Pandemic and economic slowdown hit brisk pace of start-up registrations in Kerala in 2021, says report

Over 4,000 start-ups were launched in Kerala between 2016 and 2021, but the pace slowed in 2021 owing to the COVID-19 pandemic and economic slowdown, according to the the State of Kerala Start-up Ecosystem Report 2022 released by the Kerala Startup Mission (KSUM).

Kerala-based start-ups secured $551 million (approximately ₹4,500 crore) in funding since 2015, with financial technology companies and SaaS (Software as a Service) start-ups topping the funding chart, the report released at Huddle Global, the two-day tech conclave organised by the KSUM, noted.

Saas, Fintech at forefront

Of the total start-ups in the State, 95% were launched between 2016 and 2021. ‘‘Fintech and SaaS (enterprisetech) start-ups are at the forefront of raising venture capital in Kerala. Together, the sectors accounted for 66% ($364 million out of the total $551 million) of the investments bagged by Kerala-based start-ups since 2015,’‘ the report said. Health tech start-ups accounted for 26.7% in the funding charts.

The report, released by Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan on Thursday, also observed that Kerala-based start-ups established by women are not that many in number. Only 11% of the start-ups have a woman founder, it said.

A start-up is considered Kerala-based if it is headquartered in Kerala, registered with the Kerala Registrar of Companies (RoC) or has a branch/office in Kerala (only in case the company has international registration).

Hardware start-up

Two out of 500 start-ups In Kerala are in the SaaS sector. Hardware start-up funding Is higher here than in any other State, the report said. ‘‘Since 2014, hardware product/service-focused start-ups in Kerala have raised $15.2 million or 3% (precisely 2.7%) of the total $551 million raised,’‘ it said.

Home to the highest number of funded start-ups in the State, Kochi tops the chart in terms of venture capital inflow. Of the total funded start-ups, 58% are based in Kochi.

Developing the State as a top-notch destination for design and prototyping is a top priority, the report said. The report called for the creation of a single window for connecting 3D designers, prototyping centres, and industry requirements. Testing and certification facilities and manufacturing centres should be brought on board for the facility, it said.

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