The next phase of unicorn growth in India could contribute $1 trillion to the economy, pushing it to $7 trillion by 2030, a Confederation of Indian Industry (CII) report said on Thursday.

This could add 50 million new jobs to the economy, said the report titled ‘Unicorn 2.0: Adding the Next Trillion’. 

The report, prepared with McKinsey & Company as the knowledge partner, was released at the CII Unicorn Summit in the capital.

Fuelling growth

Ramdoss Seetharaman, Senior Partner, McKinsey & Company, said that “Over the next decade, Unicorn 2.0 is poised to unleash its full potential, adding $1 trillion to the Indian economy, fueling 15-20 per cent GDP growth, and paving the way for the creation of over 50 million jobs. There will be several global category leaders, with start-ups as the hub for a tech-savvy leadership factory. These leading institutions of tomorrow are going to be integral to making India’s ‘techade’ a reality.”India’s 100-plus unicorns and about 100,000 start-ups have contributed a significant 10 to 15 per cent to GDP growth between 2016 and 2023, according to the CII report.

The first unicorn was seen in India in 2011, and after a decade, India has crossed the mark of 100 unicorns. The combined valuation of 113 unicorns is $350 billion as of January 2024.

Also read: Bengaluru start-ups raise 53% of total funding in Feb: Report

R Dinesh, President, CII, said that the start-up ecosystem is a vibrant tapestry woven with threads of innovation, resilience, and transformative ideas. 

VC funding

The ecosystem has also witnessed a staggering influx of $140 billion in venture capital funding between 2014 and 2023, underscoring investors’ confidence in India’s entrepreneurial landscape.

The current ecosystem has generated over 12-13 million new jobs, including over 900,000 direct organised positions, more than 3.5 million workers in the gig economy, and about 7-9 million indirect jobs. About 35 per cent of the workforce in Indian start-ups are women. 

Chandrajit Banerjee, Director General, CII, said, “Start-ups and their corporate counterparts contribute significantly to India’s economy, injecting an impressive $ 140 billion in FY23. Projections suggest this could rise to $1 trillion by 2030. The impact of startups goes beyond balance sheets. Socially, these enterprises can be architects of change. Initiatives aimed at societal betterment in India, from education and healthcare to sustainability, underscore the commitment of startups to positively impact communities.”

This study, which has input from many start-up founders, sheds light on the transformative role played by India’s unicorn and start-up ecosystem in driving economic growth, fostering job creation, and democratising consumption. 

It captures the narrative of economic progress and also highlights the profound societal transformation catalyzed by start-ups across various sectors.

Abhiraj Singh Bahl, CII Chair, Unicorn Forum, and Co-Founder, Urban Company, said, “In the ever-evolving landscape of entrepreneurship, startups play a pivotal role in driving innovation, creating jobs, and fuelling economic growth. From access to capital and strategic mentorship to fostering an ecosystem that nurtures talent and encourages disruptive thinking, the factors influencing startups’ sustained growth are multifaceted.”

Rahul Garg, CII Co-Chair, Unicorn Forum, and Founder and CEO, Moglix, said, “The start-up landscape is poised for a transformative journey towards the future. Looking towards 2030, we see the potential for India’s startups and unicorns to bring together ingenuity, resilience and collaboration to reimagine the future. They could redefine industries, use cutting-edge technologies and address challenges.”