The south’s Bengaluru and Hyderabad might have hogged the limelight when it comes to start-ups, but India’s National Capital Region (NCR) is far and away the largest start-up hub in the country, shows a report released recently by The Indus Entrepreneurs (TiE) and Zinnov. However, with the number of start-ups founded each year in the city falling steadily over the past few years, TiE Delhi-NCR says there is a need to accelerate growth in the ecosystem.
According to the study, the Delhi-NCR region has a whopping 7,039 start-ups and host 10 unicorns (start-ups valued at more than $1 billion). The second-placed Bengaluru trails far behind, with 5,234 start-ups, 9 of which are unicorns. Mumbai and Hyderabad follow, with 3,829 and 1,940 start-ups each. The report, titled ‘Turbocharging Delhi-NCR Startup Ecosystem’, was released by NITI Aayog CEO Amitabh Kant.
With 10 unicorns, Delhi-NCR also leads in the total market valuation of its start-up ecosystem, which is valued at a cumulative $46-56 billion. In contrast, Bengaluru and Mumbai have valuations of only $32-37 billion and $10-12 billion respectively.
The slowing growth in start-up foundings across India, however, requires focused efforts. “The ecosystem will require a lot more seed and early-stage funding, creating more affordable co-working spaces, increasing the number and quality of accelerators and incubators, developing deeper pools of technical talent and developing sector-specific policies”, if this issue is to be solved, noted Rajan Anandan, president of TiE Delhi-NCR.
The region has the potential to become one of the top five global start-up hubs, TiE noted, with a possible 12,000 startups, 30 unicorns and a cumulative valuation of about $150 billion by 2025. However, unlocking the true potential of the ecosystem requires government intervention, the report noted.
Among the measures suggested is building “three world-class affordable startup hubs” each in Delhi, Noida and Gurugram. Another key recommendation is to prioritise 10 horizontal and vertical sectors to leverage inherent advantages of the region, like consumer tech, e-commerce, travel and hospitality, etc.