India’s Ambassador to the US Taranjit Singh Sandhu said on Monday that India is now the third-largest startup ecosystem in the world and is home to 21 unicorns valued at $73.2 billion. He also expressed hope that more than  50 startups might join the unicorn club as early as 2022.

“Today India is the third-largest, startup ecosystem in the world and is home to 21 unicorns valued at $73.2 billion. By some estimates, more than 50 soonicorn’ startups might join the unicorn club as early as 2022,” he said. 

It is to be noted that a unicorn is a term to indicate a privately owned startup company valued at over $1 billion. Soonicorns are startup companies that have a good possibility of becoming ‘unicorns’, with the chance of acquiring late-stage investment.

He made these statements at the mentoring programme for Indian National Startup Awards 2020 finalists that was co-hosted by the Embassy of India, in partnership with the Department of Promotion of Industry and Internal Trade (DPIIT) and US-India Strategic Partnership Forum (USISPF) on Monday.

Sadhu said that Indian startups raised $9.3 billion until mid-December this year, adding that ‘rise of Indian IT companies, large talent pool, increased expendable income of Indian middle class and availability of capital have contributed to the growth of India’s startup ecosystem.’

“More recently increased usage of smartphones, access to the internet, and recent reforms to push digital finance have given further impetus. There has also been a significant push from the Government through initiatives like Startup India and Digital India,” PTI quoted him as saying.

The ambassador further said that three cities- Bengaluru, Mumbai, and NCR Delhi–have emerged as famous Global Startup hubs, and cities like  Pune, Hyderabad, Ahmedabad and Kolkata are counted amongst the emerging startup hubs.

Sandhu also said that Modi’s visit to the Silicon valley in 2016 has helped cement a entrepreneurial partnership with India, adding that  Indian programmers, engineers and entrepreneurs form a sizeable portion of US companies.

Many US-based venture firms have been investing in Indian talent and are amongst the largest players in the field, he added.

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