Indian startups are now more willing than ever to acquire and get acquired

By Itika Sharma Punit for Quartz

Amid a funding crunch, mergers and acquisitions (M&As) in the Indian startup industry have been on the rise since the beginning of 2016, according to startup data curation firm Xeler8.

In July-September 2016, M&A activity increased 35% quarter-on-quarter with 65 such deals.

“Many startups are struggling to raise funds, so they are willing to get acquired rather than just shutting shop,” said Rishabh Lawania, founder of Delhi-based Xeler8. “In fact, a lot more startups are getting acquired than what is being publically reported. Many entrepreneurs are looking to cut losses and sell their ventures, even if it means a simple acquihire (buying a company for the skills of its staff rather than the product) where they get a job at another company.”

The poor investor sentiment has led to a significant correction in startup valuations. In many cases, they have almost halved since July-September 2015, Lawania said.

Another reason for the uptick in M&As is that several late-stage startups are looking for buyouts to justify their valuations. “Many big players are looking for inorganic growth opportunities as they try to show that they are doing something great,” Lawania said.

Some of the prominent M&A deals during the three months ended September were the acquisition of Hyderabad-based machine learning startup TupleJump by Apple Inc, and Redbus’ buyout of Peru-based online bus ticketing platform Busportal.

The most valued M&As during July-September were:

Target Acquirer Deal size ($ million)
Citrus PayUbiz 130
Jabong Myntra 70
Privi Organics Fairfax India 55
Ash Stevens Piramal Group 43
Praxair JSW Steel 36

Sectors such as hyperlocal, finance technology (fintech), and healthcare saw the most number of M&A deals.

VC investments into Indian startups fell for a third consecutive quarter during July-September, according to Xeler8’s data.

The number of funding deals, too, declined to 295 in July-September, from 310 in April-June and 344 in January-March.

With investor sentiment unlikely to improve in the near-term, Xeler8 expects M&As to continue to rise among Indian startups for at least two more quarters.

First appeared at Quartz