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The Growth of New Unicorns in 2019 Is Higher Than Previous Years

Unicorn is a mythical creature depicted by a horse with a long, straight horn on its forehead. Also, this term describes the valuable companies which have attained a stunning valuation of over $1 billion.
By Linda Au | EnvZone Staff
on January 16, 2020 | 9 min read
Image Credit: DSW & Kari Geha Photography

There are 142 companies that joined the Crunchbase Unicorn Boar until Dec. 25, 2019. The figure found was lower than that of 2018 with 158 companies, but it was higher than the figures of 2017 (102 companies), 2016 (87 companies) and 2015 (106 companies). The differences are defined by a private valuation in a funding round within the financial range of at least $1 billion.

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Image Credit: Press Associate

In 2019, the US reported 78 new unicorns emerged, which was 11 more than in 2018. Not many Chinese unicorns were created in 2019: 22 new unicorns compared to 58 unicorns in 2018. Located in the 3rd and 4th places are Germany and Brazil, with the same count of new unicorns (5 unicorns established). Finally, Israel, India, and the UK all recorded a similar quantity of unicorns at 4 new start-ups in one year.

Unicorn Funding by Year

Viewed from the 2019 start-up scene, the funding is now switching from a new unicorn cohort to all of the new unicorns. During the last year, unicorns successfully raised $85.1 billion - which was much lower than 2018 ($139 billion), and 2017 ($93.8 billion).

Despite the potential changes due to WeWork pulling their IPO on Sept. 30, 2019, the funding for unicorns still went up by 11 percent; however, it quickly dropped by 54 percent by the next year. 2018 experienced two famous rounds which named the largest rounds ever to unicorns with $14 billion invested in Ant Financial, and $12.8 billion to Juul. Nevertheless, those rounds do not count in the total increased funding for unicorns in 2018 but we can expect that 2019 funding invested could increase with a greater rate than prior years as new unicorns are minted in 2020.

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Image Credit: Press Associate

2019 Unicorn Cohort

In 2019, new unicorns added up to $216 billion to firm valuations and raised $50.5 billion in equity funding in total. The most dominant categories included Financial Services, Commerce and Shopping, Data and Analytics, Transportation, SaaS, and Health Care.

The five most highly valued new unicorns include:

#1. Uber Advanced Technologies Group ($7.3 billion) the autonomous vehicles subsidiary from Uber

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Image Credit: Uber Advanced Technologies Group

Uber team helps drivers, riders, delivery partners, and eaters get moving in more than 600 cities around the world that set the world in motion. They welcome all people who want to build a future that can help everyone and everything move independently.

#2. JD Health ($7 billion) an e-commerce platform for pharmaceutical products

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Image Credit: JD Health

JD Health is the healthcare subsidiary of JD.com. It is is an e-commerce platform for pharmaceutical products such as vitamins & supplements, medical supplies, contact lenses, adult products, traditional medicine, and more.

#3. Databricks ($6.2 billion) unifying customer analytics

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Image Credit: Databricks

Databricks sets its goal as the leader in Unified Data Analytics with a mission to accelerate innovation, empower data science and data-driven decisions for its customers, and quickly adopt machine learning. Established by the crew creating Apache Spark, Databricks provides a Unified Analytics Platform for data teams to collaborate with data engineering and lines of business to build data products. By this, users can completely tackle challenges within a short period by creating analytic workflows, which go from ETL and interactive exploration to production. Its product has satisfied users who intend to focus on their data with a fully managed, scalable, and secure cloud infrastructure that reduces operational complexity and total cost for ownership. Notably, the company is venture-backed by Andreessen Horowitz and NEA and it now has thousands of global customers including Comcast, Shell, HP, Expedia, and Regeneron after 7 years.

#4. CloudKitchens ($5 billion) Travis Kalanick’s smart kitchens for food delivery

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Image Credit: CloudKitchens

CloudKitchens was founded in 2016 and its headquarter is in Los Angeles, California, United States. This is a real estate company that provides smart kitchens for delivery-only restaurants. Also, they help operators open delivery-only locations at a low cost without a great deal of time.

#5. Rivian ($5 billion) a sustainable automotive technology company

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Image Credit: Rivian

Rivian is an automotive technology company that was founded in 2009. It develops an integrated portfolio of products and services to advance the shift to sustainable mobility. Rivian is step-by-step creating solutions that redefine traditional automotive economics and remove the pain points of conventional ownership based on strong investors and a team of passionate innovators. Rivian has a talented cross-sector team in some areas such as Detroit, San Francisco and Normal, Illinois.

