Indian startups raised $732 Mn in January amid layoffs, shutdowns and top level exits


The first month of the year saw the Indian startups continuing to grapple with the so-called funding winter with a steep decline in month-on-month funding inflow. Now well over a year old, January saw mass layoffs, a couple of companies shutting down, and a bunch of top-level exits kept the ecosystem on edge. In all this, Bhavish Aggarwal-led AI startup Krutrim stood out by becoming a unicorn in a record time.


Indian startups scooped up $732.7 million across 107 deals in January, as per data compiled by TheKredible. This includes 21 growth-stage deals worth $418.3 million and 70 early-stage deals amounting to $314.4 million. There were 16 undisclosed rounds.

[Month-on-Month and Year-on-Year trend]

As mentioned above, January saw a sharp drop from $1.7 billion in the last month of 2023. It was also the lowest funding amount in terms of year-on-year data of January for the past three years. Notably, not a single startup reached the three-digit million dollars funding mark in January. The M-o-M and Y-o-Y trends can be seen below.


[Top growth stage deals]

Fintech company Vivifi was the top funded startup in January with $75 million. AiDash, WoW! Momo, Impact Analytics and BluSmart were among the top five funded companies last month.


Three  growth-stage companies – OneCard, Infra.Market, and Yulu – raised debt funding.

[Top early stage deals]

Bhavish Aggarwal-led Krutrim SI Designs announced $50 million funding, also becoming the fastest unicorn from the Indian startup ecosystem. International Battery Finance, and three fintech startups – StockGro, FinAGG and Ecofy – were in the top five list. StockGro raised the highest debt last month.


 For more information, visit TheKredible.

[Stage wise deals]

Series-wise, January witnessed as many as 35 seed funding deals followed by Series A (19), pre-Series A (15) and pre-seed (12) deals. In the growth-stage, Series C and Series B saw eight deals each while there were also five debt funding rounds.


In terms of city wise deals, Bengaluru remained on top with 37 deals worth around $317.13 million or close to 43% of the total funding raised during January. Delhi-NCR-based startups were the next with 24 deals amounting to $107.91 million. Mumbai saw 17 deals followed by Hyderabad, Chennai, Pune and Thane among others.

This month fintech startups dominated in terms of segment wise number of deals with 20 deals. This was followed by e-commerce (18), healthtech (11), and SaaS (7). Agritech, EV, edtech, AI, foodtech, manufacturing startups also made it to the top 10.

The complete breakdown of the city and segment can be found at TheKredible.

[Mergers and acquisitions]

January also saw nine mergers and acquisitions deals. Some of the notable deals include acquisition of automotive semiconductor design firm, InSemi by Infosys, BNPL startup ZestMoney by DMI Group, edtech firm Tapasya Educational Institutions by Veranda, event hosting company Comic Con India by Nodwin Gaming and cab services platform Savaari Car Rentals by MakeMyTrip.

Layoffs, Shutdowns and top level exits

Layoffs continued to stalk startups as we saw more than 600 layoffs across three startups. Foodtech company Swiggy was on top with 350 people getting fired followed by and InMobi. E-commerce marketplace Flipkart was also in the news for firing more than 1,000 employees, however, the official confirmation is yet to come. 

Besides layoffs, Indian startups also saw exits of a few top-level employees. Udaan alone saw two exits including CFO Aditya Pande and FMCG business head Vinay Shrivastava. PhonePe-owned Indus Appstore and KnowledgeHut saw exits of their CEOs while DealShare and Fashinza saw exits of their co-founders. The full list can be seen here.


Besides layoffs, Rario and ByteDance’s Resso are shutting down their operations. Rario also said that it will come with a new product by March this year.

Visit TheKredible to see series wise deals and amount breakup, fund launches, departures, new launches and more insights.

Entrackr’s take

The seeming dichotomy of booming stock markets and slumping funding for startups has continued for well over a year now. What this has also meant is that dry powder with investors is ready to be put to use, as they look  for a clear shift in direction. 2023 will probably be remembered for the steep slump among  Edtechs and even Gaming firms. The saga of the biggest, Byju’s continues to unfold as we write this with over 90% markdown on its $22 billion peak valuation.  Keep in mind that these categories were the engine powering funding deals as recently as 2022, indicating just how quickly the tide can turn. It is the same forces that are likely to move the markets to a growth path, as newer categories like Clean  Energy, Fintech and of course Ai make their mark at some stage.

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