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India’s Median Unicorn Salary Rises to Rs 1.5 Crore in FY23, Gender Gap Persists

4 weeks ago
India’s Median Unicorn Salary

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Indian unicorn founders saw a substantial increase in their median salary during the financial year 2022-23, with the overall median remuneration reaching Rs 1.5 crore.

However, a significant gender disparity remains, according to a study by PrivateCircle Research, a private market intelligence platform.


Median Salary Overview

The study revealed that the median salary for Indian unicorn founders surged to Rs 1.5 crore in FY23. Female founders, however, earned a median salary of Rs 1 crore, significantly less than their male counterparts, who received a median of Rs 1.8 crore.


Sector-Wise Breakdown

The research covered the top seven sectors by the count of unicorns from a pool of 114 companies valued at $1 billion or more. The media and entertainment sector topped the charts with a median founder salary of Rs 3.5 crore.

The logistics and ed-tech sectors followed with median salaries of Rs 1.9 crore and Rs 1.6 crore, respectively.


Disparities in Average Salaries

While median figures provide insight into general trends, the analysis highlighted significant divergences in average salaries. The logistics sector claimed the highest average founder salary at Rs 12.4 crore, potentially influenced by outliers.


Pronounced Gender Gap in Average Salaries

The gender gap was even more pronounced regarding average salaries. The average female founder salary stood at Rs 1.1 crore, starkly lower than the Rs 8.5 crore average for male founders.

A PrivateCircle Research spokesperson commented, “The gender disparity in the Indian startup ecosystem is further exemplified by the lack of women directors at unicorn companies. In a March 2024 analysis, we found that 57 Indian unicorns have zero women on their board.”


Regional Variations

The study also uncovered regional variations in founder salaries. Pune emerged as the city with the highest average and median founder salaries, at Rs 20 crore and Rs 3.7 crore, respectively.

This was primarily driven by FirstCry’s Supam Maheshwari, whose remuneration reached Rs 200.7 crore in FY23. However, Maheshwari’s monthly remuneration dropped by 49% in the first three quarters of FY24, totaling Rs 77.5 crore according to the company’s revised draft red herring prospectus (DRHP).


Notable Trends

Despite some founders like Slice’s Rajan Bajaj drawing an annual salary of just Rs 12, the overall trend points towards a significant increase in founder remuneration. The median salary in FY23 marked a notable rise from Rs 1.2 crore in FY22 and around Rs 90 lakhs in FY20 and FY21.