In the heart of India’s bustling business terrain, where innovation, ambition, and grit converge, the ET Soonicorns Summit 2023, an Economic Times event held recently in Delhi-NCR, celebrated an essential leg of India’s dynamic startup ecosystem, one that showcases companies on the precipice of becoming the next billion-dollar giants in the nation. India’s prowess in the startup arena is undeniable, having emerged as the third-largest startup ecosystem globally, boasting over 112,718 DPIIT-recognized startups spread across 763 districts as of October 3, 2023. The growth trajectory of India’s startup landscape from 2015 to 2022 is nothing short of awe-inspiring, marked by a 15-fold surge in total funding, a nine-fold increase in the number of investors, and a seven-fold uptick in the number of incubators.

A significant highlight of this thriving ecosystem is the rise of Indian Unicorns, startups that have not only introduced innovative solutions and technologies but have also contributed substantially to employment generation. As of October 3, 2023, India boasts a remarkable tally of 111 unicorns, commanding a collective valuation of $349.67 billion. Of these, 45 unicorns with a total valuation of $102.30 billion were born in 2021, followed by 22 unicorns worth $29.20 billion in 2022. The year 2023, marked by Zepto’s emergence, promises to write another chapter in this extraordinary success story.

Against the backdrop of this thriving startup ecosystem, the Delhi-NCR edition of the ET Soonicorns Summit 2023, which took place on November 3, 2023, acted as a nexus for visionary leaders, entrepreneurs, investors, and key stakeholders, all united by a shared mission of supercharging India’s next techade.

Satyan Gajwani, Vice Chairman, Times Internet Limited during his opening address at the Delhi-NCR edition of the ET Soonicorn Summit 2023, succinctly captured the essence of the Summit underscoring the significance of these companies on the brink of exponential expansion. He affirmed, “The Soonicorn Summit is about recognising an important leg of our startup ecosystem. This is about the companies that have proven that they should exist, establish some scale, but are on the cusp of being the next billion dollar companies of our country. With the emergent success of the startups that we see today in India, I’m sure that these companies are going to become a major force in our overall economic growth and platform for job creation in the country. This year’s theme is very timely and relevant. We’re focusing on three words; resilience, reset, and results.”

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He further highlighted that “the last one to two years have demonstrated a funding winter, and a period of challenge for a number of high growth companies. The past years of easy access to capital and fast growth at all costs have changed. And companies today have to mature and demonstrate their ability to be strong, resilient, independent enterprises.”

The ET Soonicorns Summit 2023 also featured eminent thought leaders such as Jeet Vijay, CEO, MEITY Startup Hub and Geetika Dayal, Executive Director, TiE Delhi-NCR who shared insights on enabling Indian startups to become the engine for global economic growth, exploring the deeptech startup opportunity and enabling the rise of future unicorns from sunrise sectors as the Keynote speakers.

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Jeet Vijay, CEO of MEITY Startup Hub, emphasized the importance of collaboration between public and private sectors to enhance the startup ecosystem. He highlighted that India’s economic growth has been significant, aiming to become the third-largest economy globally. He discussed the ‘reset’ in Indian startups, which saw many becoming unicorns in 2020-2022 due to the pandemic’s role in showcasing the power of digital technologies, shifting the startup focus from value creation to valuation. This transformation led to a renewed emphasis on margins, maximising customer returns, and unit economics.

Subsequently, Geetika Dayal, Executive Director of TIE Delhi-NCR, echoed Vijay’s sentiments. She underscored the event’s celebration of entrepreneurship and resilience and the importance of gaining insights into government initiatives. Dayal encouraged deep tech startup founders to explore untapped opportunities, especially in sectors like space exploration, following India’s successful Chandrayaan-3 moon landing.

ET 30 Future Unicorns Of Delhi-NCR Report Launch
The summit saw the release of the highly anticipated ‘ET 30 Future Unicorns of Delhi-NCR’ report. The launch of this report marks a significant milestone in India’s startup odyssey, bringing into focus the pioneering and ambitious enterprises poised to ascend as the next unicorns, propelling India’s technological and economic advancement. It serves as a testament to the entrepreneurial and innovative spirit that characterises the Delhi-NCR region, accentuating its capacity to mould the future of the Indian startup landscape. This report is set to illuminate and showcase key industries, sectors, and startups with the potential to thrive in the Delhi-NCR region.

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Soonicorns Spotlight: Showcasing future unicorns of Delhi-NCR
The focal point of the summit lay in its ability to illuminate the nascent but promising sectors that are on the cusp of defining India’s technological evolution. A standout feature was the ‘Soonicorns Spotlight’ track, which featured presentations from numerous soonicorns operating in the domains of spacetech, robotics, cleantech, EV, fintech, and more.

