The Reveal: Tracking Down Unicorns in the 21st Century

The pace at which new billion-dollar startups are minted is in freefall, according to data from Forrester Research. In 2018, only 17 startup companies reached that milestone, marking the lowest number since 2008—and a steep decline from the peak of 54 startups in 2016.

What’s more, given the current climate in late-stage funding, startups seem to be gravitating towards smaller rounds. Earlier this year, a number of unicorns — companies that had reached a valuation of $1 billion or more — were forced to withdraw their advanced submissions for the extra capital they needed to scale. This has made it harder for startups to attract big money from later-stage investors who may be less willing or able to put up such high investments now that the markets have cooled off. Therefore, many startups are turning towards deals worth up to $5 million or even lower in order to get the capital they need. This is likely why we’re seeing so many mid-sized companies achieving unicorn status these days.

The decline in new unicorn creation could be a result of a number of things. It could be that as venture capitalists become more cautious, they are less willing to invest in companies with relatively high chances of failure. This would lead to a decline in the number of new unicorns and an overall slowdown in the startup ecosystem. Alternatively, it could be that companies struggling to raise money from venture capitalists find it harder and harder to stay afloat, which would also lead to a slowdown in unicorn creation. In either case, it is clear that there are some reasons why the pace at which new unicorns are created has fallen recently.

Many startups are exploring the markets to find new investors and partners. While this can be risky, it is important for these companies to find the right financiers. Markets can be unpredictable and volatile, but it is important to stay

We have all been there- scrolling through our social media feeds and seeing posts that make us THINK. Seriously though, tech companies are always making headlines for some new, innovative product or service they’re rolling out. But what about the products and services that don’t always make it to our newsfeeds? What about the technologies

Unicorns, because of their rarity, are often worth a high amount of money. In fact, some unicorns can be worth up to million dollars! So it is not overly generous to say that the unicorns minted in the past were actually worth what they were purported to be.

Even with the slowdown in the venture capital supercycle, there are still a few startups that have found success. Coinbase is worth more than $16 billion this morning, and Uber is worth north of $60 billion. These are outliers, however; most unicorns have not found an exit and as the market discovers this most billion-dollar startups are not naturally profitable it has slowed to a trickle of capital.

The startup in question may not have been a unicorn if most unicorns did not exit during the boom, as their real valuation is likely lower than their last private mark. This means that at some point, the startup may no longer be considered a unicorn.

Unicorns, startups, and venture capital:

In the grand scheme of things, unicorns are not as rare as they once were. And while they might lack some of the mythical qualities that have cemented their place in pop culture, most unicorns are actually legitimate startups that have received outsized investment due to a combination of low interest rates and a choppy global economy. However, even though startup funding has never been more accessible or bountiful than it is today, there is often little substance to back up these expectations. Consequently, many unicorn companies end up struggling or going out of business – yielding what can be considered a loosely defined “unicorn” status quo.

CB Insights’ data shows that in the past year, there has been a surge of interest and activity from investors focused on hyperlocal startups. Given the proliferation of new technological platforms that make it easier for people to connect with each other in their local communities, these startups are well-positioned to grow rapidly.

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Kira Kim

Kira Kim is a science journalist with a background in biology and a passion for environmental issues. She is known for her clear and concise writing, as well as her ability to bring complex scientific concepts to life for a general audience.

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