Company Valuation Methods for Startups in India

  • Written Written by Ali Nasir Kidwai 08 April 2024 | 4 min read
  • Editor's Note :

    Evaluating the worth of a business is no simple task. When it comes to startups in India, the evaluation process depends on three distinct approaches to valuation methods, all of which we'll delve into in this blog. Moreover, we'll also look at some real-world examples related to business valuation. Ready to explore? Let's dive right in!


Whether you're thinking of selling your business or looking for new investors, there may come a time when you're required to evaluate the economic worth of your enterprise—in other words, when you require a business valuation.

As you might imagine, distinguishing the value of a business isn't simple—it requires accounting for several factors within your finances. Because this process is so complex, many business owners work with a professional to receive an objective, detailed evaluation of what their business is worth.

In the current scenario, if you need to determine the value of your business, it's worth understanding how this process works. In this blog, we'll break down some of the primary valuation methods, how they work, and how each approach may (or may not) benefit your business. Let's explore!

Why Would You Need a Business Valuation?

Due to the challenges regarding the business valuation process, these calculations are not something you will be doing every day—so when would you need a business valuation?

It's essential to comprehend the rationale behind the need for business valuation in the Indian startup ecosystem.

Investment Decisions: Investors, whether venture capitalists, angel investors, or institutional investors, rely on accurate valuations to make informed investment decisions. A precise valuation aids in assessing the potential ROI and the risks associated with funding a particular startup.

Strategic Planning: Startups leverage valuations as a strategic tool to devise growth strategies, negotiate partnerships, and attract talent. A comprehensive understanding of the company's worth empowers entrepreneurs to make strategic decisions aligned with their long-term objectives.

Mergers and Acquisitions: Valuations are pivotal in mergers, acquisitions, and strategic partnerships. Both acquiring and target companies rely on accurate valuations to determine the fair value of the transaction and negotiate favourable terms.

Regulatory Compliance: Regulatory authorities often mandate businesses to undergo valuation for compliance purposes, especially during fundraising rounds, mergers, or restructuring activities. Adhering to regulatory requirements ensures transparency and accountability in business transactions.

Explore Three Approaches to Valuation Methods for Startups in India

approaches to valuation methods

Source:corporate finance institute

Let's get granular with each of the three valuation methods for startups:

1. Asset-Based Valuation

The asset-based company valuation method calculates the worth of an asset or a company by assessing the fair market value of its underlying assets and liabilities. This approach entails aggregating the estimated values of all assets and then deducting the liabilities to ascertain the net asset value.

Asset-based valuation is particularly suitable for assessing companies that possess significant tangible assets, such as real estate, machinery, or inventory. It is commonly used for industries like manufacturing, retail, and natural resources, where asset values play a crucial role. Businesses should consider asset-based valuation when the fair market value of their assets notably surpasses their market capitalization.

Let's have a look at its pros and cons:

Tangible Value Assessment: This Approach provides a precise valuation of tangible assets, which can be particularly useful for startups with significant physical assets or inventory.
Limited Relevance for Intangibles: While suitable for valuing tangible assets, the Asset-Based Approach may undervalue startups with substantial intangible assets, such as brand value, customer relationships, or innovative technologies.
IP Valuation: For startups with substantial intellectual property (IP) assets such as patents, trademarks, or proprietary technology, this approach offers a structured method to assess the value of intangible assets.
Historical Focus: This approach relies heavily on historical financial data and book values, potentially overlooking the startup's future growth potential and intangible assets critical for long-term value creation.
Regulatory Compliance: In specific regulatory contexts, such as mergers, acquisitions, or financial reporting, the Asset-Based Approach may be mandated or preferred, ensuring compliance with regulatory requirements.
Depreciation of Assets: The valuation of tangible assets may be subject to depreciation or obsolescence, leading to potential undervaluation, especially in fast-paced industries where technology evolves rapidly.

2. Market Based Valuation

The Market Approach relies on comparable transactions or market multiples to determine the startup's value. This approach relies on the market principle determining the fair value of similar businesses.

Comparable Company Analysis (CCA): CCA involves identifying publicly traded companies or recently acquired startups similar to the target startup and analyzing their valuation multiples such as Price-to-Earnings (P/E), Price-to-Sales (P/S), or Enterprise Value-to-EBITDA (EV/EBITDA). Adjustments are made to account for differences in size, growth prospects, and risk profiles. In the Indian startup ecosystem, CCA provides valuable insights into industry benchmarks and investor sentiment.

