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April Monthly Recap: 39 New Unicorns Are Born And Tiger Global Leads In Another Blockbuster Month For VC Investment

Illustration of founder turning calendar page from March to April. [Dom Guzman]

Global venture funding in April 2021 continued at a strong pace, following an all-time record funding month in March. Venture capital and growth investors invested $48 billion last month, according to Crunchbase data, marking the second-highest month for investments in private companies following $54 billion invested in March.

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All funding stages saw an increase compared with a year ago: Late-stage funding more than doubled year over year; seed-stage funding grew by a third; and early stage by 50 percent.

More unicorns

In our February monthly recap we counted more than 700 private unicorn startups. Just two months later, the count is north of 800 companies. This uptick does not include the 18 companies that exited the list since March by going public or being acquired.

On average, about two companies joined the Crunchbase Unicorn Board every working day in April. More than half of these — 28 companies — are headquartered in the U.S.

India was the country with the second-highest count, at six new unicorns. The most highly valued of those is freight and delivery company J&T Express, based in Jakarta, Indonesia. It raised a $2 billion round, valuing the company at $8 billion, from Chinese investors Boyu Capital, Hillhouse Capital Group and Sequoia Capital China. The company has market share across Southeast Asia and supports major e-commerce players Pinduoduo in China and Shopee in Southeast Asia, according to The Information.

Active investors

Much has been written about Tiger Global’s investment pace of late. This year, between January and April, the hedge fund has made 93 investments per Crunchbase data, already exceeding its 2020 investment count. The firm was also the most active investor in April, investing in 32 companies, 25 of which are new portfolio companies. Tiger Global led 21 of its investments this past month.

Other active private equity or alternative investors in April included Insight Partners, Coatue, Temasek, SoftBank Vision Fund and BlackRock. These investors led fundings worth $10 billion in total last month, with just under $6 billion of that invested in unicorns. For these firms, 23 percent of the deals they led are at seed or early-stage venture.

From the venture side, Accel, Andreessen Horowitz and Global Founders Capital led the most funding rounds. These firms consistently show up in our investor leaderboards. RA Capital Management, an investor in life sciences and drug development, has also significantly increased its investing pace so far in 2021.

Of these investors, Insight Partners, Andreessen Horowitz, Coatue, RA Capital Management, Softbank Vision Fund and BlackRock have invested between 70 percent and 90 percent of their 2020 investment count in the first four months of 2021.

Decacorns in the IPO markets

Three companies went public at valuations above $10 billion in April.

San Francisco-based Coinbase, a cryptocurrency exchange went public via a direct listing and was valued at $86 billion at the end of the closing day, making it one of the most highly valued venture-backed listings. The stock is currently down from $328, trading at $279 as of May 5 — down around 15 percent.

Andreessen Horowitz along with Union Square Ventures and Ribbit Capital are the standout investors this month based on their stake in Coinbase.

The other two companies exceeding the $10 billion threshold this past month are: New York-based robotic process automation company UiPath — founded in Bucharest, Romania — valued at $35.6 billion; and Palo Alto-based AppLovin, a mobile app company, which was valued at $28 billion.

By contrast, some of the largest U.S. venture-backed IPOs include Facebook, which went public back in 2012 and was valued at $104 billion. Airbnb went public in late 2020, and closed its first day at $100 billion, and Snowflake also a 2020 IPO, saw its stock climb to $70.4 billion at the end of trading.

Value creation

So far, 11 companies on a global basis have debuted above $10 billion this year, compared to 13 companies for the whole of 2020.

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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 May  4, 2021.

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

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