The Summit featured a distinguished lineup of startups founders including Satish Shukla, Co-founder, Addverb; Aakash Sinha, Prof of Practice Shiv Nadar University, and Founder and CEO, Omnipresent Robot Tech; Anmol Jaggi , Co-founder & CEO, BluSmart; Pranesh Chaudhary, CEO & Founder, Zunpulse; Darryl Dias, Co-Founder & Director, Magenta Mobility; Vinod Kumar Singh, Chief Executive Officer & Founder, Finhaat and Sanjay Sharma, Co-Founder & MD, Aye Finance who provided a glimpse into their company’s audacious vision to revolutionise their industry while showcasing their innovative products and solutions aimed at redefining the sector they are in.

Their presentations covered a diverse array of topics, including the future of logistics and supply chain, technology for Chandrayaan rover navigation and its applications in solving the challenges within the aerospace domain, clean and smart electricity, technology’s role in electric vehicles, reimagining financial services for emerging India, and transforming micro-enterprise lending in the country.

ET Soonicorns Summit 2023: Diverse tracks and trailblazing sessions
The ET Soonicorns Summit 2023 delved into a multitude of thematic tracks, offering a profound examination of India’s thriving startup landscape. The Startup IPO and Profitability track featured visionary entrepreneurs, including Kunal Bahl and Rohit Bansal, Co-founders of Titan Capital & Snapdeal, along with Upasana Taku, Co-founder of MobiKwik, and Bipin Preet Singh, Founder & CEO of MobiKwik who provided invaluable insights into the exploration of profitability and avenues for initial public offerings (IPOs).

Diving into specialised domains, the summit ventured into the realms of fintech and D2C. While the fintech track delved on unlocking the $2.1 trillion fintech opportunity for Digital India with founders from top startups such as ProgCap, CashKaro and EarnKaro, Stashfin, KredX and Balancehero India, the D2C track focused on uncovering the omnichannel business model for D2C Startups to win and achieve global scale. The D2C track featured founders and co-founders from startups such as Shopclues, Fashinza, PeerCapital, ZappFresh and Shiprocket.

The road to IPO track saw Priyanka Gill, Group Co-founder, Good Glamm Group elaborate on how content and commerce at scale will power India’s first global beauty company and also explored the road to startup IPOs by tracking financial and tech preparedness with experts from Lightspeed India, Merisis Advisors, RedSeer Consulting, Inflection Point Ventures, NoBroker and Celesta Capital. As part of the Supercharging India’s Techade track, Prashant Tandon, Co-founder & CEO, 1MG shared insights on a strategic investor’s role in scaling a startup.

In addition, the summit focused on other key themes, including Trade India’s Digital Transformation Journey in collaboration with Persistent and Google Cloud, along with topics such as scaling location-based services by leveraging Google Maps for seamless growth, strategies for organisations to accelerate their digital transformation, and empowering small enterprises through the myBiz Approach to business efficiency. Lastly, Abhiraj Singh Bhal, Co-Founder , Urban Company underscored the importance of maintaining growth momentum even in the midst of a startup reset.

To conclude, the ET Soonicorns Summit 2023 provided a tantalising glimpse into the forthcoming landscape where resilience, growth, and innovation seamlessly converge. With impactful keynotes, enlightening panel discussions, and engaging conversations, the summit laid the foundation for Indian startups to navigate challenges and emerge even more robust. As the tech-startup ecosystem adapts to evolving challenges and embraces newfound opportunities, the summit serves as a guiding beacon, charting the path towards a vibrant entrepreneurial future.

The ET Soonicorns Summit is more than just an event; it’s a testament to India’s unwavering commitment to nurturing innovative enterprises that will shape the future of the country’s economy. Stay tuned as we dive deeper into the summit’s insights, revelations, and the promising startups poised to be the next billion-dollar beacons in India’s bustling startup landscape.

The ET Soonicorns Summit 2023 was co-presented by Persistent – Google Cloud and had myBiz by Makemytrip as the Scaleup Enabler; Persistent – Google Maps as the Associate Partner; SAP India as the Technology Partner; Balancehero India as the Associate Partner; Tracxn as the Research Partner and Kimirica, Deciwood, Boat, Sleepy Owl, Beyond Snack and Jaggic as Gifting Partners.

Watch the full ET Soonicorns Summit 2023 here

To know more about the ET Soonicorns Summit, visit the website.

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