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Indian startup funding hit 2-year low in July-Sep at $2.7 billion: PwC

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  • Only two startups in India achieved unicorn status in the April-June quarter, reflecting a global trend in declining numbers of new unicorns.
  • Experts find it difficult to stick a date on recovery in start-up financing as investors have become cautious amid erratic market conditions.
  • According to a recent report from Traxcn, tech startups are experiencing a funding winter expected to last 12-18 months.

In the July-September quarter, seed funding hit a two-year low at $2.7 billion across 205 deals, according to the PwC India report.

Moreover, only two startups in India achieved unicorn status in the same quarter. This reflects a global trend that also saw the number of new unicorns drop in the past quarter.

“It’s hard to predict how long the funding slowdown will last, but it’s clear that both founders and investors are being more selective and cautious in making deals,” said Amit Nawka, partner deals & India startups leader at PwC India .

Nawka believes that early-stage startups have an easier time raising capital as they tend to be isolated from public market fluctuations compared to late-stage deals.

“However, investors have already raised a lot of capital that needs to be deployed and this will eventually find its way into the Indian startup ecosystem,” he added.

The report says 38 merger and acquisition (M&A) deals with startups were executed in the September quarter of 2022. Of these, 30 were domestic, five inbound and three outbound deals.

SaaS and edtech witnessed the highest number of mergers and acquisitions in Q3 CY22, with nine and seven deals, respectively. Edtech firm upGrad was the largest acquirer in the quarter with four acquisitions: Wolves India, Harappa Education, Exampur and Centum Learning.

‘Checks will be on the low side’
According to a report from Traxcn, tech startups in India have experienced a financing winter that is expected to last for the next 12-18 months.

“Startups are currently experiencing a funding slowdown that is likely to continue for the next one to one and a half years. In fact, companies anticipate a recession and prepare to cut costs. In this context, only companies with strong fundamentals can continue to receive checks from investors, albeit at the low end,” said Mohamad Faraz, founder of Upsparks, a venture capital startup.

According to Faraz, the companies that will survive the financing winter are those that maintain leaner and smaller budgets, cut flab, expand their runways and bootstrap until conditions improve for outside financing.

Many startups, including MobiKwik, OYO Rooms, Byju’s, boAt, Snapdeal, Dream, Pine Labs and PharmEasy, have postponed their plans to go public due to volatile market conditions, which could lead to poor investor demand.

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