Five companies that became unicorns in 2019 and also went public in the same year, listed in order of IPO valuation, are:

#1. 10X Genomics ($3.7 billion) a genomics platform

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Image Credit: 10X Genomics

Founded in 2012, 10x Genomics received fundings from marquee global investors such as Venrock, Softbank Foresite Capital, Fidelity, and Meritech Capital. With the mission to resolve biology to advance human health, 10x Genomics has committed to devote to new biology, human health, and disease breakthroughs. Based on a clear vision: 'This is the Century of Biology.', the firm enables the acceleration of genetic discoveries with exceptional resolutions. Sooner or later, the world will transform by biological innovations; therefore, it is expected to hasten this progress by powering fundamental research across the life sciences, including oncology, immunology, and neuroscience. They're presently applying their study in the Human Cell Atlas project as well as taking a foremost place among biomedical research institutes, pharmaceutical companies, and clinics.

#2. Vir Biotechnology ($1.7 billion) targeted at treating infectious diseases

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Image Credit: Vir Biotechnology

Vir handles some of the world’s most challenging infectious diseases for which solutions are non-existent or inadequate by brings together cutting-edge innovations with leading scientific expertise and management. Vir takes a new approach and uses breakthroughs in immune programming to manipulate pathogen-host interactions.

Under the guidance of rigorous science and driven by medical need, Vir will take a multi-program, multi-platform approach to applying these breakthroughs.

#3. The RealReal ($1.7 billion) a marketplace for luxury goods

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Image Credit: The RealReal

The RealReal is the world’s largest online marketplace for authenticated, consigned luxury goods. This is a safe and reliable platform where consumers can purchase and sell luxury items based on a rigorous authentication process overseen by experts.

The RealReal has more than 100 in-house gemologists, horologists and brand authenticators who inspect thousands of items each day. As a sustainable company, it can support the circular economy as well as give new life to hundreds of luxury brands such as Gucci, Cartier, etc.

In addition, it makes consigning effortless with free in-home pickup, drop-off service and direct shipping for individual consignors and estates. Furthermore, customers can shop, consign, and meet with experts at stores in LA and NYC.

#4. Bill.com ($1.6 billion) which automates back-office financial operations

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Image Credit: Bill.com

This is a provider of cloud-based software that simplifies, digitizes, and automates complex, back-office financial operations for small and midsize businesses.

Bill.com creates connections between businesses and their suppliers and clients, helps businesses manage their cash inflows and outflows by using artificial intelligence.

The company cooperates with several of the largest U.S. financial institutions such as the top 100 U.S. accounting firms and accounting software providers endorsed by the American Institute of CPAs (AICPA).

#5. Health Catalyst ($1.3 billion) to manage healthcare data

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Image Credit: Health Catalyst

Health Catalyst is always on top of the list when it comes to solving healthcare data warehouse issues. What is worth noting is that it has reduced the complexity of people's work: organizing health data, full understanding and doing big data standing on their heads when people made a shift from paper to electronic records. In fact, Health Catalyst helps to organize, normalize, and link the data from all of your distinct systems. They make it even more searchable for all kinds of users by using their rich metadata capabilities. In other words, Health Catalyst's product enables customers to use the data for complicated operational, financial, clinical and research reporting requirements to give them answers in the fastest way.

What is worth mentioning is that these companies witnessed significant increases in unicorn valuations at their IPO since their last private funding rounds in 2019, ranging from 25 percent for Health Catalyst to 189 percent for 10X Genomics.

Investors in The 2019 Unicorn Cohort

Due to the fact that $50 billion was invested in this new unicorn cohort, it is of interest to expect valuable benefits that unicorns will bring to the community. Following the chart below, here are the most prominent new unicorn investors in 2019:

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Image Credit: Press Associate

As can be seen from the chart, Insight Partners invested in 13 portfolio companies, Spark Capital and Tiger Global Management pumped into 11 companies, and New Enterprise Associates, GV, General Atlantic, and SV Angel recorded the same number of 10 companies. This chart shows distinct types of venture capitals: early and late-stage venture, corporate venture, and private equity/alternative investors. They’re all actively seeking stakes in highly valued venture-backed start-ups.

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Image Credit: Press Associate

It is clear that the most active investors based on deal counts, which leads investors to multiple rounds for new start-ups in 2019 unicorn ranks consist of these names: New Enterprise Associates in 30 rounds, Insight Partners (26), Kleiner Perkins and GV (25), Accel and Spark Capital (24).

