The Indian startup ecosystem raised record funding during the three quarters of 2021, with the investment inflow in Q3 being the highest in seven years at $12.82 billion. However, despite the funding momentum, women-led startups garnered less than two percent of the overall funding despite several marquee studies pointing out women-led startups fare significantly better.
Even when a grand total of 42 startups entered the coveted unicorn club during 2021, only 10 percent of them were led by women — signalling that a lot still needs to be done to achieve gender equality in the startup ecosystem.
This is because women entrepreneurs face significantly higher challenges as compared to men. A dipstick survey conducted by HerStory revealed that most women entrepreneurs faced the most resistance when it came to convincing people that they were “serious” about their business.
“We are as serious about our businesses as male founders are, but it is nevertheless seen as a hobby for many. It is surprising that many think women wouldn’t be serious about something like a business,” says Kanchan Dwivedi, Founder of LoanGiri.
This results in poor investment inflow. Of the $49.23 billion raised between 2018 and 2021 YTD, startups with women as co-founders accounted for only 5.7 percent and solo women founders received only a measly 0.90 percent of that pie.
However, there is a silver lining. Falguni Nayar-led beauty and cosmetics retailer Nykaa — one of the few women-founded startups to touch unicorn status — got listed on the stock exchanges and made its founder the richest self-made billionaire woman.
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