India startup funding dips sequentially to $12b in Q1 as investors turn a tad cautious

Fundraising fell consecutively for the second quarter as Indian startups pocketed $12 billion across 517 private equity (PE) and venture capital (VC) transactions in the first quarter of 2022 compared with $13.7 billion in Q4 2021, showed data from DealStreetAsia DATA VANTAGE‘s latest report, India Deal Review: Q1 2022.

This is a dip of about 12% in value over Q4 2021, but almost three times the funds raised in the corresponding period last year, thus hinting at positive market sentiments.

PE-VC fundraising in India in Q1 2022

Mega-deals — PE-VC transactions worth at least $100 million — led by the likes of BYJU’S and Swiggy accounted for over 60% of the total deal value during the Jan-Mar 2022. Edtech firm BYJU’S $800-million financing round marked the largest deal of the quarter, which was led by its founder and CEO Byju Raveendran, contributing half of the total amount.

There were 60 deals in the quarter with a funding size of at least $50 million. While they represent only around 13.5% of disclosed deals (443), these deals accounted for 75% of the capital raised in Q1.

Meanwhile, 14 startups made it to the unicorn club — privately-held startups that have a valuation of at least $1 billion — in Q1 2022. These include B2B e-commerce platform ElasticRun, online gaming platform Games24x7, SaaS startup Amagi Media Labs, home interiors platform Livspace and conversational automation platform Uniphore, among others.

Financial services emerge as the hottest sector

Financial services emerged as the most funded industry in Q1 with a total investment of $2.26 billion across 85 transactions. Top deals included Polygon ($450 million), Oxyzo Financial Services ($200 million), Pine Labs ($150 million), CredAvenue ($137 million) and Niyo ($100 million).

All figures in $ million; Source: DATA VANTAGE

The software industry moved up to occupy the second spot with a total of $2 billion in financing. Together the top three industries — financial services, software and logistics — accounted for 50% of the total deal value in the Jan-Mar quarter.

Among verticals, e-commerce startups continued to lead with a total of $2.63 billion in their kitty. In terms of volume, however, e-commerce transactions were down 29% to 87 in Q1 2022 as against 122 in Q4 2021. 

The funding momentum in early-stage deals continued in Q1 2022 but growth-stage funding was a tad lower compared with Q4 2021 as investors are taking longer to scrutinise investments. Startups in pre-Series A and Series A stages collectively scooped up $1.3 billion, which is almost double the amount raised in the Oct-Dec quarter. The top three deals — BYJU’S, Swiggy and Polygon — cumulatively raised $1.95 billion.

Bengaluru and Mumbai continued to be the top two destinations for venture investments. However, capital inflow into Bengaluru was marginally lower at $6 billion in Q1 compared with $6.3 billion in the previous quarter. The value of investments in Mumbai was also down almost 52% in the Jan-Mar quarter over Q4 2021.

“Overall investment activity in the ecosystem would continue because nothing in the last 3 months has altered the fundamental opportunity in India. Demonstrating profitability in a limited time-frame, sustaining operating margins with much lower capital to burn and continuing to grow will be the biggest challenges. There will be some respite on account of salaries because there will be some layoffs and overall cost bases will be moderated but it will still be a hard phase for companies to manage in the short term,” said Blume Ventures partner Ashish Fafadia.

“Companies with a strong business model and path to profitability will continue to attract attention at growth levels. On the early-stage side, unit economics will be the key challenge for startups,” Fafadia added.

The India Deal Review: Q1 2022 report covers fundraising by startups in the region in the first quarter, with extensive data on:

  • Top deals of Q1 2022
  • Top sectors in terms of fundraising
  • Most active investors in the quarter
  • Insights from prominent investors

The report is available exclusively to DealStreetAsia – Professional subscribers. Subscribe/upgrade your subscription now to access our entire set of reports. Still not sure? Opt for a one-month trial for only $208.


Bring stories like this into your inbox every day.

Sign up for our newsletter - The Daily Brief
Subscribe to Newsletter

This is your last free story for the month. Register to continue reading our content