Start-up entrepreneurs double their donation in FY22

Start-up entrepreneurs nearly doubled their contribution to philanthropy in 2022 but their numbers shrank.

They decreased to only three (from five) in the top 100 of the Edelgive Hurun India Philanthropy List of 2022 which was released on Thursday.

Over the year, no new start-up whizz kid joined the list either.

The three start-up entrepreneurs who made it to the list contributed collectively Rs 166 crore in FY22, nearly double that of Rs 83 crore in FY21.

They are Nithin and Nikhil Kamath of Zerodha, Ronnie and Zarina Screwvala of the Unilazer group and ex-Flipkart founder Binny Bansal who were all also on the previous year’s list.

In FY22, the start-up philanthropists accounted for about 3 per cent of the total money contributed by the top 100 promoters of companies and high net worth individuals.

In 2021, their contribution was only 0.6 per cent because the corpus for philanthropy was smaller then.

The sharp jump in their philanthropic contributions was also in large measure the result of the Zerodha founders increasing their contribution fourfold to Rs 100 crore in FY22 over the previous year.

Bansal also increased his contribution this year by 174 per cent to hit Rs 37 crore through his company 3 State Ventures.

Screwvala also increased his donation by 26 per cent to Rs 29 crore.

Analysts say that the reasons for the increase could be manifold.

The inability of many start-ups to go public due to the uncertain stock market so that they could encash some part of their equity and use it for philanthropy has clearly not happened.

Most of them have postponed their IPOs at least till next year.

Moreover, with private equity players turning off the tap on the free flow of money which had helped valuations to hit new highs, start-up entrepreneurs have now started cutting costs so that they can move towards profitability.

For some perspective on wealth, based on company valuations, it is useful to note that the founders of six start-up companies which feature in the top 100 list enjoy a collective wealth of Rs 165,900 crore, suggesting that, in comparison with this wealth, the contribution to philanthropy is relatively small.

Some do not feature at all in the top 100 philanthropy list.

For instance, Falguni Nayar, founder of Nykaa, and her family have a fortune of Rs 38,700 crore which has helped them move to the 33rd rank this year from 169 in 2021 in the IIFL

Wealth Hurun India rich list published last month.

But Nayar, the richest woman in India, is not in the top 100 Hurun rich list for philanthropy.

Another big name, Byju Raveendran and family, founders of Byju’s, have notched up wealth of Rs 30,600 crore but are also not in the top 100 philanthropy list.

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