what is a unicorn startup

What is a Unicorn Startup? A Definition and Examples

Although it may seem improbable to outsiders, the finance world does indeed have and use terms such as ‘unicorn.’ It refers to a special kind of company, and it can branch out in other pairing terms as you are about to see. But what is a unicorn startup? Here is the definition along with some examples.

The Definition

The terms ‘unicorn startup’ was coined by the founder of Cowboy Ventures, Aileen Lee. It is mostly used in the venture capital industry, and it refers to any given tech startup that has reached $1 billion in market value. This needs to be determined by private or public investments.

Aileen Lee chose the mythical animal as a metaphor of how rare such financially successful ventures really are.

Other Types of ‘Corns’

Still, believe it or not, there are other types of business ventures that are even more elusive than the unicorn. So, if you think that a billion dollar company means a lot, wait until you see these.

There is also a decacorn. It means that the company is worth over $10 billion. Examples include Snapchat, valued at $16 billion, Pinterest, valued at $11 billion SpaceX, valued at $12 billion, Airbnb – $25.5 billion, and Uber, which is worth $51 billion.

However, even they are topped by hectocorns. These are companies valued at over $100 billion. Are you curious to see some examples? Here they are. Hectocorns include Cisco, Oracle, Facebook, and, of course, Microsoft and Google.

Here’s a fun thing. The finance world also recognizes narwhals, which are unicorns, but Canadian. They include Slack, Hootsuite, Kik, Shopify, and Avigilon. Which brings us back to this and what is a unicorn startup.

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Examples of Unicorns

Here are the elusive unicorns.

1. Rubicon Global

This company is based on allowing businesses to order trash collection from waste haulers if they need it. This helps them recycle a lot more. Rubicon Global is worth $1 billion, and Leonardo DiCaprio is one of its investors.

2. Katerra

Worth $1 billion, Katerra provides software for construction, as far as purchasing, logistics, and design go. They are now looking to expand so that they can reach the $2.5 billion mark.

3. Desktop Metal

This company rode high on the wave of 3D printing. They make their own 3D printer which can print out metal. They are currently valued at $1.02 billion.

4. Rocket Lab

Even though this sounds like something straight out of Dexter’s Lab, Rocket Lab does it for real. They offer launch vehicles for satellites which are on a rocket-for-hire basis. Yes, in other words, they rent out the launching pads for satellites. They are worth $1.10 billion.

5. Robinhood

Much like the English hero, Robinhood is a company set out to do good. They are based on an app which allows for ‘free stock trading.’ This means that, when you use it, you can buy your favorite stocks without paying any commissions.

As you can well see, knowing what is a unicorn startup is not enough. There are also other types of unicorns out there that deserve your attention if you plan on making it big in the business world. Let us know your opinion in the comment section below.