India tech startups see lowest funding in 5 years, just 2 unicorns in 2023

Bengaluru, Dec 8 : Funding in India’s tech startup ecosystem in 2023 has been the lowest in the last five years, dropping India’s global ranking from 4th to 5th place, a new report showed on Friday.

The year received $7 billion in total funding until December 5, a significant decline of 72 per cent, compared to $25 billion in the previous year.

Only two new unicorns were created this year — Incred and Zepto — as against 23 in the previous year and 119 acquisitions as compared to 187 acquisitions in 2022, a 36 per cent drop, according to the report by leading global market intelligence platform Tracxn.

The funding declined across all stages, with late-stage funding dropping over 73 per cent, followed by early-stage funding (70 per cent) and seed-stage funding (60 per cent).

“While the funding slowdown in 2023 presents challenges for the Indian tech startup ecosystem, we remain optimistic about the future. With favourable government policies and a fast-growing economy, we believe India is well-positioned for success in the years to come,” said Neha Singh, co-founder, Tracxn.

Amid the funding slowdown, India has dropped from 4th place in 2022 and 2021 to fifth place among the highest-funded geographies globally in 2023.

The last quarter (Q4) recorded the lowest funding of $957 million to date, marking it the lowest-funded quarter since Q3 2016.

The decline is primarily due to the biggest drop in late-stage funding, by over 73 per cent to $4.2 billion in 2023 from $15.6 billion in 2022.

The number of $100 million+ rounds recorded were only 17, dropping by 69 per cent compared to last year.

FinTech, driven by increasing smartphone penetration and government initiatives towards a cashless economy, has received $2.1 billion in funding so far in 2023, a decrease from $5.8 billion from the same period last year, said the report.

PhonePe, a leading payments company, stands out as the top-funded company in the sector, securing a total of $750 million in four Series D rounds which makes up for 38 per cent of the funding received by the sector.

Perfios, Insurancedekho, and Kreditbee, are some of the other top-funded companies in the sector this year.

The retail sector received $1.9 billion in funding, marking a 67 per cent drop compared to 2022.

Lenskart, with $600 million raised in two Series J rounds, emerges as the top-funded company in the sector this year.

Despite the overall funding slowdown, sectors such as Environment Tech and SpaceTech have garnered investor attention.

Environment Tech received $1.2 billion in funding, while SpaceTech saw a 6 per cent increase with $122 million raised so far in 2023 brought about its privatisation by the government.

Bengaluru, Mumbai, and Delhi-NCR continue to attract significant funding in India’s tech startup ecosystem with LetsVenture, Accel, and Blume Ventures, being the top investors supporting the growth of the India Tech space.