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Under 15% of funded startups in 2021 led by women: Report

Meanwhile, startups founded solely by women in India raised $116.6 million, or a mere 0.25 percent of total funding bagged by private companies in 2021.

April 29, 2022 / 01:32 PM IST
Gender funding gap in India has slightly  narrowed over the years, but it still  exists, according to the female founders.

Gender funding gap in India has slightly narrowed over the years, but it still exists, according to the female founders.

Startups founded or co-founded by women in India bagged $6.7 billion in funding, amounting to 14.6 percent only of all the private capital raised by them in 2021, according to a report. However, Byju’s, with Divya Gokulnath as a co-founder, alone raised $2.5 billion in equity and debt financing, skewing the data.

Excluding the edtech major, the total funding raised by startups with at least one female founder stands lower at $4.2 billion. This amount is around nine percent of all funding raised in 2021, finds DealStreetAsia’s inaugural report on the gender funding gap in India.

Notably, out of a total 1,634 deals in 2021, those involving at least one female co-founder were only 329. The number of deals with only female founders was 47 and those with more than one female co-founder were only 28.

Meanwhile, startups founded solely by women in India raised $116.6 million, or a mere 0.25 percent of total funding bagged by private companies in 2021.

In comparison, companies founded solely by women in the United States received 2 percent of all capital secured by VC-backed startups last year, according to PitchBook and in Southeast Asia, such companies accounted for 0.62 percent of all private funding in 2021, according to a previously released DealStreetAsia report.

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Of the capital raised by female-led startups in India, Bengaluru accounted for the largest share. This success can also be owed to the presence of Byju’s in the city.

Following Bengaluru is Gurugram with unicorns like OfBusiness, Pristyn Care, Mamaearth, and MobiKwik with $1.23 billion in total funding. Next in line were Mumbai, Delhi, and Hyderabad.

Importantly, OfBusiness' financial services arm, Oxyco Financial Services also raised $200 million in Series A at a valuation of $1 billion, making it the largest ever fundraise in the first round by an Indian startup. The unicorn is led by OfBusiness's founders, Ruchi Kalra and her husband, Asish Mohapatra.

Also Read | Startups and Unicorns: We have met the enemy and they are us

In terms of deal count, while Bengaluru maintained its winning status with 96 deals in 2021, Mumbai beat Gurugram to become a close second with 73 deals over the year.

Among different verticals, edtech deals ($2.6 billion), led by Byju's $2.5 billion funding round, accounted for the lion’s share of funding in 2021 that went to female-founded or co-founded companies.

It was followed by e-commerce startups, which raised $1.27 billion, and fintech companies raising $1.05 billion in total proceeds during the year. However, e-commerce topped the charts with a total of 108 deals, followed by edtech and fintech with 42 and 35 deals respectively.

Due to decreasing participation of women in the labour force especially in the wake of the pandemic, and systemic hurdles, the gender funding gap in India exists, but has narrowed to some extent over the years, according to the female founders.



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