What is a Unicorn Startup?
A unicorn startup is a privately owned company with a market valuation of more than one billion US dollars. These types of companies are very rare, which is exactly why they get referred as ‘unicorn companies’. Most of them reside either in the United States or China, and as of 2021, we have over 590 of them.
The Chinese market leads with unicorns with the highest value (in billion US dollars), while the United States leads with the number of unicorn startups within the country. A unicorn tech company is the most common type of unicorn startup.
Unicorn startups include companies like Douyin (more commonly known as the company which owns TikTok), SpaceX, Stripe, Shein, and many more. The table below portrays the leading unicorn companies worldwide as of July 2022.
Most Valuable Startups: The Statistics
The list of unicorn startups above portrays their value in billion US dollars as of July 2022. The company that is skyrocketing in value is, of course, Douyin, which is a Chinese startup that became popular first in China and later globally when it launched its international version — TikTok. The company has surpassed a value of over 200 billion US dollars and continues to grow each day.
As for the rest of the companies — it looks like they are not quite on the same level just yet, with only SpaceX and ANT Group surpassing the rest of unicorn startups by values of over 125 billion US dollars and 120 billion US dollars, respectively.
The rest of the unicorn startups are as follows:
- Stripe (62 billion US dollars)
- Shein (60 billion US dollars)
- Binance (45 billion US dollars)
- Databricks (38 billion US dollars)
- WeBank (33 billion US dollars)
- JDT (30 billion US dollars)
- Checkout.com (28 billion US dollars)
Why Do Only Some Companies Become Unicorn Startups?
There are several reasons why some companies become unicorn companies and not others:
The product or service offered by a company is one of the most important factors in determining its success. Unicorns often provide a unique or innovative product that fills a market gap and can potentially disrupt an industry.
The vision, experience, and skills of the founder(s) can greatly influence a company’s success. Unicorns often have driven and visionary founders who are able to build strong teams and execute on their vision.
The timing of a company’s launch and growth can be critical. Unicorns often emerge in industries ripe for disruption, and they can capitalize on changes in consumer behavior or technology advancements.
Securing funding from investors is critical for startups to grow and scale. Unicorns often have access to large amounts of capital from investors who are willing to take on risk in exchange for the potential of high returns.
The market size for a company’s product or service is also a key factor in determining its success. Unicorns often target large and growing markets, with the potential to capture a significant share of that market.
- Most unicorn startups are male-led. Recent research suggests that investors aren’t as confident with female-led startups as they are with male-led ones. This, unfortunately, means that women aren’t as likely to receive significant amounts of funding as men are.
- The types of markets included in unicorn startups are internet software, e-commerce, financial tech, health care, and on-demand services.
- Most unicorn startups have two or more founders.
- The best types of teams for unicorn startups are diverse founding teams. It’s best to have a team knowledgeable about technology, science, and business.
- University education matters — most founders have a university degree. A lot of US founders went to prestigious schools such as Yale, Harvard, or Stanford.
While not every company can become a unicorn, it is very valuable for companies to follow the journey of unicorn startups to get inspired. In this article, we have shown the statistics and interesting facts of unicorn startups and the reasons why companies like SpaceX and Stripe became some of the most successful companies to exist in recent years.