Half a decade ago, I was the product owner of mobile (led both android and iOS as well as mobile growth) for a 200 million dollar start-up in India. There used to be talks of an upcoming IPO every other day on paper.
1 year later the 2015/16 fundraising drought happened. The company decided to focus on offline.
I left because I could not see a future for me. 6 months later the entire design and PM team got laid off along with around 80% of the engineering team. I went from dreaming about being part of the success story of a future unicorn to applying for a new job in a very tough job market. In 2021 no one even probably remembers the name of that startup despite it being a media darling once upon a time.
What I am getting at is that valuation is a leading metric pumped by investor enthusiasm. And there are boom and bust cycles that are a function of interest rates.
I love that this enthusiasm will lead to more people starting up. People taking risks. Getting liquidity. Our Indian startup ecosystem is also much more matured now. So many amazing startups, founders, and early employees building world-class products.
But it is too early to celebrate Unicorn face valuations.
Stock market and even private market valuations do not reflect the economic reality of India. With stagnating growth, record-high covid cases, there is a long way to go for startups to justify their valuation. For now, I am happy that people will get some liquidity. More options for employees too. Salaries are at an all-time high. And I can definitely understand the optimism.
Let’s just hope this time it ends well.