Unicorn CFO hiring in India and the USA

A study by WalkWater Talent Advisors

19th June 2023, National: 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 valued over $350 billion in valuation. However, the last few months have witnessed a funding winter.

Commenting on the current times, Gibin Varghese, Partner-Technology Practice at WalkWater Talent Advisors, said, “Startups are facing many challenges in the current business landscape. CFOs today are called upon to shape growth of the company, focus on profitability, raise funds, drive M&A and lead investor & 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.”

WalkWater Talent Advisors, one of India’s top Executive Search firms, conducted an extensive study and researched 150 Unicorns (100 Indian Unicorns and 50 US Unicorns). The study has been co-authored by Gibin Varghese, Partner-Technology Practice, and Shambhavi Singh, Managing Associate-Technology Practice.

Key Highlights:

Start-up Experience: In India, only 33% of unicorn CFOs were hired from other start-ups indicating a higher reliance on talent from traditional sectors. BFSI, Industrial & FMCG are the top 3 sources of the remaining 67% of the non-startup talent pool. In contrast, in the United States, 72% of Unicorn CFOs were hired from other start-ups with Enterprise SaaS and Fintech emerging as the top talent sources.

Experience and Age Distribution: 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.

Gender Representation: Gender diversity remains a challenge in both countries, with the USA showing relatively better representation. The study reveals 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.

CFOs have been hired from traditional industries in the USA
Indian Unicorns have CFOs and the remaining have SVPs / VPs of Finance
CFOs have been hired from traditional industries in India
India – BFSI, Industrial & FMCG are the top 3 sources of non startup talent pool USA – Enterprise SaaS and Fintech are the top 2 sources of startup talent pool 35 – 45 years
Age for Indian Unicorn CFOs
40 – 50 years
Age for US Unicorn CFOs
CFOs quit Indian Unicorns in the last 1 year
CFOs were hired by Indian Unicorns in the last 2 years
NCR and Bangalore are the hottest hubs for CFO hiring in India.
Women CFOs in India
Women CFOs in the USA

Comments are closed.