India internet space is red hot and has seen a flurry of big fundraisers. Funding is plentiful and is looking solid, not just in one or two segments, but across the board. CNBC-TV18’s Prashant Nair is looking at funding rounds and what is the amount of funding that these companies are continuing to raise and how they are doing.
Indian internet space is red hot and has seen a flurry of big fundraisers in the past few months riding on the wave of regulatory crackdowns in China and rising digital adoption due to coronavirus outbreaks. In August alone, the companies raised over $3 billion from venture capital funds and private equity investors.
In July, internet-based startups had raised over $9 billion. And while this may make August fundraise seem smaller, there is one fact you should consider. In July, both Flipkart and Swiggy underwent giant funding round, both of the companies add $5 billion to the total.
Compare this with August 2020 and the funding is up 10 times. Till August 2020, internet companies had raised over $9 billion. But till August 2021, these firms have raised over $24 billion.
In terms of the number of deals, some 88 deals were closed in August and 102 in July 2021. But compared with 2020, the number was 17 in August.
So far this year, the country has seen 25 new unicorns -- startups valued at over $1 billion -- and has raised over $24 billion in 583 deals. In comparison, India got 12 unicorns last year with over $10 billion invested in these companies.
Largest deals in August
Education tech or edtech is a big thrust area in the space as three out of the nine largest deals in August were in this space. Eruditus, Unacademy, upGrad have raised over a billion dollars -- nearly one-third of the total funds raised in August.
Fintech companies, BharatPe and PhonePe raised nearly $730 million combined. These five deals from fintech and edtech spaces made over 50 percent of the total amount of funds raised in August.
Driving the numbers
This funding boom is a culmination of several factors. The factors include low interest in the US (leading to higher investments in emerging markets like India), expanding online consumer base in India, new-age startups listing on stock exchanges, and recent China's crackdown on tech startups.
Emerging markets, including India, have seen fund inflows redirected from China after its regulatory crackdown on internet companies, veteran investor Mark Mobius said.
While Mobius believes the crackdown is temporary, the unpredictability of these regulatory measures makes China unappealing to foreign investors in the short term. So private equity (PE) and venture capital (VC) funds are pivoting away from the country.
India has a massive user base for online services, and while this trend was so far restricted to urban areas, it is now changing. Cheap mobile data and pandemic has forced consumers to go digital. And while this digital adoption is at its peak, even listed internet companies have seen a difference
A number of internet-based tech businesses in India are expected to enter Nifty50, India's benchmark equity index. Investors expect the weightage of the new-age tech businesses to go up, making them a favourable choice of investment.
Speaking of the listed internet companies, in China, the weightage of internet companies of the overall market cap is 45 percent. In the US, it is 25-30 percent, but in India, it is 10 percent. Experts believe this is a big opportunity to correct the gap.
Watch the accompanying video of CNBC-TV18’s Prashant Nair for more details.