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The Unicorn Report: Fewer Startups Stampeded Into The Billion-Dollar Club In March 

Editor’s note: This is a new monthly column tracking changes to The Crunchbase Unicorn Board and providing analysis and updates on private companies valued at $1 billion or more.  

Fewer companies joined The Crunchbase Unicorn Board in March compared to previous months, and none made public debuts amid a stalled IPO market and signs of a venture funding slowdown and lower late-stage valuations.

There were 34 private companies newly valued at $1 billion or more in a disclosed funding in March 2022, compared to 49 in February and 46 in January, per Crunchbase data.  

Earlier this year, the value of the Unicorn Board reached $4 trillion for the first time. It’s now collectively valued at $4.3 trillion with 1,260 companies listed. 

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The slowdown in unicorn creation is a sign that the funding markets are shifting away from the momentum built up in 2021, when startups raised funding at higher valuations and often within months of prior fundings. 

Decacorn creation continues

Still, seven companies have been newly valued as decacorns—private companies valued at $10 billion or more—so far in 2022. 

That includes two new decacorns minted last month: Istanbul-based delivery company Getir was valued at $11.8 billion led by Mubadala, and London-based cryptocurrency exchange platform Blockchain.com was valued at $14 billion in a round led by Baillie Gifford and Lightspeed Venture Partners

In 2021, a total of 37 companies were valued as decacorns for the first time, per Crunchbase data, up from 15 companies in 2020.    

New unicorns

The majority of new unicorns in the past month were U.S.-based companies, the most highly valued of which was San Francisco-based AngelList, which raised $100 million at a $4.05 billion valuation led by Tiger Global and Accomplice

Hot on its heels was Miami-based Yuga Labs, creator of the Bored Ape Yacht Club NFTs, which was valued at $4 billion in its first funding led by a16z.  

  • India added three new unicorns: two providing credit to businesses: CredAvenue and Oxyzo, and gaming company Games24x7
  • China added two new unicorns: speech recognition company Aibee and semiconductor manufacturer SJ Semi.
  • Two unicorns joined from Australia: Linktree, which makes content more discoverable on social platforms, and Immutable for trading and securing NFTs.
  • Germany, Canada and South Korea  each added one new unicorn: German-based Staffbase, an internal communications platform for companies, blockchain LayerZero Labs from Vancouver, and game development company Haegin from South Korea.

Fastest to unicorn

The fastest to unicorn in March 2022 was Aptos, founded in December 2021 by former Meta employees who built its Diem cryptocurrency and are now building layer 1 blockchain technology. Aptos last month closed its very first funding—instantly becoming a unicorn startup as it raised $200 million at a $1 billion valuation. The round was led by the a16z crypto fund with participation from a range of blockchain investors active in the space.

Yuga Labs was also founded just last year. It was valued at $4 billion in its first funding, a $450 million raise it describes as a seed round that was also led also by a16z’s crypto fund alongside an even longer list of investors.  

Blockchain connector company LayerZero Labs was founded in 2021 and raised its $135 million Series A this past month from Sequoia Capital, FTX Ventures and a16z. 

Funding raised by unicorns

Unicorn companies collectively raised $14 billion in funding in March 2022, around 28 percent of all funding last month. 

That’s not too far below the $15 billion raised by unicorns in February 2022, but well below the $26 billion raised by unicorns in March 2021.

So far this year, unicorn companies have averaged around 30 percent of all venture dollars in 2022—down from a hefty 44 percent of all funding in 2021. 

Fewer companies left the board

Not as many companies joined the Unicorn Board in March, and even fewer left. In fact, there were no public debuts from the Unicorn Board in March and just two companies were acquired. 

Santa Monica-based car leasing company Fair was sold off in a fire sale to online car marketplace Shift for less than $50 million—down from its peak valuation of $1.2 billion in 2018.  

And 10-minute delivery company Blinkit, based in India, was acquired by restaurant delivery company Zomato in a deal that values the smaller company at around $800 million, sources told TechCrunch last month—below its 2021 valuation of $1.1 billion. 

IPO market slowdown

There are still a host of companies—most of them unicorns—that we thought were likely candidates to exit in 2022

As we reach the end of the first quarter of the year, with just five public debuts of  billion-dollar-valued companies so far this year, and zero IPOs from our unicorn list in March, these companies—especially the 64 decacorns on the board—will have to hold out for a little longer. 

Methodology

Funding rounds included in this report are seed, angel, venture, corporate-venture and private-equity rounds in venture-backed companies. This reflects data in Crunchbase as of March 31, 2022.

The Crunchbase Unicorn Board is a curated board that includes private unicorn companies with post-money valuations of $1 billion or more and is based on Crunchbase data. New companies are added to the Unicorn Board as they reach the $1 billion valuation mark as part of a funding round. 

Funding to unicorn companies includes all private financings to companies that are tagged as unicorns, as well as those that have since graduated to The Exited Unicorn Board. 

Please note that all funding values are given in U.S. dollars unless otherwise noted. Crunchbase converts foreign currencies to U.S. dollars at the prevailing spot rate from the date funding rounds, acquisitions, IPOs and other financial events are reported. Even if those events were added to Crunchbase long after the event was announced, foreign currency transactions are converted at the historic spot price.

Illustration: Dom Guzman

Update:  This story was amended to add three new companies, Games24x7, LayerZero and Haegin, which were valued at over $1 billion in March 2022.

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