The Indian ecosystem has grown enormously over the years. The growth is significant not just in the number of new ventures, which has crossed 84,000, but also the range of startup categories that have emerged across the last 5 years.
While popular startup sectors like fashion, education, healthcare, agriculture often hog the limelight, DPIIT has recognized 56 startup sectors in India including advertising, agriculture, animation, IT services, human resources, logistics, real-estate, sports, technology hardware, toys and games, waste management and so on.
In 2017, there were 5,147 startups across the 56 categories. The number reached up to 8,689 in 2018, 11,328 in 2019, 14,534 in 2020 and 20,089 in 2021.
A look at the cumulative number of startups from 2017 to 2021, the IT service sector has seen the highest number of new ventures followed by healthcare and life sciences and education.
Here is a wrap of the 5 most startup sectors popular among Indian entrepreneurs:
The Information Technology sector has seen consistent growth in the number of startups since 2017. In 2017 the sector registered 578 startups. The number increased to 1,358 in 2018, 1,601 in 2019, 1,944 in 2020 and 2,211 in 2021.
This is not it, India Brand Equity Foundation has projected the sector to grow to US$ 19.93 billion by 2025. Other industry bodies and global firms have also predicted massive growth for the IT Service sector in India. According to a report released by industry body Nasscom and global consulting firm McKinsey, India's technology services industry has the potential to generate $300-350 billion in annual revenue by 2025
Healthcare and Lifesciences
Healthcare is the second most popular sector among the startups in India after IT Services. The sector includes subcategories like hospital management, pharmaceuticals, Health insurance, manufacturer of medical equipment etc. The industry has registered a total of 5,501 startups from 2017 to 2021. In 2017, the healthcare lifesciences industry only had 471 startups but the number reached 1,894 in 2021, making it one of the fastest growing sectors in the country.
Healthcare has become big not just in terms of the number of startups but also in generating employment. The industry is expected to record a three-fold rise, growing at a CAGR of 22% by the end of FY’22. There are many startups within the Healthcare and Life Sciences sector that are reaching millions of users everyday! If we look at the present healthcare scenario in India, the sector is extremely diversified and full of opportunities for the new players.
Education and Technology
Technology has changed the way we perceive education in the present times, making it a center of attraction for startups. The sector has seen over 4,031 startups so far. While there are many edtech giants we are aware of, the sector is also growing on a grassroot level with new edtech startups rising from tier II cities. In 2017, 295 new companies were established providing edtech services. The number grew by 3x in 2018 with 743 new companies. Ever since, the industry is seeing a steady growth with 743 startups in 2018, 771 in 2019, 930 in 2020 and 1298 in 2021.
Experts are expecting the sector to grow even bigger in the next ten years. In 2021, the market size was measured at $700 million to $800 million in 2021 which is expected to reach $30 billion in the upcoming decade.
Professional & Commercial Services
The next on the list is the professional & commercial service sector which has seen 2,958 new companies since 2017. According to ibef.org, the Indian service sector was the largest recipient of FDI inflows worth US$ 96.76 billion between April 2000-June 2022.
Presently, there are 2,958 startups functioning in this professional & commercial services. In 2017, the sector saw 185 new ventures. In 2018, the sector saw a 2x growth with 376 new companies venturing in this sector. The number of startups reached to 492 in 2018, 784 in 2020 and 1,121 in 2021.
Agriculture has been another top-performing sector which has seen 2,727 new businesses venturing over the last 5 years. If we trace back, the data reveals that the agriculture sector has been volatile over the past 10 years with a rapid annual growth. While there were only 168 agriculture startups in 2017, the number drastically reached 1,010 in 2022. With 70% of Indian startups still dependent on agriculture, the sector has immense opportunities for new businesses.
While these 5 sectors have been top performing, it’s notable that there are a total 56 startup sectors in the country and all are growing at a consistent growth rate.