A unicorn is a privately held startup company with a current valuation of US$1 billion or more, across technology centers throughout the world. These unicorns are primarily located in consumer, technology, finance, hospitality, retail, and communications. Startups are taking advantage of the flood of new technology of the last decade to obtain Unicorn status.
With the explosion of social media and access to millions to gain massive economies of scale, startups have the ability to expand their business faster than ever. Innovations in technology including smartphones, P2P platforms, and cloud computing with the combination of social media applications have aided in the growth of unicorns.
Valuations for unicorns usually come from funding rounds of large venture capital firms investing in these start-up companies.
As of January 2022, there are more than 963 unicorns in nearly 45 countries with the US, China, India, Israel, and France being the top five countries with the most number of Unicorns. The US is estimated to have 460 unicorns, China has 301, India 88, Israel 30, and France has 24 unicorns.
ByteDance with an evaluation of $140 billion, SpaceX with $100 billion, Stripe with $95 billion, Klarna with $45.6 billion, and Canva with $40 billion are the 5 largest unicorns. The rise of unicorns has raised hopes of innovation and entrepreneurship-driven growth at a time when Covid-19 has caused much damage.
The rise of unicorns illustrates how structural transformations unleash positive and countervailing forces in many sectors. However, the aggregate outcome depends upon how the economy — workers, firms, and government — responds to fundamental change.