Outliers #004

Having just minted their 100th unicorn, what does the future hold for India?

We travel to the sub-continent to look at India, a country already delivering on its long discussed potential. Having just minted their 100th unicorn, where do the next 100 come from in India?

A VC's Insight

Last week India celebrated its 75th Independence Day. Seamus Crawford, TEN13's Investment Principal, reflects on whether it will develop into the global powerhouse it has the potential to become by the time it comes round to celebrating its 100th.

The size of the Indian population is difficult to fathom. At ~1.4B people in 2021, it has almost as many people as China, and has close to double the number of both the US and the EU combined. If you take away 1 billion people, India would still have a larger population than the US - these numbers are staggering.

At the turn of the century, India started outside the top 10 economies globally. Since then it has grown ~6x to around $3T and is projected to overtake the US, in terms of GDP by purchasing power parity, over the next 25 years.

Although India still has big hurdles to overcome, it appears to be on the right trajectory. ~200 million people still remain unbanked, however, that number has been trending downwards over the last decade. Furthermore, India is expected to have 1B smartphone users by 2026, with internet penetration having more than tripled to 61% since 2017.

Although its GDP per capita of ~$2,300 is on the lower end relative to wider Asia, it has still grown 5x over the last 20 years from a base of just $400. The Indian economy also has the potential to evolve towards a more balanced economy across goods and services. The below chart highlights some interesting concepts of how economies evolve as they mature. Primarily, consumer sectors like entertainment develop rapidly.

So what does it all mean? All of these ingredients provide a melting pot of opportunity for technological innovation. With $39B invested in Indian venture capital in 2021, a ~4x annual uptick, VC’s clearly think the timing is right too.

India seems to have reached an exciting inflection point. There is some incredible talent coming out of the region and many of the trends point toward an economy that will be thirsty for new products. We look forward to following the vibrant startup landscape closely.

Macro lens

For those who like to see the world in numbers, Latinometrics is your go-to resource for all digestible LatAm insights. In this post, we see the growth in China’s trade relationship with Latin America. Now, on first look it may appear they have a long way to go to pose a threat to the US. Digging a little deeper, without Mexico, China is already the dominant trade partner in the region. Does this matter? This article by the Council on Foreign Relations goes into detail on China’s growing influence on parts of the developing world.


When speaking about emerging markets, so much of the conversation is future-focused that we can forget the incredible success happening today. A very relevant topic today, India is already home to over 400 billion-dollar companies. While they are spread across industries much further than tech and venture, it’s a reminder that the country has already created and maintained some incredible level of wealth. For reference, India has produced 105 VC-backed unicorns.

Your author this week

Seamus Crawford - A lengthy career on both sides of the table, working in early stage startups in the UK and investments in Hong Kong. Too humble to tell you he has rowed across the Atlantic; an achievement admired by the team.

Alex Barrat - New to the VC world, joining the TEN13 deal team, Alex spent his early career at VC-funded scale up Stake. As one of the first ten hires, he left the team of 130 almost 5 years later. All pitches welcome. Submit your deck here.