Indians have founded more offshore unicorns than any other country, co-founding 109 unicorns outside of India compared with 67 in India, according to the Global Unicorn Index 2024, a ranking of the world's start-ups founded in the 2000s.

Unicorns are basically start ups worth at least a billion dollars and not yet listed on a public exchange.

According to the report by the Hurun Research Institute, India was placed third globally with 67 unicorns, led by on-demand delivery start-up Swiggy and fantasy sports platform Dream11 worth ₹8 billion each, and Razorpay worth ₹7.5 billion.

“One factor is that Indian founders produced more offshore unicorns than any other country, co-founding 109 unicorns outside of India compared with just 67 in India,” the report said.

Of the unicorns founded outside of India, significantly all were in the US (95), led by the Bay Area, with four in the UK, three in Singapore, and two in Germany, the Index said. The most active city for unicorns outside of the US and China was London, followed by Bengaluru, Paris and Berlin.

According to the report, the world’s most successful unicorn investors, led by Tiger Global, Softbank and HongShan, highlighted the symbiotic relationship between startups and strategic investment. On investments in startups, it said the year 2024 has seen a slowdown in new unicorn investments, especially compared with the heyday of 2021 as investor exits prove harder to come by.

The record-breaking stock markets in the US, India and the UK have not delivered significant unicorn IPOs, the report said.

“I hope this list of the world’s unicorns can inspire individuals to drive value creation in new sectors and for countries and cities to recognise the importance of unicorns to their future economy,” it said.

”Yes, some will fail, and when they do it is normally to massive media attention, such as India education platform BYJU, but on the whole unicorns are seen as inherently vital to the new economy,” the report said.

The world’s unicorns come from 53 countries, up from 48 last year, spread around 291 cities, up from 271. The US led with 703 unicorns, followed by China with 340. Hurun found 1,453 unicorns across the world, a new world record and up 7 per cent or 92 unicorns.