Unicorns are No Longer a Rare Animal

UnicornsAileen Lee, founder of VC firm Cowboy Ventures, is credited with coining the term “Unicorn” regarding startups with a $1 billion valuation (or more). According to NYTimes.com, she tried using several other terms like “Home Run” or “MegaHit” but those sounded too plebian. When the term Unicorn came to her – “it felt right” and has now come to describe, for better or worse, a private company that is the “winner of all winners”.

Since Lee blessed us with her prose, there has been an explosion of Unicorns like Deer on suburban lawns.

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Statista based in Hamburg, Germany, recently sent us a nice graph depicting the growing Unicorn population. Noting that earlier this week, Canadian messaging app Kik raised $50 million from Chinese internet company Tencent. The funding round was completed at a valuation of $1 billion, adding to the pile-up of mystical members in the “Unicorn Club” of startups reaching a valuation of $1 billion or higher before going public.

Herd of UnicornsAccording to The Wall Street Journal there are currently 113 private companies with billion-dollar valuations. Quite a jump up from just 42 in early 2014. Even as some Unicorns have become public markets Roadkill, Statista asks the question;  “if the trend goes on and the number of billion-dollar startups keeps growing at the current rate, we may have to start calling them horses”.

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