- Continued momentum in creating SaaS unicorns will propel India to surpass China and become the 2nd largest SaaS nation in the world.
- Venture Capital investments will continue to flow into SaaS companies and are projected to touch USD 6.5 Bn, a 55% increase over last year’s investments of USD 4.2 Bn.
- Cloud Security and Web3 are emerging as key areas of interest for investors within SaaS.
BANGALORE, India — The Indian SaaS juggernaut is experiencing a ‘coming-of-age’ moment, with an incredible bull run that has firmly anchored its position on the global stage. The SaaS industry is set to clock in a massive USD 100 Bn in revenues by 2026.
This was underscored by the 2022 edition of the Chiratae-Zinnov India SaaS report titled, “India SaaS – Punching Through the Global Pecking Order.” As the industry has matured, profitability has become a real milestone for SaaS companies, and they have cracked the Enterprise problem with over 40% revenue contribution. India is gearing to supersede China as the second-largest SaaS nation in the next few years on the global stage.
Key Facts and Figures
- SaaS Industry: 1,150+ Active Firms, USD 8 Bn revenue in 2021, expected to cross the USD 100 Bn milestone by 2026
- India is on track to leapfrog China and become the 2nd largest SaaS nation by 2026
- The next wave of digital talent is expected from tier-2 and tier-3 cities
- Investments in Indian SaaS grew 3X to over USD 4 Bn in 2021; expected to top USD 6.5 Bn this year
The report identifies the key attributes that have accelerated the success of the SaaS industry – ‘SPARK’ – Supportive Policies, Proven Global Caliber, Abundant Liquidity, Rearing Domestic Talent, and Kindled Exit Options. Today, leading SaaS firms have been at the forefront of localizing innovation by putting robust engineering and product teams in the top markets that they are catering to. The focus for the firms is to capitalize on the overall value delivered to consumers, thus improving their propensity to pay.
The early SaaS companies are attracting unicorn valuations and successfully listing on the public markets. These successes, coupled with stronger fundamentals and the path to profitability, are making SaaS companies in India an attractive investment theme. The industry aims to attract a strong private capital infusion of close to USD 6.5 Bn in the coming year alone, notes the report.
Key findings on the year gone by
- Indian SaaS witnessed massive growth at a ~55% CAGR in 2021, with revenues well-poised to cross USD 100 Bn by 2026
- The next wave of digital talent is expected from tier-2 and tier-3 cities; a vast pool of ~3 Mn+ digitally skilled workforce will be the perfect munition for SaaS companies to scale up in the coming years.
- The tremendous growth in the sector, as well as the significant reduction in the time to achieve unicorn status, have created ~90% of all SaaS unicorns in the last four years alone, with the potential for many more in the offing, thus adding to a large pool of Soonicorns.
- Post surpassing the UK this year in the number of SaaS unicorns, India is all set to leapfrog China and become the 2nd largest SaaS nation by 2026
- The various pro-start-up policies will play a key role in attracting more founders and investors.
On the launch of this report, Sudhir Sethi, Founder, and Chairman, Chiratae Ventures, stated, “India is a global SaaS leader, and Chiratae Ventures has been fortunate to be at the center of this surging momentum, with over 35 SaaS companies in our portfolio like Uniphore, which recently raised USD 400 Mn, and others like Pixis, Hevo Data, Healthplix, CropIn, Pando, Deepfence, and Squadcast which are valued over USD 3.5 Bn and last year overall raised USD 600 Mn. Chiratae predicts that investments in Indian SaaS will continue to grow at a massive pace with the revenue poised to cross USD 100 Bn by 2026.”
Pari Natarajan, CEO of Zinnov, said, “2021 was a watershed year for Indian SaaS – including exponential valuations, successful IPO debuts, a vast influx of VC investments, and an unprecedented number of unicorns. Not only have Indian SaaS companies come of age, but they have also been at the forefront of creating new India and new for the world products, led by visionary founders and a critical mass of engineering and product teams serving this purpose. All this has firmly put Indian SaaS on the global stage and on the path of crossing the milestone of USD 100 Bn in revenue by 2026. India is fast emerging as a clear leader in SaaS, and will supersede China to become the second largest SaaS nation in the next few years.”
The report identifies Cloud Security, Cloud-Native Enablers, Hyper Intelligent Automation, Web3, and Verticalized solutions as key areas of interest for investors in 2022 and beyond.
Some of the key SaaS categories expected to gain traction in 2022 and beyond are:
Cloud-Native is an approach to building and running applications as a Cloud-based delivery model, which is expected to accelerate modern application development based on its various advantages. VC investments in this space exceed USD 7 Bn in funding, giving rise to many unicorns in the segment.
Hyper Intelligent Automation, the new avatar of Automation, has become a top CXO priority within enterprise digital transformation charters. With a 15-20% growth forecasted in digital transformation spend, Automation platforms are attracting immense interest from investors.
Cloud Security, the fastest-growing segment within Enterprise Cybersecurity in 2021, witnessed a staggering 6X growth in funding, especially across growth-stage deals.
Web3, based on Blockchain, is another segment garnering much attention from investors. Perceived as a compelling SaaS opportunity, areas such as Data Analytics, DevTools, and Security have bubbled up.
Verticalized SaaS is also gaining popularity for solving industry-specific use cases. The global VC funding in this category exceeded USD 11 Bn in 2021
In 2006, Chiratae Ventures India Advisors was India’s leading technology Venture Capital funds advisor. The funds advised by Chiratae Ventures India Advisors collectively have close to $1Bn under management and 110+ investee companies across SaaS, Consumer Media & Tech, Health-tech, and Fin-tech. The fund has been an early backer of Cure. Fit, FirstCry, Flipkart, Globalbees, Lenskart, Manthan, Myntra, PolicyBazaar, and has invested in leaders like AgroStar, Bizongo, Bounce, Cropin, EarlySalary, GoMechanic, HealthifyMe, Hevo Data, Pyxis, Uniphore Vayana, amongst others. Chiratae closed its fourth fund, oversubscribed at $337 million in 2021. The team has delivered value for its investors through the years with over 40 exits, 3 IPOs, and 8 Unicorns, with more around the corner.
Founded in 2002, Zinnov is a global management and strategy consulting firm in New York, Santa Clara, Houston, Chicago, Bangalore, Gurgaon, and Paris. Over the past 20 years, Zinnov has successfully consulted with over 250+ Fortune 500 enterprises to develop actionable insights to help them accelerate value creation – across dimensions of both revenue and optimization. With core expertise in Digital Engineering, Digital Transformation, Innovation, and Outsourcing Advisory, Zinnov assists clients by:
- Advising global PE firms in asset shortlisting and target evaluation, commercial due diligence, and value creation;
- Structuring and implementing Digital Transformation levers enabled by technologies like AI/ML, Cloud, IoT, and RPA;
- Helping global companies outline and drive their open innovation programs, design and operate accelerator programs, and enable collaboration with start-ups across specific use cases and predefined outcomes;
- Enabling global companies to develop and optimize a global engineering footprint through center setups and technology and functional accelerators to achieve higher R&D efficiencies, innovation, and productivity;
- Growing revenue for companies’ products and services in newer markets through account intelligence, market entry, and market expansion advisory.
With their team of experienced consultants, subject matter experts, and research professionals, Zinnov serves clients from across multiple industry verticals, including Enterprise Software, Hi-Tech, BFSI, Healthcare, Automotive, Retail, and Telecom the US, Europe, Japan, and India.