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More Women Leaders At The Helm Of Startups Than At Big Businesses

In India’s thriving startup landscape, the number of women leading startups has significantly increased. According to the Women in India’s Startup Ecosystem Report (WISER), women-led startups have grown to 18% in India over the past five years.

What Happened: In 2017, India had around 6,000 startups, with 10% of them being led by female founders, the report stated. By 2022, the total number of startups in India had surged to 80,000, with women now heading 18% of these startups.

The report emphasised the progress of women in leadership positions within startups, contrasting this with traditional corporate firms. In the startup sector, 32% of women hold managerial roles, while only 21% do so in corporations. This gap widens further at the CXO level, where startups have 18% of women in leadership positions compared to just 5% in corporate companies.

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Notably, startups founded by women have 2.5 times more women in senior roles compared to those founded by men, the report found.

More Women Power: The report also highlighted the rise of unicorn startups in India, with 105 becoming unicorns in 2022, compared to only 13 in 2017. Within this growth, women-led unicorn startups saw their share increase from 8% to 17%.

Venture capital (VC) funding for Indian startups has also shown a positive trend. In 2017, total VC funding was $5.9 billion (₹49,120 crore), with women-led startups receiving 11% of the funding. By 2022, VC funding had surged to $21.9 billion (₹1.82 lakh crore), and women-led startups received 20% of the total funding.

While these statistics are promising, the report also pointed out the need for ongoing efforts, as eight out of 10 men in startups hold director-level positions or higher after ten years in their careers, whereas only five in 10 women achieve the same positions.

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