UNICORNS: THE OTHER SIDE OF THE COIN

UNICORNS: THE OTHER SIDE OF THE COIN

Business Magazine

India is raining unicorns, a significant increase is seen in the last few years where companies have crossed the net worth of $1 billion. Till the year 2016-17, the rate at which companies turn into unicorns was quite slower but in the past few years, this rate has increased manifold. The year 2021 was considered the best year for the Indian Startups, with 42 unicorns contributing to the largest spike in the unicorn list. Businesses are adding to the Unicorn club with a massive year-on-year growth of 66% growth rate. 

In the first four months of 2022, India registered 14 new unicorns completing the mark of the 100th unicorn. With the big brands such as Xpressbees, Uniphore, Cred Avenue, Deal Share and many more, India registered an all-time high unicorn wave. NeoBank Open became the 100th startup that entered the unicorn club with a valuation of $1 billion. 

India has the third-highest number of unicorns in the world. The data by the Ministry of Commerce & Industry shows that the net valuation of all the 100 unicorns is $332.7 billion. The report also suggested that 1 out of 10 unicorns in the world originated in India. 

It is very common to think that if a company achieves the status of a unicorn, it is earning huge profits. But it is said that all that glitter is not gold. The same applies to unicorns; not all 100 unicorn startups in India have attained profitability. 

According to the report by Entrakr, only 18 unicorns are profitable and 57 unicorns suffered deep losses in the financial year 2021. 25 startups have not disclosed their profits and losses but there is a high chance that half of them are suffering the losses. The top companies from the unicorn club that are profitable include Zoho, Zerodha, Dream11 and InfoEdge. 

WHAT LED TO THE SUDDEN BOOM?

The clear answer is pandemic which triggered the growth of the Unicorns. While the entire nation was working from home, the need for the IT industry enjoyed a sudden boom. The pandemic fueled the growth of digital businesses in the Tech, SaaS and eCommerce sectors. These industries largely contribute to the unicorn world. 

The data from the Ministry of Commerce & Industry show that there are over 69,000 recognized startups in the country till 2 May 2022. The startups are categorised in 56 different sectors, out of which 13% are from the IT industry only. 

THE BACKLASH WITH INVESTORS

The unicorns raised a huge amount of over $80 billion from various investors. But according to the market reports, the companies faced backlash from investors for not managing and achieving the desired profitability level. 

Some of the companies that are listed on the Stock Exchange in the financial year 2021 have now fallen below their earlier IPO status. Companies like Paytm, PolicyBazaar and Zomato are among those companies whose prices of initial public offering experienced a downfall. 

The high burning cash models are also criticised by the investors. In February 2022, Macquarie Group stated that Paytm is not going to achieve profitability soon. It will remain the “distant reality” for the company. 

THE UNFORTUNATE SIDE

The total number of unicorns has increased to 100 in the year 2022. However, this number does not accurately depict the profitability of all the companies. Famous and big companies like Vedantu, Unacademy, Meesho and Blinkit laid off their employees in huge numbers.

The edtech unicorn, Vedantu fired 200 employees at beginning of May 2022 and predict the further possibility of mass layoffs. The layoffs are considered a smaller step in order to increase profitability and cost-cutting. This action points toward the upcoming problems. 

THE FINAL WORDS

The top companies that are facing huge losses are OYO, Flipkart, ShareChat, Udaan, Swiggy, and Unacademy among others. The irony here is that the most valued startups like Flipkart, OYO, and Unacademy are dealing with losses of over 1000 crores. 

All these scenarios compel us to think that raising funds from the investors is not sufficient but utilizing them in such a way that provides profit to the company is necessary. Today, we might be celebrating 100 unicorns but the real question is to see how many unicorns are actually earning the profits. 

Must Read

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.