That is 18 startups, or about a third of the overall universe in the online astrology and spiritual wellness segment in India, according to the latest numbers by Tracxn, a market intelligence provider for private company data.
While astrology has been popular in the country for ages, rising online penetration and availability of experts, awareness amongst millennials who are willing to adapt and experiment with the mystic air around astrology to seek life guidance is at its unprecedented high, say companies.
“The pandemic has been an accelerator and we were pushed to our limits of tolerance and patience with never seen human behaviours at play. Mental wellness needs have become quite apparent with seeking guidance and counselling getting dominance in everyone’s consciousness, which gave a rise in the demand,” said Jikku Abraham, cofounder at Taaraka.
Also, unlike traditional janam kundli, these startups use machine learning, artificial intelligence and data analyst software to study planetary bodies, zodiac signs and unique cosmic signatures and predict career and personal growth.
“The pandemic has created situations that pushed many towards depression to the extent that they needed external help to preserve their sanity. In India the most common form of that external help is hope by seeking the help of the divine,” said Gaurav Tiwari, founder of Sutradhar, a Titan Capital backed spiritual and devotional content provider.
About 10 such firms cumulatively raised Rs 130 crore since the start of 2020, three times the combined amount raised by such startups over the previous five years, according to Tracxn.
“When you look at devotion or spirituality as a category in India, getting growth is easy. But what is difficult is to get high quality engagement. We are building something in a very first principle way, trying to move a large offline behaviour online. And we are solving it in a very retention first way,” said Prashant Sachan, cofounder of AppsForBharat, a product studio for spiritual and devotional content that
last month raised $10 million in a Series A funding round led by Elevation Capital along with existing investors Sequoia Capital India, Beenext as well as Matrix Partners India.
Since last year, many apps in this domain have witnessed a growth rate of 40-400% month-on-month with at least ten apps having more than 10 million downloads each. “This is more of a one-off behaviour where we saw that a market which was already written off, some large funds have taken bets. Now it will have a downstream effect as well, where a lot of people will say there’s a market opportunity and let us also fund companies in this space. But one must be cautious,” added Sachan.
That’s because data reveals that despite the astro frenzy, the alignment of stars and planets are still off for over 40 or nearly three-fourth of all companies, which has not received any funding yet.