Indian start-ups mobilised as much as $8.1 billion venture capital (VC) funding between January and May, 93 per cent of what start-ups raised in the whole of calendar year 2020.

Indian start-ups stood next to their Chinese counterparts in terms of venture capital (VC) funding value among the Asia-Pacific (APAC) countries between January and May.

A total of 499 VC funding deals were announced in India during the period, and the total value of these deals stood at $8.1 billion, according to GlobalData, a data and analytics company.

Total deals

In 2020, a total of 1,128 VC funding deals were announced in India, and the total disclosed funding value of the capital raised through these deals stood at $8.7 billion. Some of the notable VC funding deals announced between January and May 2021 in India were $502 million raised by Mohalla Tech, $500 million funding in Zomato Media, $400 million raised by Dream11 Fantasy, $400 million raised by Dream Sports, and $343 million funding in Swiggy.

VC funding activity in India fluctuated during the first five months of 2021. May witnessed a decline in deal value after three months of consecutive month-on-month growth, while deal volume grew in February and March but declined in April and May, it said.

“The second wave of the pandemic has hurt the investor sentiments badly, and the caution in committing big-ticket investments still prevails. This is also evident from the fact that India did not see the announcement of any billion-dollar deal. Nevertheless, there were some $100 million-plus VC deal announcements, said Aurojyoti Bose, Lead Analyst at GlobalData.

However, VC investors continue to place bets on start-ups active in sectors such as technology, retail, financial services, and foodservice, among others, he said.

Are VC investors’ sentiments getting better with a significant drop in new infections in India? Bose said it would be too early to comment as market conditions still remain volatile.

However, start-ups active in areas such as edtech are witnessing enhanced relevance during these challenging times and are likely to gain significant investor traction.

A few weeks ago, Chennai- based engineering education start-up Skill-Lync launched three civil engineering courses to bridge the gap between theoretical learning and practical applications.

It will be charging ₹30,000 for a three-month programme, which will impart software skills needed for the emerging

India is minting start-up unicorns at a record pace in 2021. And many more could be on the way to the billion-dollar-mark before the year wraps up. So, the global funds are keeping an eye towards India, signalling a positive sentiment in India’s rapidly evolving start-up ecosystem,” said Devesh Rakhecha, an ex-investment banker and Founder and Director at Marwari Catalysts, a start-up accelerator based in Jodhpur, Rajasthan.