India’s fintech startups soared 3X during 2015-18; second highest globally, says report

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Published: March 2, 2019 9:57:27 PM

Over 1,300 startups (close to three-fold growth) were added to the existing base of 737 startups in the fintech space during 2015-18.

More than 1,600 fintech startups came up during 2015-18 in the US, the biggest fintech ecosystem.

Indian fintech startup ecosystem has arguably exploded in the last three-four years. The fintech vertical spanning across payments, lending, wealth-tech, personal finance, insurance-tech, regulatory-tech/cybersecurity etc., in India, gave birth to the second highest number of startups between 2015-18, globally.

Over 1,300 startups (close to three-fold growth) were added to the existing base of 737 startups in the fintech space during the said period, taking the total count to around 2,050, said a report on the Indian fintech ecosystem.

To put it in perspective, the US, which has the biggest fintech ecosystem, had more than 1,600 – highest number of startups – coming up in the said period. This took the count of its total fintech startups t0 around 3,400 startups including 1,788 startups that existed till 2014, according to the findings in the report titled Indian Fintech Report 2019 by global fintech insights platform Medici and Zone Startups. Zone Startups is a startup accelerator based in the Bombay Stock Exchange.

Importantly, the number of startups that came up during 2015-18 in India was just 300 short that of the US even as the gap in the total number of fintech startups between the world’s first and second largest startup ecosystem was of just around 1,350 startups.

That’s impressive when compared to the total start-up count between India and the US. “India has technology startups in the range of 12,000-16,000 whereas the US must be having more than 30,000 as per estimates, said Ajay Ramasubramaniam, Director, Zone Startups India told Financial Express Online.

India’s 2,035 Fintech Startups Landscape

Source: India Fintech Report 2019. 860 fintech startups, that is 42 per cent of the total fintech startup base, are located in Mumbai and Bengaluru. 437 are based out of other major hubs including New Delhi, Gurugram, and Hyderabad while the remaining 738 startups are spread across other cities.

“It (rise of fintech) happened at the back of executing a four-point approach. Firstly, solving for identity in the form of Aadhaar for formalization. Secondly, getting everyone a bank account or equivalents (Jan Dhan Yojna) to store money. Thirdly, building scalable platforms to move money such as IMPS, UPI, etc. And finally, allowing banks and fintech players to access platform like UPI to innovate,” the report said.

At a distant third is the UK with close to 600 startups followed by near 300 startups in Singapore and a little over 200 startups in Germany that came up during 2015-18.

Rise of Wealth-tech and Insurance-tech

The fintech ecosystem’s rise has been led payments and lending startups such as Paytm, MobiKwik, PhonePe, Faircent, LendingKart, Kissht etc. However, amid the proliferation of the two categories, the categories that have gained scale are wealth-tech and insurance-tech startups.

The pecking order of the fintech ecosystem in terms of the number of startups shows wealth-tech as the third biggest vertical with 303 startups preceded by 375 startups in the payments space and 338 startups in the online lending market.

Growing personal wealth, increased adoption of mobile and digital channels, reduced asymmetry of information between small and large financial institutions and investors, are some of the factors propelling the industry forward, the report said.

On the other hand, insurance-tech startups have scaled well in the last year attracting $378 million across 17 deals in 2018. It was only third to payments space with $709 million in 21 deals and lending with $529 million across 67 deals that led the market last year.

It is an interesting area for investors to look at as the insurance-tech startups are bringing the underserved population into the insurance fold through the digital channel,” said Ramasubramaniam.

Also existing companies are attracting customers by doing product bundling with successful categories that have a strong online presence, for instance, healthcare, travel, logistics, automobile. Hence, the share of the insurance market has increased in the last 3-5 years, Ramasubramaniam added.

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