Most Indian unicorns’ business strategies target the vast mass market in India, and its demographics are weighted heavily in favor of the youth. The Indian economy is in the very early stage of the growth cycle. Per capita of GDP in India in 2022 will be around $2022. By 2030, this number is projected to reach $3800, which is still much lower than any middle-income country.
Given the nature of the Indian market, the mass market, and low average income, the focus of Indian unicorns is based on sound business logic.
If we go by the way the initial round of IPOs has been valued, there are many questions that these businesses will require to answer regarding sustainability. These businesses hurry to raise valuations and then make a quick exit after making windfall profits. These are serious flaws in strategy when it comes to sustainability is concerned. There does not appear to be anything wrong with their business models. The problem lies in strategy, vision, and governance.
Indian unicorns are designed today for acquisition. Most of them will disappear from the market ten years from now. Mature Indian and foreign companies will be acquiring market share from these companies. Not all unicorns will succeed in making windfall profits via the acquisition route.
Probably the biggest lesson for Indian unicorns is to look at business ethics and corporate culture closely. The brand image of Indian unicorns has taken a beating recently. They have emerged as unprincipled business entities that are seeking to make a quick buck in the fastest time. In their rush to generate profits for themselves and not for their shareholders, the Founders have forgotten the history of successful corporations worldwide.
If the Indian unicorn Founders do not look at the corporate culture and business ethics, then business success will elude them. Even the investor community has not emerged with a good image. Indian unicorns are on a slippery slope; if they do not seriously look at corporate governance, the end will not be pleasant. Investors, too, will bear the brunt of unforgiving business logic, which favors those with a good image, customer-centric models, and corporate integrity.