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Investment in Indian startups in H1 2023 lowest in last four years: PwC India

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Investments fell by 36 per cent in January-June to $3.8 billion, as investors are taking longer time in due diligence of every aspect of business

New Delhi: Funding in Indian startups fell by 36 per cent in January-June to $3.8 billion, the lowest half-yearly number in the last four years, as investors are taking longer time in due diligence of every aspect of business, according to a PwC India Report.

Early-stage deals accounted for 57 per cent of the total funding in the first half of 2023 (H1 CY23) in volume terms, said the report titled, “Startup Perspectives – H1 CY23”.

In value terms, early-stage deals contributed to approximately 16 per cent of the total funding in H1 CY23 but was at its lowest in H1 CY23 as compared to the previous two years.

“The Indian startup ecosystem reported the lowest six-month funding in the last four years in H1CY23 at $3.8 billion across 298 deals – a decline of nearly 36 per cent as compared to H2 CY22 ($5.9 billion). Fintech, SAAS and D2C continued to be the most funded sectors in H1 CY23,” it said.

During the last few quarters, despite challenging funding market conditions, investors have shown strong support for their portfolio companies by doubling down on their investments in companies that demonstrated positive growth, the report stated.

Commenting on the current investment outlook for Indian startups, Amit Nawka, Partner – Deals & India Startups Leader, PwC India, said, a funding winter is just a season in a startup’s journey.

“There is a slowdown in startup funding despite significant untapped capital reserves held by venture capitalists (VCs). Active VC firms in India have secured new funds in the past year and we can expect the pace of investments to pick up in the next few months.

“In the interim, there has been an increase in the due diligence being carried out by investors before making investments, both in terms of detailing as well as coverage – from typical finance and legal, to areas like technology, HR and business processes – to ensure that the startups have a robust corporate governance framework,” Nawka added.

The report further said that while venture capital (VC) funding declined in H1 CY23, M&A transactions remained the same when compared to H2 CY22.

Eighty M&A deals involving start-ups were executed in H1 CY23. Of these, 80 per cent were domestic transactions and the rest were cross-border transactions.

Similar to the VC funding activity, SaaS (23), FinTech (11) and e-commerce and D2C (10) continue to witness the highest number of M&A transactions during H1 CY23, the report said.

On sector-wise investment, it said SaaS, D2C, FinTech, e-commerce B2B and Logi and AutoTech continue to be the top five invested sectors based on the funding received in the first half of the year. These contribute to approximately 89 per cent of the total funding received in H1 CY23 in value terms.

According to the PwC India report, Bengaluru, NCR and Mumbai continue to be the key start-up cities in India, representing around 83 per cent of the total start-up funding activity in H1 CY23.

A decline in funding activity was noted across all cities in H1 CY23 barring Chennai, which witnessed higher funding in the SaaS space, the report said.

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