India’s thriving startup ecosystem has witnessed remarkable growth in female entrepreneurship. According to the Women in India’s Startup Ecosystem Report (WISER), the presence of women-led startups in India has surged to 18% over the past five years. In 2017, India was home to approximately 6,000 startups, with just 10% of them being led by female founders. Fast forward to 2022, and the number of startups has increased to around 80,000, with women-led startups accounting for 18% of this total.
The report also highlights the impressive rise of unicorn startups in India. In 2017, there were 13 unicorn startups, and in 2022, this number soared to 105. Among these unicorns, women-led startups also saw substantial growth, increasing from 8% to 17% of the total.
A unicorn is a startup with a valuation exceeding $1 billion, a significant milestone in the venture capital industry. The report compiled data from over 200 startups, including well-known companies like Urban Company and Zomato.
In terms of funding, venture capital (VC) investments in Indian startups reached $5.9 billion in 2017. Of this, only 11% was allocated to women-led startups. By 2022, VC investments surged to $21.9 billion, with funding for women-led startups increasing to 20%.
Aakanksha Gulati, Director of ACT, expressed optimism about the upward trend in women-led startups, suggesting that if this momentum continues, the percentage of women-led startups could continue to rise over the next decade.
The report also emphasized the growing representation of women in startup leadership positions compared to traditional corporate roles. Startups outperformed corporations, with 32% of women in managerial roles in startups, compared to 21% in traditional corporate firms. This disparity widens at the CXO level, where startups have 18% of women in leadership positions, while corporate firms lag with just 5%. Startups founded by women also exhibit higher gender diversity in senior roles, with 2.5 times more women than male-founded startups.
However, the report also noted that despite these encouraging numbers, there is still substantial work to be done. After a decade in their careers, eight out of ten men in startups hold director-level positions or higher, while only five in ten women achieve the same positions.
Repurposed from the article originally published in livemint.com