Precedent Transactions Analysis: Like CCA, Precedent Transactions Analysis involves analyzing valuation multiples of past transactions involving startups in the same industry or sector. This method provides a reference point for valuing the target startup based on the acquisition or investment multiples observed in comparable transactions. In India, this valuation method for startups offers valuable insights into market trends and investor appetite for specific sectors.

The most critical advantage of the market approach is that data is publicly available to compare transactions. For instance, information pertaining to publicly traded shares is easily accessible.
Calculating the business value is practically impossible when there is no readily available data on comparable transactions.
The results are quite accurate as they are based on factual data without any assumptions.
It is also difficult to ascertain and identify comparable transactions or companies.
The market approach to business valuation is characterized by its simplicity and straightforwardness, relying on basic calculations.
Compared to other valuation methods, it is not a very flexible business valuation method.

3. Income-based Valuation

The income approach emphasizes the earning potential of a company as a key factor in determining its fair market value. This company valuation method will analyze a business's past, current, and anticipated future cash flows to determine its value and expected ROI. Various approaches to generate income valuations can be implemented, including:

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Capitalization of Earnings / Cash Flows Method: This income-oriented approach determines a business valuation based on its future estimated benefits. This estimate is commonly calculated from the earnings or cash flow of the business in question. Subsequently, the anticipated future benefits are applied to a capitalization rate to ascertain the business's rate of return. This approach is particularly suitable for established and stable companies with a foreseeable trend of consistent income growth.

Discounted Cash Flow Method: The Discounted Cash Flow (DCF) method is utilized to estimate the value of an investment based on the anticipated cash flows, looking at the operating cash flow, discretionary cash flow, or after-tax cash flow. Utilizing the Discounted Cash Flow (DCF) method to forecast the future earnings potential of the business can provide valuable insights into determining its current market valuation. This method best suits companies with more earnings history or uneven growth in their future benefit streams.

Income Multiplier Method: The income multiplier method uses a multiple of a company's earnings or cash flows to determine its value. This method is standard in industries where valuations are commonly expressed as a multiple of EBITDA or Earnings Before Interest and Taxes (EBIT).

Now that we know about all three startup valuation methods, we must investigate some real-world use cases.

Some real-world examples related to business valuation

Reliance Jio

jio valuation

In 2016, Reliance Jio, the telecom subsidiary of Reliance Industries, launched its 4G network in India. The company quickly gained market share and disrupted the telecom industry with its affordable data plans. In 2020, Reliance Jio raised $20 billion in funding, valued at $87 billion. The valuation was based on the company's strong revenue growth, market share, and potential for future growth in India's rapidly growing digital economy.


flipkart valuation

In 2018, Walmart acquired a large part in the Indian e-commerce giant Flipkart for $16 billion. The valuation of Flipkart was a critical factor in the acquisition, with the company being valued at $20.8 billion at the time of the deal. This valuation was based on several factors, including Flipkart's revenue growth, market share, and potential for future growth.

Oyo Rooms

Oyo valuation

In 2019, the Indian hotel aggregator Oyo Rooms raised $1.5 billion in funding, valued at $10 billion. The valuation was based on Oyo's rapid expansion in India and other countries and its innovative business model, which focuses on providing affordable and standardized hotel rooms.


Zomato valuation

In 2021, the Indian food delivery platform Zomato went public with an initial public offering (IPO) valued at $9.5 billion. The valuation was based on several factors, including Zomato's revenue growth, market share, and potential for future growth in India's rapidly expanding food delivery market.

These examples demonstrate the significance of business valuation in India, mainly in the context of mergers and acquisitions, fundraising, and IPOs. So, business valuation is critical for companies looking to maximize their value and attract investors. It plays a crucial role in India's rapidly growing economy.

Final Thoughts

Therefore, selecting the correct company valuation methods would be essential to the ROI until you exit. Each business is different and would have a different valuation method. The companies with the best valuation methods use more than one method for valuation.

It doesn't matter if you plan to sell your business; it is always a good idea to have a comprehensive valuation of your business done. A thorough understanding of your business's economic aspects would give you a transparency of your company, especially if you are looking for investors to fund your business.

However, the above valuation methods for startups are not the only ones. There are other methods, and many organizations choose multiple methods to value their business. Contact us at Vega Equity to learn more about Valuation methods. Book a demo today!

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