BFSI, industrial and FMCG are the top three sources of the remaining 67% of the non-startup talent pool, according to the survey ‘Unicorn CFO Hiring in India and the USA’, by executive search firm WalkWater Talent Advisors.
In contrast, in the US, 72% of unicorn CFOs were hired from other startups with enterprise SaaS and fintech emerging as the top talent sources.
After the Covid pandemic, India has experienced a significant surge in the number of unicorns, many of which have plans to launch their initial public offerings (IPOs) in the next few years. These Indian unicorns are estimated at over $350 billion in valuation. However, the last few months have witnessed a funding winter.
The study found that unicorn CFOs in India tend to be younger compared to their American counterparts. 15 – 25 years of experience makes up 60% of the unicorn CFO talent pool in India compared to 20-30 years in the US. However, gender diversity remains a challenge in both countries, with the USA showing relatively better representation.
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“Our data shows that 17% of unicorn CFOs in the USA are women, while in India, the number stands at a mere 4%. Bridging this gender gap is crucial for fostering an inclusive and balanced entrepreneurial landscape,” said Harold D’Souza , co- founder and director, WalkWater Talent Advisors.The study researched 150 Unicorns (100 Indian unicorns and 50 US unicorns).“CFOs today are called upon to shape the growth of the company, focus on profitability, raise funds, drive M&A and lead investor and board relations. As a result, the demand for CFO recruitment has intensified, prompting our study into the trends of Unicorn CFO hiring in India and a comparative analysis with the more matured startup ecosystem in the United States,” said Gibin Varghese, partner – technology practice at WalkWater Talent Advisors.
The report finds that 67% of Indian unicorn CFOs are based in NCR and Bengaluru, and 15+ CFOs have been hired at Indian unicorns over the last two years. However, 12+ Indian CFOs quit unicorns in the last one year.