You may wonder, why the name of mythical animal Unicorn is used to describe about the status of company. Before 2013, nobody used unicorn startup word to describe the financial status of the company.
In 2013, venture capitalist Aileen Lee coined the term Unicorn status.
What does Unicorn in business mean?
Any privately held startup company whose valuation is over $1 billion is given the term Unicorn startup. The term Unicorn was chosen to represent statistical rarity of such events.
Every entrepreneur dream about achieving unicorn status for their startups but achieving unicorn status is rare event for any company. According to the data, only 2 percent of startups achieve unicorn status conforming the rarity of event.
But as they say, every coin has a two side to it. Even with the rarity of achieving unicorn status, some companies have achieved it successfully.
The four ways for you to build a successful unicorn startup are:
- Assemble the right product
- Secure the right investment
- Commit yourself to rapid growth
- Select a space to scale
In this article, let’s look at the companies which have successfully achieved unicorn status over the years. Here is the list of most Popular Unicorn Startups:
Bird was founded on September 2017 by the ex-executive at Lyft and Uber Travis VanderZanden. It is a dockless scooter-share company based in Santa Monica, California. Bird is low cost transportation and perfect for operating in cities.
According to PitchBook, Bird rose to unicorn status faster than any other company, securing a $2 billion valuation in less than a year. The company operates electric scooters in over 100 cities throughout North America, Europe, and Asia, with 10 million rides in its first year of operation. You can ready full story of Bird here.
Elon Musk founded SpaceX on 2002 with the goal of making space transportation affordable and colonization of Mars. SpaceX is a private American aerospace manufacturer and space transportation company headquartered in California. It has closely worked with NASA over the years.
SpaceX is known for making Falcon launch vehicle family for NASA. The first Falcon reached the earth orbit in 2008 and since then SpaceX has never looked back.
Elon Musk has 54 percent equity in the company and the company is valued at $30.5 billion as of December 2018.
Uber Technology Incorporate is a transportation network company founded on March 2009 in San Francisco, California. It provides ride sharing services, food delivery, peer-to-peer ridesharing and bicycle sharing system. The company net worth is $72 billion as of August 2018, making it one of the unicorn startup company.
Uber is estimated to have more than 110 million users worldwide and controls 69 percent of market share in America.
The company expects to become Public company via public offering after May 10, 2019.
The Indian startup company, Paytm has made lot of waves in the market. Paytm was founded in August 2010 by Vijay Shekhar Sharma with the initial investment of $2 million. It is a digital wallet which was initially started as a prepaid mobile and DTH recharge platform, and later added data card, postpaid mobile and landline bill payments in 2013.
Paytm growth multiplied when the Indian government announced demonetization on November 8, 2016. After demonetization, Paytm became India’s first payment app to reach to cross over 100 million app downloads.
The startup is valued at $10 billion as of January 2018, making it one of the popular Unicorn Startup from India.
5. Ant Financial
Ant Financial Services Group, previously known as Alipay is an affiliated company of the Chinese Alibaba Group. It was founded on October 16, 2014 and within the span of four years Ant Financial has become the highest valued unicorn startup with the valuation of US$150 billion.
Ant Financial is the world’s largest mobile and online payment platform with over 588 million users on their platform. The major service offered by Ant Financial are: Electronic payment processing, Banking and Mobile Payment.
Didi Chuxing Technology Co. Previously known as Didi Kuaidi is a Chinese transportation network company, artificial intelligence and autonomous technology conglomerate. It was founded by Cheng Wei in Beijing, china on 2012.
The major service provided by the company are taxi hailing, private car hailing, social ride-sharing, bike sharing and food delivery to users in China via a smartphone application.
The company in recent times has also involved in autonomous driving and Artificial intelligence (AI), hiring researchers and investing in these areas.
Didi ride sharing service now carries 30 million rides per day. Didi valuation is at $56 billion making it as one of the most successful unicorn startup company.
Beijing ByteDance Technology Co Ltd or popularly known as ByteDance was founded by Zhang Yiming on March 2012. It is a Chinese Internet technology company operating several machine learning-enabled content platforms which has its headquarter in Beijing.
The core product of the company is Toutiao, is a popular content platform in China. Toutiao initially started out as a news recommendation engine and gradually evolved into a platform delivering content in a variety of formats, such as texts, images, question-and-answer posts, microblogs, and videos.
The other products of the company are: TikTok, Buzz Video and Vigo Video. The company have over 800 million daily active users across all its content platform.
ByteDance is valued at US $78 billion as of November 2018. This is the second most valued unicorn startup after Ant Financial.
Miguel McKelvey and Adam Neumann founded WeWork in 2010. WeWork is an American Company that provides shared workspaces for technology startup subculture communities, and services for entrepreneurs, freelancers, startups, small businesses and large enterprises.
The company designs and builds physical and virtual shared spaces and office services for entrepreneurs and companies.
With the valuation of $45 billion, WeWork has made its way to most popular unicorn status.
An online marketplace and hospitality service provider company Airbnb was founded by Brian Chesky, Joe Gebbia and Nathan Blecharczyk on August 2008.
Airbnb provides hospitality services to its members which they can access via mobile app. Members can use the service to arrange or offer lodging, primarily homestays, or tourism experiences. The company does not own any of the real estate listings, nor does it host events; it acts as a broker, receiving commissions from every booking.
Airbnb, the American based hospitality service company is valuated at $ 38 billion and makes it into the list of most popular unicorn status.
10. Ola Cabs
Bhavish Agrawal and Ankit Bhatti, two Indian youth started India’s own transportation network company OLA cabs on December 3, 2008.
Customers can book the cabs by using mobile app but that was not always the case. In the initial years, booking was done via phone calls. The slow internet connection hampered the growth of Ola in initial years but with the increase in speed of internet, the growth has also gone up.
Ola Cabs acquired food delivery company Foodpanda in December, 2017. It has also expanded its transportation network services to Australia, New Zealand and UK.
With the valuation of US $6.2 billion as of May 2019, Ola Cabs becomes the only second Indian company to make into the list of most popular unicorn startups.