The share of start-ups run by women increased to 18% within 5 years

In India’s booming startup ecosystem, female founders have also turned their entrepreneurial journeys into successful enterprises. According to WISER’s Women’s in India’s Startup Ecosystem Report, the number of women-led startups in India has increased to 18% in the last five years.

In 2017, there were approximately 6,000 startups in India, of which 10% were run by women founders, and by 2022, this number increased to 80,000 and the share of startups led by women increased to 18%.

According to the report, 105 startups became unicorns in 2022 from 13 in 2017. In this case, the percentage of startups run by women increased from 8% to 17%, the report added. A unicorn is a startup worth over $1 billion operating in the venture capital industry.

The WISER report includes contributions from over 200 startups including Urban Company, Meesho, Zomato, etc.

Read also: How are women-led startups bridging the gender funding gap in India?

“Funding for women’s start-ups”

According to the report, VC funding for Indian startups was $5.9 billion in 2017, of which 11% went to women-led startups, and by 2022, VC funding increased to $21.9 billion. The corresponding share of funding for women-led startups increased to 20% by 2022.

“While the number of startups in India is growing at a tremendous pace (from 6,000 to 80,000 in the last five years), the growth in women-led startups, both in terms of numbers and funding, is outpacing the industry average. If we continue this trend, we can hope that the percentage of women-led startups will continue to grow over the next decade,” said Aakanksha Gulati, director of ACT.

Read also: Above 40,700 cr sanctioned under Stand-Up India Scheme in the last 7 years

“Gender neutrality in startups”

The report highlights the increase in the number of women responsible for start-ups compared to corporate companies. Startups are currently doing better than traditional businesses, with 32% of women in leadership positions compared to 21% in corporations. This gap widens even further at the CXO level, where only 5% of women are in leadership positions in corporations, compared to 18% in start-ups. Moreover, in start-ups whose founder is a woman, there are 2.5 times more women in managerial positions compared to start-ups founded by men. “However, while the overall numbers are promising, there is significant work ahead – after 10 years in their careers, 8 in 10 men in startups hold director positions or higher, compared to only 5 in 10 women,” the report noted.

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