01 July 2022 00:07


Budget 2022 : What could make startups & investors happy?

"We have a million problems, but at the same time we have over a billion minds"

- Honourable Prime Minister, Shri Narendra Modi

The last half of the past decade saw some monumental changes in the flourishing Indian startup and adjoining investment ecosystem. In November 2021 alone, as per one of the sources, over 30 growth and late-stage and 92 early-stage startups raised around $4.33 billion. The current startup landscape in India aptly portrays an image of a modern and sophisticated market, in terms of real value as well as in the nature of capital flow. Innovation, and implementation of the same, to solve major problems at a national and an international level has garnered support from the general public and more importantly, the government. The acceptance of modern day trade with a mix of technology and traditional values has made the Indian startup ecosystem stronger than before.

"The startups today defy natural rates of growth. An idea can become a global product within a year, multiplying customers and employees"

- Honourable Prime Minister, Shri Narendra Modi

The Government of India, to a large extent, has been proactive in taking steps for the better of all the stakeholders involved. Startup India, the flagship initiative of the state, intends to build a strong ecosystem that is conducive for the growth of startup businesses, to drive sustainable economic growth and generate large scale employment opportunities. Several programs have been undertaken since the launch of the initiative on 16th of January, 2016 by Hon’ble Prime Minister, to contribute to his vision of transforming India into a country of job creators instead of job seekers. These programs have catalysed the startup culture, with startups getting recognized through the Startup India initiative and many entrepreneurs availing the benefits of starting their own business in India. Over the last 5 years, the Startup India initiative has seen considerable growth and on June 3rd 2021, reached the milestone of recognizing 50,000 startups in India. Last 10,000 startups were recognized in just 108 days. The ambitions of India’s entrepreneurs can be understood by the fact that over 16,000 startups were recognized in the financial year 2020-2021.

"Start-ups are going to be the backbone of new India. When India completes 100 years of independence, startups will have an important role. Country's innovators are making the country proud globally."

- Honourable Prime Minister, Shri Narendra Modi

The rate of success, too, has drastically improved with many startups reaching a certain stage of maturity. This can be evidenced by the recent listing of new-generation startups like Nykaa (FSN E-Commerce Ventures), Zomato, Policybazaar (PB Fintech Ltd), Paytm (One 97 Communications Ltd) and more. In all, the major 7 to 8 IPO listing of these companies raised as much as $2.5 billion from public markets. The active interest of investors has been constantly visible across stages and sectors, whether we are talking about angel investors in the pre-seed rounds or the massive institutional investors in the later stages.

Total investments that flowed into Indian startups stood close to $34 billion in 2021, this is almost 3 times more than what was raised during Covid in 2020,Interestingly, Indian startups got well funded across all stages in 2021, unlike some of the previous years, which shows that the ecosystem is maturing by the day,

With growing interest and development, the fiscal infrastructure of the ecosystem deserves some more attention from the government to ensure the protection of startups as well as investors and thus work towards establishing a rather durable channel for more organised and regulated operations in the ecosystem. The fiscal measures in the coming years will be imperative to shape the future. For the same, here are some expectations for the 2022 Budget that will be presented on the 1st of February 2022 by Mrs. Nirmala Sitharaman, Minister of Finance

First and foremost, there is a need to treat startups at par with the other listed companies with regards to unlisted capital gains. The tax rates and period should be identical to that of the listed companies.

Secondly, there is a need to do away with the current notional concept where ESOPs are taxed when exercised. The state could consider taxing the gains on exit when the proceeds are received by the ESOP owner/employee.

Further, tax losses should be allowed in the event of change in control. This is to incentivise takeovers and benefits to incoming majority investors/acquirers which will benefit the whole ecosystem and promote larger amounts of R&D and innovation activities.

On a micro level, if we were to look at sector specific provisions, Ed-tech is an important driver of the Indian economy. Online Ed-tech businesses should enjoy tax benefits and GST exemptions. This will enable faster growth of Indian startups in this space, proving to be a benefit for the society at large and even in the global community.

For investors, there is a need to exempt the GST on management fees levied on onshore Indian funds similar to the offshore funds.

In addition to this, easing foreign outbound investment in overseas domiciled startups by SEBI regd AIFs in all categories will be an appreciated step by the investor community. Including this under the automatic route will further help.

The above are some areas where it is believed that improvisations will benefit the stakeholders on a greater level considering the critical stage at which the ecosystem is at presently. The general public and the government, both, are now aware of the Indian entrepreneurial spirit, the aim should be to protect and nurture the same with all hands available, fiscal being one.

"We want to enable Start-Ups and make India no 1 in this field. Start-Up India and Stand-Up India!"

- Honourable Prime Minister, Shri Narendra Modi


The article has been authored by Yagnesh Sanghrajka for 100X.VC Research. Yagnesh is the founder and CFO at 100X.VC.

100X.VC is the first VC to invest in early stage startups using India SAFE Notes. We fund exceptional Indian founders. We deeply value our relationships with founders, co-investors, and corporations.

Read 402 times Last modified on Friday, 25 February 2022 03:05
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