India is undergoing an economic renaissance. Wealth and innovation have increased exponentially resulting in India becoming one of the largest consumer markets in the world, second only to China.
India owes some of its growth to the relative stagnation in certain US markets. For instance, smartphone sales slumped as the sales reached saturation in the US. Phone makers turned to markets in China and India for a new source of revenue. There are currently over 500 million smartphone users in India which is near double the number of users in the US and that number will continue to grow.
This rapid expansion of life-changing technology is what enabled industries like financial technology and mobile services to thrive. Some of India’s most valuable startups already rival that of US startups. In 2019, Ola Cabs (a rideshare company similar to Uber), Oyo Rooms (a hotel booking company), and Paytm (a PayPal competitor) were each worth roughly $10 billion dollars.
In 2019 alone, India’s venture capital industry invested a record amount of $14.5 billion dollars into startups with an additional $7 billion dollars of reserve cash for investment. However, the stars of the story are the 128 startups that were acquired, the four startups that became publicly listed, and the nine startups that became unicorns. Far from just a handful of startups getting lucky, this trend shows that India’s startups are growing at a pace rivaling US startups.
India’s commitment to innovation is so strong that Finance Secretary Rajiv Kumar has publicly encouraged banks across India to partner with startups. Leading by example, Kumar launched Bank of Baroda, a state-owned bank that specializes in helping startups. The bank announced that it plans to help 2,000 startups in the next two years.
The level of support, dedication, and raw capital being funneled into India’s startup industry are staggering. India is already one of the biggest markets for consumer goods and it will no doubt become one of the biggest economic powers in the world in the near future.