"These are unprecedented times. Unprecedented challenges call for unprecedented solutions. I call all BIMSTEC nations to support the startups...Startups are quick to respond in getting the economy back to shape, in getting the livelihood going, and in the fight to get rid of diseases," said Tenzin Lekphell, Secretary-General, BIMSTEC.
Amid a decent investment activity being witnessed in the Indian startup ecosystem despite the Covid impact, the government is now looking at its startup investor community to showcase India’s commitment to the development of the South Asian startup ecosystem. Commerce and Industry Minister Piyush Goyal addressing the BIMSTEC countries at the Startup India’s international summit Prarambh on Friday urged investors to also look at the BIMSTEC region. “Today I would like to invite Indian capital and investors to look at the BIMSTEC region, our neighbours, and work towards greater engagement both through investment, mentoring, and support so that we can truly demonstrate to the world our collective commitment and effort to make startups the pillar on which future economic development will rest and prosper,” said Goyal.
The two-day (January 15-16) event is hosting top policymakers, industry, academia, investors, startups, and all stakeholders of the region’s startup ecosystem to showcase its best practices from the member countries towards promoting local startups. The event marked the fifth anniversary of the Startup India programme launched by PM Narendra Modi on January 16, 2016. “These are unprecedented times. Unprecedented challenges call for unprecedented solutions. I call all BIMSTEC nations to support the startups…Startups are quick to respond in getting the economy back to shape, in getting the livelihood going, and in the fight to get rid of diseases,” said Tenzin Lekphell, Secretary-General, BIMSTEC.
According to the Startup India programme, there are 42,083 startups recognised under the initiative by the Department for Promotion of Industry and Internal Trade (DPIIT) as of Friday. The registered startups have collectively raised $63 billion across over 5,400 funding deals. There are 12 jobs created per startup in India, according to the programme.
“The global stage is available for our startups and when we begin with our neighbourhood, invite startups from other countries in South Asia to engage with startups in India, we are going beyond government-to-government collaboration, and business-to-business or business-to-consumer engagement to a startup-to-startup collaboration,” Goyal added urging Indian investors to “expand their horizon to support Indian startups particularly at an early stage.”
The startup funding saw a 21.3 per cent decline in 2020 with investors pouring over $11.4 billion, down from $14.5 billion in 2019, according to the data shared by Tracxn. However, the fall in annual deal volume or the number of rounds was less severe as startups participated in 1,152 funding rounds in 2020 vis-à-vis 1,185 in 2019. The investments in 2020 were led by $800 million raised by Byju’s followed by $700 million secured by Walmart’s PhonePe, and $660 million invested in Zomato across multiple rounds. The growth in startups from small towns has also been significant. According to the Economic Survey 2020, out of 27,084 startups recognised across 551 districts as of January 8, 2020, 45 per cent came from Tier-II and Tier-III cities.
“I had visited Varanasi a couple of years ago where I interacted with startups. Many of them were in rural, semi-rural areas which gave me the confidence that true talent lies in our villages and small towns,” said Goyal in his address. Currently, 44 per cent of DPIIT-recognised startups have at least one women director. So far, 296 startups have received tax benefits under the Startup India programme while 39 regulations including Angel Tax have been simplified, according to Startup India.