How Tiger Global and SoftBank powered Indian startups to turn unicorns this year

Tiger Global and SoftBank have emerged as unicorn makers of the season. Collectively, the two investment behemoths are the backers of 19 out of the 33 startups that have attained unicorn status in 2021 so far.

In terms of the number of deals, Tiger Global has invested in around 28 startups such as CRED, Vedantu, PharmEasy, BharatPe, Gupshup, ShareChat and others. Among them, 50% or 14 have turned unicorns whereas a couple of them are in the process of raising their new round at over $1 billion valuation — ‘soonicorns’ in startup parlance.  

According to Entrackr’s sources, used car retailer Spinny and social commerce platform DealShare are all set to mop up new rounds that will push their valuation to more than $1 billion. One more Tiger Global-backed company Mensa Brands may also attain unicorn status soon, as per a Moneycontrol report.

Unacademy, which saw participation from Tiger Global in its latest funding round in August, is already a unicorn.

Moving on to Japanese tech titan SoftBank, which has so far backed 12 Indian startups across segments in which five including Eruditus, OfBusiness, Zeta, Meesho and Mindtickle have become unicorns this year. It’s worth noting that Grofers, which turned unicorn in August, did not raise funds in its latest round from existing backer SoftBank. E-commerce roll-up company GlobalBees also raised money from SoftBank and according to a Mint report, it is eyeing a unicorn status.

Interestingly, business to business e-commerce platform OfBusiness [unicorn in 2021] and edtech company Unacademy [unicorn in 2020] are the only two companies on the list that have raised money from both: Tiger Global and SoftBank. Apart from the aforementioned companies, SoftBank also made investments in five companies that had entered the coveted club prior to 2021. The list includes Ola Electric, Cars24, Swiggy and Flipkart.

The fundraising spree also saw a huge spike in the valuation of these companies at a fast clip. Fintrackr has analysed the valuation jump of all startups funded by Tiger Global and SoftBank in 2021.

A significant number of startups in Tiger Global’s portfolio such as CRED, Apna, OfBusiness, CoinSwitch Kuber, Spinny, BharatPe, ShareChat and Infra.Market have managed to raise two rounds this year. Kunal Shah-led credit card payment app recorded an almost 2X jump in its valuation to $4.01 billion as compared to $2.2 billion in the last round in April. OfBusiness picked up its Series E round at a $1.6 billion valuation in July and Series F round at a $3 billion valuation in September.

Crypto asset platform CoinSwitch Kuber recorded an almost 4X jump in its valuation in a matter of six months followed by BharatPe which registered a 3X surge in its valuation in the same duration.

Importantly, Tiger Global has led funding rounds in 22 out of the 28 startups it invested in this year.

The chart below shows the surge in valuation of Tiger Global-backed startups in 2021.

As for the spike in valuations of startups backed by SoftBank this year, edtech company Eruditus recorded a 4X jump in its valuation as compared to its last round in September 2020. Social commerce platform Meesho, SaaS firm MindTickle and OfBusiness saw a two-fold jump in their valuation while modern banking tech company Zeta registered a five-fold rise in its valuation as compared to their last round. Notably, SoftBank has led or co-led funding rounds in all of these five companies that turned unicorns this year.

Ola Electric raised its latest round at a $3 billion valuation and as per media reports, it’s all set to mop up a new round at over $5 billion valuation. E-commerce roll-up company GlobalBees, used car retailer Cars24, foodtech major Swiggy, SaaS startup Whatfix, edtech company Unacademy and e-commerce major Flipkart also raised funds from SoftBank in 2021 and saw a significant jump in their valuation.

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