Women-led startups rise to 18% in past five years: Report

In India's booming startup ecosystem, female founders have also turned their entrepreneurship journeys into successful businesses. According to a report by WISER's Women's in India's Startup Ecosystem Report, women-led startups have risen to 18% in India in the past five years.
November 02, 2023 | 08:00
Women-led startups rise to 18% in past five years: Report

India had roughly 6,000 startups 2017 of which 10% were led by female founders, and by 2022, it increased to 80,000 and the share of women-led startups risen to 18%.

As per the report,105 startups became unicorns in 2022 from 13 in 2017. Out of this, women-led startups unicorns increased from 8% to 17%, the report added. A unicorn is a startup company with a value of over $1 billion in the venture capital industry.

'Funding to women startups'

According to the report, VCs fundings for Indian startups were $5.9 billion in 2017, of which the fundings shared to women-led startup was 11% and by 2022, the VCs fundings rose to $21.9 billion. The corresponding share of funding to women-led startup rose to 20% by 2022.

"Even as the number of startups in India is growing at a tremendous rate (from 6000 to 80,000 over the last five years), the growth in women-led startups, both in numbers and funding, is outpacing the industry average. If this trend continues, we can hope to see the percentage of women-led startups continuing to rise over the next decade," Aakanksha Gulati, Director - ACT said.

'Gender neutrality in startups'

The report underscored the rise of women in charge of startups in contrast to corporate firms. Startups are currently faring better than traditional enterprises, with 32% of women in managerial positions as against 21% in corporates. This gap widens further at the CXO level where corporates have only 5% of women in leadership positions against 18% in startups. Additionally, startups with a woman founder have 2.5x women in senior roles compared to male-founded startups. "However, while the overall figures are promising, significant work lies ahead - 10 years into their careers, 8 out of 10 men in startups occupy Director-level positions or higher, compared to only 5 in 10 women," the report noted.

Tarah Nguyen
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