Eight companies joined The Crunchbase Unicorn Board in September 2023, adding more than $15 billion in value, while two unicorns finally galloped off onto the public markets.
The two highly valued unicorns, grocery delivery platform Instacart and marketing email automation service Klaviyo, marked the first major venture-backed startup exits since late 2021. Instacart was one of the 10 most highly valued unicorn companies, based on its $39 billion valuation in 2021, and Klaviyo was in the top 100, valued at $9.8 billion in 2021.
While it’s still less than a month since their debuts, each company is currently valued below its IPO price, showing the tepid reception from public-market investors for new technology stocks in this high interest rate environment. As of Oct. 13, Instacart is valued at $7.2 billion and Klaviyo at $8 billion.
Unicorn births slow
September saw a slightly higher-than-average count for new startups joining the Unicorn Board. Through the third quarter of this year, 64 companies have been added to the board, averaging around seven new companies per month. That’s down from 27 companies on average per month in 2022 and 52 new companies on average per month in the peak year of 2021.
The current board boasts north of 1,470 companies that have collectively raised around $900 billion with a combined value just under $5 trillion.
It’s not surprising that new unicorn company counts are way down, as the current board is stacked with companies that likely would not raise funding at billion-dollar valuations in today’s market.
Here are the companies that joined the Unicorn Board in September, by sector.
- The most highly valued new unicorn in September was China-based automotive chipmaker GTA Semiconductor. The company raised $1.8 billion at a value of $6.3 billion from a mix of government institutions, venture and financial capital.
- AI software defense tech company Helsing, based in Germany, raised a $223 million Series B funding led by General Catalyst with participation from Saab. The company was valued around $1.8 billion.
- Beijing-based large language model OpenAI competitor Zhipu AI, which was spun off of Tsinghua University, raised a Series B extension from strategic investors Alibaba and Guangxi Tencent Venture Capital said to value the company around $1.6 billion.
- Imbue, an AI research lab in San Francisco, raised a $200 million Series B which valued the company at $1 billion. The company is building agents with an initial focus on coding with reasoning. The funding was led by Astera Institute with participation from Nvidia.
- Battery manufacturer Ascend Elements, based in Massachusetts, raised a Series D funding of $460 million led by Decarbonization Partners, Qatar Investment Authority and Temasek Holdings. The funding valued the company at $1.5 billion.
- Another battery manufacturer, Verkor, which is based in France, raised $890 million led by the Macquarie Group.
- Sweden-based H2 Green Steel raised $1.6 billion to build a green steel plant. The funding was led by Altor, GIC, Hy24 and Just Climate.
- Direct-to-consumer home insurer Kin Insurance, based in Chicago, raised a $33 million Series D funding extension led by QED Investors. The company was valued at $1 billion.
Related Crunchbase unicorn queries:
- The Crunchbase Private Unicorn Company List (1,478)
- Unicorns Headquartered In The US (727)
- Unicorns Based In Asia (469)
- European Private Unicorns (201)
- Emerging unicorn leaderboard (383)
- Exited unicorns (437)
The Crunchbase Unicorn Board is a curated list 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.
The unicorn board does not reflect internal company valuations — such as those set via a 409a process for employee stock options — as these differ from, and are more likely to be lower than, a priced funding round. We also do not adjust valuations based on investor writedowns, which change quarterly, as different investors will not value the same company consistently within the same quarter.
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.
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