What Is a Tech Unicorn? The 9 Biggest Examples
Tech unicorn is a buzzword you keep hearing now and then. The global financial scenario allows the startups to collect investment through private funding without going public. Hence, the number of tech unicorns is increasing faster than ever.
Read on this article to know what makes a company tech unicorn and find out the big names in the list.
What Is a Tech Unicorn?
While a unicorn is an imaginary creature, the idea of a tech unicorn is based on real-life. In venture capital, a unicorn refers to a private startup company with a value of $1 billion or more.
Venture capitalist Aileen Lee coined the term unicorn startup in 2013, and the reason behind the reference was the rarity of such companies, like the mythical animal.
Tech unicorn means a privately held technology-based startup company that has a valuation of over $1 billion. As of August 2021, there are more than 800 unicorn companies globally, and the number is growing.
So, now you know the term, let’s check out some of the biggest tech unicorns from the past few years.
If ByteDance sounds unfamiliar to you, this is the company that owns TikTok. Founded by Zhang Yiming and his team in 2012, it became a tech unicorn in 2017.
At present, the company has a valuation of $140 billion. Sequoia Capital China, Sina Weibo, SIG Asia Investments, Softbank Group are a few big names that invested in this company. Besides TikTok, the company also owns another video-sharing social platform named Douyin and a news content platform Toutiao.
These platforms accumulate around 1.9 billion monthly users. Apart from these, the company employs around 110,000 people.
Stripe is a fintech SaaS company that offers payment processing software and APIs for e-commerce websites and mobile apps. This Irish-American was founded in 2009, and it became a tech unicorn in 2014.
The current value of this company is $95 billion, and it received investments from Sequoia Capital, General Catalyst, Elon Musk, Andreessen Horowitz, SV Angel, CapitalG, Tiger Global Management, Ireland’s National Treasury Management Agency, etc.
It also offers services like fraudulent transaction blocker, invoicing, point of sale service, etc. The company employs more than 4,000 people. It has its headquarters in both California and Dublin.
SpaceX or Space Exploration Technologies Corp. is probably the most famous name on this list. Elon Musk founded this company in 2002 to reduce the cost of space transportation.
The current value of this company is $100.3 billion with investors like Founders Fund, Rothenberg Ventures, Fidelity, Gigafund, Valor Equity Partners, etc.
Related: How to Watch SpaceX Launches Live
It has more than 9,500 full-time employees. Currently, the company focuses on manufacturing and launching spacecraft, advanced rockets, cargos, and communications satellites.
Some outstanding achievements of SpaceX are the first private company to successfully launch a rocket into orbit and recover, launch and re-enter the first privately developed spacecraft from low-Earth orbit, delivery of 11 communications satellites to orbit by a rocket, etc.
Klarna, or Klarna Bank AB, is a Swedish fintech company that offers online financial services to its users. The company was founded in Stockholm, Sweden, in 2015.
It now has its branches in 15 locations. The company became a tech unicorn in 2012. With the investments from institutions like Venture Partners, Sequoia Capital, General Atlantic, Dragoneer Investment Group, Commonwealth Bank of Australia, etc., its current value reached $45.6 billion.
Its employee count is around 4,000. Klarna offers safe payment solutions for direct payments, online storefront payments, and post-purchase payments.
Canva is a tech unicorn that is a part of the internet software & services industry. It’s also a globally familiar name for online graphics design utilizing drag-and-drop editing. It helps numerous content creators to post appealing graphics on social media, web designing, and blogging sites.
Founded in Australia, it became a unicorn in 2018. Currently, the company has a valuation of $40 billion.
Some of its top investors are Blackbird Ventures, Sequoia Capital China, Matrix Partners. With more than 1,500 employees and 55 million active monthly users, the company is advancing steadily to become a leading graphic design platform. It offers easy-to-use templates to create any visual content like posters, presentations, and documents.
Instacart is a big name in the supply chain, logistics, & delivery industry. This American tech unicorn provides customers of the United States and Canada with grocery delivery and pick-up service.
It got its unicorn status in 2014. The current worth of the company is $39 billion.
Its top investors include T. Rowe Price, Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers, Sequoia Capital, Andreessen Horowitz, D1 Capital Partners, etc. Besides 10,000 employees, the grocery company has around 10 million customers.
The company assigns a personal shopper for each order. The associate collects, packages, and delivers the products to the customer within the delivery deadline.
Databricks is a centralized platform for data and AI. It’s also the maiden lakehouse platform in the cloud. The current value of this organization is $38 billion.
The investments from Andreessen Horowitz, BlackRock, CapitalG, Fidelity Investments, Microsoft, and Salesforce Ventures, turned it into a tech unicorn in 2019.
The company was founded in 2013 and employs around 2000 people. Today, more than 5,000 organizations globally use the services Databricks offer.
Revolut is another fintech company on this list. Founded in 2015, this company offers banking services.
Thanks to the investments of companies like Index Ventures, DST Global, and Ribbit Capital, the current valuation of this company is $33 billion. It became a unicorn in 2018 while it employs more than 1500 employees.
In 2021, it became the most valuable tech startup in the history of the United Kingdom. Revolut offers financial services like current accounts, insurance, stock trading, debit cards, currency exchange, and foreign exchange.
9. Epic Games
Epic Games is an American company that primarily focuses on video game development and publishing. It became a unicorn in 2018 and currently has a value of $28.7 billion.
Headquartered in North Carolina, United States, it has more than 1,000 employees. It received investments from companies like Tencent Holdings, KKR, Smash Ventures.
Some of its subsidiaries are Chair Entertainment, Psyonix, Cloudengine, RAD Game Tools, Kamu, Capturing Reality, Quixel, SuperAwesome, Cubic Motion, etc.
Popular games released by this company are Fortnite, Rocket League, Auto Chess, Hitman 3, Bugsnax, World War Z, Unreal, Dauntless, etc.
Startups with Disruptive Innovations
Due to technological advancement, most of the unicorns belong to the IT industry. Here, we have listed some of the biggest tech unicorns. By going through this article, you’ll get a clear idea about their valuation, investors, and the services they provide.
Want to start investing? Have no idea where to begin? Here are the best stock and investment apps for beginners.
About The Author
(185 Articles Published)
Tamal is a freelance writer at MakeUseOf. After gaining substantial experience in technology, finance, and business processes in his previous job in an IT consulting company, he adopted writing as a full-time profession 3 years ago. While not writing about productivity and the latest tech news, he loves to play Splinter Cell and binge-watch Netflix/ Prime Video.
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November 3, 2021 at 04:04AM