New Delhi, January 8: Tech startups in India have witnessed a steady growth in 2020 with over 1,600 tech start-ups and a record number of 12 additional unicorns added in a single year. i.e. in 2020. This is the highest ever in a single calendar year. The tech start-up base in the country witnessed a steady growth at a scale of 8-10 per cent (year-on-year), Nasscom said. According to the annual report by Nasscom in partnership with a global management and strategy consulting firm Zinnov, nearly 14 percent of total investments in 2020 were in deep-tech start-ups, up from 11 per cent in 2019. The report said that further, 87 percent of all deep-tech investments were in AI/ML start-ups and seed-stage funding in 2020 recovered to more than 90 percent of 2019 levels.

Debjani Ghosh, President, Nasscom said with the continued addition of new start-ups, booming unicorns and increased adoption of deep-tech, the ecosystem shows an even more promising future. The report informed that despite a lower number of total start-up deals in 2020, seed-stage investments are recovering at a good pace as investor activity at lower ticket sizes has increased.  "Early and Late-stage investments are also recovering steadily. An increase in median deal size is further underscoring investor confidence and a willingness to take big bets," the report added.

The Nasscom annual report further added saying that the sectors with COVID-19 tailwinds such as EdTech, BFSI, AgriTech, Gaming, etc., are witnessing a steady increase in first time funding, up from 29 percent in 2019 to 42 percent in 2020, garnering a 14 percent growth in absolute numbers. It added that the investor sentiment is also recovering with the second half of 2020 funding up by two times over the first half. "2021 will be the ‘Decade of Collaboration' where entrepreneurs engaging more with not just their peers but also with the government, corporates, and the manufacturing ecosystem, will catapult India's dreams of becoming a trillion-dollar economy," said Pari Natarajan, CEO, Zinnov.

The report said 2021 promises a return to normalcy for the Indian tech start-up ecosystem. In terms of total unicorns, India is on track to have a 50-plus strong Unicorn club in 2021. Remote working continues to see significant adoption amongst tech start-ups, with around 30-35 percent offering remote roles and 15-20 percent companies having committed to remote work culture, as per NASSCOM tech start-up survey. "Deep-tech and new start-up hubs will continue to grow at 40-45 percent CAGR. While the investments in 2020 were significantly lower than in 2019, recovery in deal pace and investments is expected to return to 2019 levels, if not exceed in 2021," the report noted.