Coders in India. Photo: Facebook

Indian startup firms witnessed a sharp rise in funding during the April-June quarter and 11 of them attained the coveted unicorn status after they were valued at over $1 billion.

A report by Nasscom-PGA Labs said that Indian startups received funding totaling $6.5 billion in the April-June 2021 quarter, up 71% from the preceding quarter. During this quarter, 160 funding deals were closed — up 2% from the January-March period.

“From being the most funded quarter, it has also added the most number of unicorns. Standing tall during the pandemic second wave headwinds, the Indian start-up ecosystem has shown strong resilience in this quarter,” the report said.

The biggest deal during the quarter was the $800 million fundraise by food delivery platform Swiggy, followed by ShareChat ($502 million), Byju’s ($340 million), PharmEasy ($323 million) and Meesho ($300 million), the report said. Other prominent fundraises include Pine Labs ($285 million), Delhivery ($277 million), Zeta ($250 million), Cred ($215 million) and Urban Company ($188 million).

The startups that entered the unicorn club include Urban Company, Cred, Meesho, Groww, ShareChat, PharmEasy, Zeta, BrowserStack, Moglix, Gupshup and Chargebee. This has increased India’s unicorn tally to 53.

Fintech was the most funded sector, accounting for 27% of the total deal value in the reported quarter. This was followed by food tech (13%), enterprise tech (11%), education tech (10%), and media and entertainment (8%).

PGA Labs Director Abhishek Maiti said that investors’ confidence in good-quality digital businesses has strengthened like never before. He sees promising deals flowing in the second half as India opens after a series of lockdowns.

Facebook plan

Meanwhile, Facebook has expressed interest in investing somewhere in the Indian startup ecosystem. The company earlier invested in Reliance Industries subsidiary Jio Platforms and in social commerce platform Meesho and online education provider Unacademy. Both Meesho and Unacademy have turned unicorns during their latest fundraise this year.

The American social media giant plans to invest in early-stage companies across business categories. It has also launched a “small loans initiative” for companies that are on its platform to get quick access to credit through independent lending partners.