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Licensed Unlicensed Requires Authentication Published by De Gruyter November 9, 2022

Understanding Startup Valuation and its Impact on Startup Ecosystem

  • Ramesh Menon ORCID logo EMAIL logo and Leena James ORCID logo


Startups play a substantial role in the economic growth of a nation, by introducing new technologies, ground-breaking innovation, creating jobs, etc. A couple of decades back, it was extremely difficult to start a business, but today new businesses pop up every day, all around the world. Recognizing the importance of a startup, governments across the globe are doing their best to provide an atmosphere where startups can bloom. Despite its importance and all the support, the startup failure rate is at 90%; about 10% of startups fail in the first year and 70% fail in two to five years. The startup boom saw the emergence of alternative sources of funding like Venture Capitalist, Angel Investors, etc. These investors (Venture Capitalist, Angel Investors, etc.) played a crucial role in startup success by providing easy access to funds which is a critical and scarce resource for any founder. Traditionally business success is linked with sustainable profitability but in the startup world most used method to define success is valuation. Based on CB Insights research, as of January 2022, there are more than 900 unicorns (startup with a valuation of over $1 billion) around the world and of these unicorns less than 10% are profitable. It’s difficult to explain/comprehend how startups’ which are neither profitable nor foresee profitability in near future are valued higher than traditional business with stable profitability. Current valuation methods have impacted the startup ecosystem. Today, founders start their business with exit in mind, the focus of founders is on growth/scale rather than profitability. There is a school of thought that believes that such valuations will soon result in the bursting of the startup bubble just like the dotcom bubble seen in late 1990s. The focus of this paper is to investigate the techniques used by investors for startup valuation and how these techniques are impacting the startup ecosystem and its founders. The paper looks at all stages of the investment cycle, from seed to IPO or takeover and understands the process of valuation at each stage and how it impacts all stakeholders in the ecosystem.

Corresponding author: Ramesh Menon, Christ University, Bengaluru, 560100, India, E-mail:


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Received: 2022-07-18
Accepted: 2022-10-28
Published Online: 2022-11-09

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