In 2021, the pace of new unicorns has increased considerably, almost reaching 1,000 current private unicorns on the Crunchbase Private Unicorn Board.
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We started 2020 with one new unicorn every two to three working days. By September of 2020 that jumped to one per working day. The pacing in 2021 has sprung to two or three per working day, with over 400 companies joining the board this year so far.
Valuations have also increased. Companies on the unicorn board are currently valued at $3.4 trillion, a boost in value of $1.4 trillion in less than a year, excluding exited unicorns.
The four most highly valued private companies include two based in China and two based in the United States. These include China’s ByteDance (owner of TikTok) and Ant Group, and U.S. companies Stripe (which also has a Dublin headquarters) and SpaceX. These four companies alone would remove $500 billion in value should they go public.
The company with the highest valuation in a funding round in 2021 is Stripe, valued at $95 billion in its $600 million Series H funding. Stripe’s total funding is $2.2 billion per Crunchbase data.
A further seven companies, worth $30 billion and above that are still private, reached the “tricorn” valuation. These include Instacart, Databricks, Flipkart, Revolut, Nubank and Cruise which hail from the U.S., India, United Kingdom and Brazil.
Shifting trends by continent
Funding to unicorn companies by continent per annum shows dramatic shifts over time.
In 2021, to date, U.S.-headquartered companies have raised $99 billion–up more than 50 percent year over year. Asia currently tracks at $51 billion, also up marginally year over year.
Europe is up significantly–almost threefold–year over year, with $39 billion invested in unicorn companies. And Latin America is up to $10 billion, showing close to a fourfold increase so far year over year.
2021 IPOs swell
Exits have also swelled in 2021. We find 83 unicorn-valued companies that went public in 2021 to date, are collectively valued at just under $1 trillion at IPO, compared to 2020 with 38 listings and a debut value of $394 billion.
Unicorn company valuations at IPO show a much bigger range in 2021 compared with prior years. So far, 22 unicorn companies have gone public above $10 billion in 2021, compared to 13 companies in 2020. In all prior years, counts above $10 billion at debut were in the lower single digits.
We expect the pace of private unicorns to go public to continue at a strong clip into 2022, with close to 1,000 companies on the board alongside the climb in valuations for public technology stocks in the last 18 months.
Crunchbase Pro queries relevant to this article
- Crunchbase Unicorn Board (~1,000)
- Exited unicorns in Crunchbase (338)
- Emerging unicorns in Crunchbase (268)
- Unicorns in the United States (481)
- European private unicorns (132)
- Unicorns from Latin America (22)
- Unicorns based in Asia (349)
- North American and European unicorns valued above $10 billion (23)
Illustration: Li-Anne Dias
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