The wave of surging valuations for India’s technology startups is here to stay as the country offers a great opportunity in terms of growth, according to the founder of the Indian online payments pioneer that raised funds in the nation’s biggest initial public offering ever.
Indian startups are not overpriced and “many are underestimating what India’s opportunity will be,” Vijay Shekhar Sharma, founder and Chief Executive Officer of Paytm that raised $2.5 billion in an IPO this week. “If we go by anything that happened in the US, China, or other parts of the world, including Indonesia, India is an opportunity which will dwarf many other countries’ startup or technology ecosystems,” he said at the Bloomberg India Economic Forum, Thursday.
Lured by the opportunity, investors have poured in $7.6 billion into Indian fintech companies, nearly four-fold the amount their Chinese counterparts drew, according to researcher Tracxn. Digital startups in other sectors, including FSN E-Commerce Ventures Ltd., the entity that operates the Indian beauty startup Nykaa, and food delivery app Zomato Ltd., have also seen overwhelming demand for shares.
An open-network is luring hundreds into the fintech space in India including Alphabet Inc.’s Google, Walmart’s Phonepe and Amazon.com Inc. leading to a world-beating digital payments surge. Digital payments grew five-fold in the last five years and is estimated to touch $2.2 trillion by March 2023 while digital lending is seen trebling to $350 billion. Such out-sized growth of the Indian fintech industry risks regulatory censure.
Providing clarity on the regulations, helping easy exit for funds from start-ups, creating a local pool of capital from investors and avoiding retroactive taxation will open the flood gates of money further, said Vani Kola, the founder of early-stage venture capital firm Kalaari Capital at the event.
--With assistance from Saritha Rai.