billion (S$1.3 billion) or more. That's reckoned to be the second highest for unicorns spawned in a single nation last year, behind the United States. Today, this country has 38 unicorns, more than Germany. And 2021 is projected to add another dozen.

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A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on February 25, 2021, with the headline 'Time to track India's start-up frenzy'. Subscribe