Unicorns, Venture Capital and Startups around the World

Unicorns around the world

Technology have enabled us to be more connected than ever, have access to reliable information at the top of our fingertips and develop new products in a matter of days. Yet, the failure rate of startups remains as high as ever. It takes a brave and capable founder team to leap over the chasm where most startups die.

However, every once in awhile there is a startup that defies what everyone thinks is possible and reaches one billion dollar valuation in a short period of time. Such companies are called “unicorns” because they are so rare. Unicorns often disrupt existing markets or create entirely new ones, as they creatively leverage technology and clever go-to-market strategies.

Today, our team, used data from CB Insights to identify and map unicorns around the world. It turns out that the unicorn club is comprised of 222 private companies with a total valuation of ~$775B! Our research excludes debt funding and covers only VC-backed companies.

Most of those companies are located in the US, to be precise, 50% of the world’s unicorns are located there. However, since 2014 the number of unicorns outside the US has been increasing significantly from 37% to 53% in 2015 and 58% in 2016. To illustrate this point, in 2017, 42 companies joined the club out of those 24 were based outside the US.

Most valuable startups in the world

As of 2017, the most valuable startup is California-based Uber having a valuation of $68B, followed by Didi Chuxing $56B, Xiaomi $46B, Airbnb $31B, SpaceX $21B and WeWork $20,2B.

International Unicorn Club (Unicorns, Venture Capital and Startups around the World - Greenhouse)

By sector

Looking at all 222 private companies we can see that most of them fall under E-commerce sector (17%), followed by Internet Software and Services (14%) and FinTech (11%).

By country

Abroad in the US, China has the largest number of private unicorn companies – 55 total. Following China with most unicorn-rich countries are India (11) and the UK (13).

Asia is the largest and most populated continent, as a result, nearly one-third of all unicorns are headquartered there. Asian countries having unicorns are South Korea (Coupang, CG Games, Yello Mobile), Singapore (Grab and SEA aka Garena), Japan (Mercari) and Indonesia (Go-Jek, Tokopedia, and Traveloka).

Africa has a total of 3 unicorns, Africa Internet Group (Nigeria), Promasidor Holdings and Cell C. Middle East as well have 3 unicorns ironSource, Infinidat (Israel) and Careem (UAE), while South America only two LifeMiles (Colombia) and Decolar (Argentina).

If we do not consider US and China, most valuable unicorns are the Indian e-commerce platform Flipkart ($11.6B) and the Swedish Spotify ($8.5B).

Distribution of unicorn companies located outside the US by geography (Unicorns, Venture Capital and Startups around the World - Greenhouse)
Unicorn companies in the world

Venture Capital

The three most active VC investors in the US (by the total number of deals) are Sequoia Capital, Andreessen Horowitz, and Khosla Ventures. While in Asia, the most active VCs are (in the following order, by the number of deals) 500 Startups, East Ventures, Golden Gate Ventures, CyberAgent Ventures, WaveMaker Partners, and Gobi Partners respectively.

Take into consideration that debt funding is excluded. Only Venture Capital backed companies have been included with at least $1M of equity funding to date (since 2012).

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