Senior executives exit startups to the safe shores of big local business groups


There is an exodus of senior executives from startups to traditional Indian business groups, with four out of ten top professionals exiting in the past ten months joining large traditional groups, as unicorns, soonicorns, and other new-age companies seek to clamber out of a grim and protracted funding winter.

Since September 2022, about 750 senior executives (CXOs and CXO-1) out of about 5,000 top professionals (with more than Rs 1 crore salary) exited unicorns and soonicorns. Out of this, about 40% or 300 senior executives decided to move out of the start-up ecosystem to join large traditional companies, according to data put together for ET by Longhouse Consulting.

A large majority of these executives were absorbed by traditional Indian conglomerates or large domestic companies such as Reliance, Aditya Birla, Vedanta group, JSW group, Tata group, Kotak Mahindra Bank, among others, which are all focusing on foraying into emerging business areas or incubating digital-first businesses, and are looking for professionals with proven track record from the start-up and ecommerce ecosystem.

“The funding winter and the subsequent cutdown in growth projects have compelled many senior executives from unicorns and soonicorns to look for opportunities with traditional businesses that, on the other hand, are much more stable. They are also scouting for experienced hands from new- age firms to lead their diversification drives into new growth areas,” said Anshuman Das, CEO of Longhouse Consulting.

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