The capital entering Indian unicorns will propel startups, create jobs, transform businesses and create impact for the country, said Nandan Nilekani, Non-executive Chairman of Infosys.
India has more than 70 unicorn societies, 40 of which have achieved the coveted status in the past 11 months, he noted at the Ascent eConclave 2021 conference on Friday. “Unicorns” refer to privately funded companies valued at over $ 1 billion.
The pace of change is accelerating for startups, he explained, due to incoming capital, regulatory changes in China that pushed global capital to India, investors who make quick investment decisions and great entrepreneurs in India who are able to sell their vision.
Nilekani said the COVID-19 pandemic and geopolitical issues between the United States and China have made India, a positive point in digital history. This rests on three pillars, he added.
First, a huge growth opportunity for technology companies operating from India due to the multi-cycle investment cycles of global digital companies.
âIndia has remote development centers of global technology companies and its own technology companies, which will bring employment opportunities in India’s IT sector to 9 million over the next few years,â Nilekani said.
Second, the rapid growth of startups: âMany startups like Nykaa and Zomato have successful IPOs (IPO), and there has been a rapid birth of unicorns, âhe added.
India’s third major driver will be its digital public goods that have been created over the past decade, said Nilekani, who was the founding chairman of the Single Identity Authority of India.
He quoted Aadhaar – and the National Payments Corporation of India Unified Payment Interface (UPI), which recorded 4.2 billion transactions and grossed Rs.771,445 crore in October 2021.
âFrom now on, the Account Aggregator network will allow individuals and businesses to be empowered by their own data,â he said. The first major use case will be democratized credit for borrowers to use their digital footprint and access credit, Nilekani added.
Small businesses can share the data of their purchases, sales and paid taxes with a lender in a secure way, for the lender to make an instant loan decision. There will be a recovery in the Indian economy thanks to the infrastructure of account aggregators, which currently records a few thousand transactions, he said.
âUnlike the old model where a few large companies got credit, with this model every small kirana the store, dispensary and manufacturing company will get credit, âhe said, referring to the impact of the account aggregator model.
Phone digital public infrastructure will be the foundation of India’s public and private sectors, Nilekani said.
Digital will now play a big role in ESG movement (environment, social and governance), even as investors around the world demand that companies be sustainable, he said.
Businesses of all sizes will be measured on how they use renewable energies, optimize resources and create a circular or restorative economy instead of finding ways to recycle, Nilekani said.