Some Investors in new Unicorns

#1. Insight Partners 

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Image Credit: Insight Partners

Insight Partners is the most trusted scale-up firm in the software industry which was founded in 1995. Industry-leading experts of Insight Partners cooperate with companies to drive extraordinary success that is fueled by know-how, grit, and hands-on collaboration.

At present, it has over $20 billion of assets under management and has cumulatively invested in more than 300 companies in all over the world.

#2. Spark Capital

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Image Credit: Spark Capital

This company is headquartered in San Francisco, Boston, and New York. It cooperates with exceptional founders who are driven to move people with the products and experiences they create.

Spark invests in companies at all stages of their life cycle. Spark's most recent funds include a $400 million early-stage venture fund and a $600 million venture growth fund. There are $3 billion which is under Spark management.

#3. New Enterprise Associates

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Image Credit: New Enterprise Associates

This is a global venture capital firm that concentrates on helping entrepreneurs build transformational businesses across multiple stages, sectors, and geographies. In 1977, New Enterprise Associates, Inc. was established with over $19 billion in cumulative committed capital.

NEA invests in technology and healthcare companies at all stages in a company’s lifecycle, from seed stage through IPO. The firm's long track record of successful investing includes more than 210 portfolio company IPOs and more than 360 acquisitions.

#4. GV

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Image Credit: GV

In 2019, GV is established as Google Ventures which is the venture capital arm of Alphabet, Inc. They’ve invested in more than 300 companies that push the edge of what’s possible. They improve lives and change industries in areas such as life science, healthcare, artificial intelligence, robotics, transportation, cybersecurity, and agriculture.

GV has cooperated with a team of world-class engineers, designers, physicians, scientists, marketers, and investors to offer these startups exceptional support on the way to success.

#5. General Atlantic

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Image Credit: General Atlantic

This company is a global growth equity firm that was founded in 1980. It provides capital and strategic support for growth companies and combines a collaborative global approach, sector-specific expertise, a long-term investment horizon and a deep understanding of growth drivers to cooperate with great entrepreneurs and management teams to build exceptional businesses around the world.

General Atlantic has more than 100 investment professionals based in New York, Amsterdam, Beijing, Greenwich, Hong Kong, London, Mexico City, Mumbai, Munich, Palo Alto, São Paulo, and Singapore. 

#6. SV Angel

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Image Credit: SV Angel

Founded by Ron Conway in 2009, SV Angel provides seed investment and advice for start-ups that focus on Internet software. SV Angel adopts an initial portfolio approach. We differentiate it from a traditional venture capital company by not sitting in the chair and investing a greater number of companies. We take advantage of the best network of contacts to become the router of people in the valley and help new businesses grow their businesses, finances, mergers and acquisitions and other strategic advice. Surprisingly, Mr. Conway pioneered this method more than 20 years ago. Nevertheless, SV Angel still applies it until today. For the last 20 years, the company and its partners have invested and advised companies such as Facebook, Google, PayPal, Dropbox, Airbnb, Pinterest, Twitter, SnapChat, Square, Cloudera, etc.

2019 Unicorns by Founders

Obviously, there is no worry of funding for these high-value companies; however, there is still a big gap between the number of males and the number of female start-up founders. In 2019, only 5 of the new unicorns (4%) had founders who were only feminine, with 16 (12%) being co-founded by a mixed group. Notably, 114 unicorns (84%) had male-only founders.

As the data shows, more female-founded unicorns were born in 2019 than before.

In 2019, while the stories of Glossier and Rent the Runway and The RealReal rewarded and emphasized the power and strength of female founders, there is no denying that it stands another trending perspective: the diversity of funds presently focused on more impactful funds.

According to Crunchbase, female unicorn founders had seen a historical year with several successes, within an unprecedented speed of development.

For financial context in 2018, 15 unicorns established with at least one female founder. The figure recorded in 2019 is 21 start-ups founded/co-founded by a woman and they rapidly developed to be a part of potential unicorns. For example, the chart below illustrates the number of companies with at least a female founder passed the $1 billion in valuation mark each year, starting in 2005.

Conclusion

Many companies are becoming new Unicorns that is a considerable increase. What may this effect on the economy and market? Whether your businesses are under this influence of status or not? If so, what is your matter? Do not hesitate to contact us to share your problem. We are ready here to support you.

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