You have heard of it. As you talk to your friends, business associates, and colleagues, you often discuss the profitability that comes with it. You have analysed what renowned entities such as Uber, Pinterest, and Airbnb have achieved over the past few years. Now, more than ever, you want to create your own unicorn startup company. Wise move!

But there is a big problem… you don’t quite understand the meaning of a unicorn startup company. You don’t understand why some startups bear the term “Unicorns,” and why they become multi-billion dollar companies in no time.

To join the bandwagon of successful entrepreneurs, you need to gather a lot of information about this type of startup. Luckily, you will get it all in this one piece. Read on!

What is a unicorn startup company?

The term ‘unicorn’ was created by Aileen Lee, the founder of Cowboy Ventures in 2013. She identified 39 companies with an individual value of $1billion each, which she felt were as rare as unicorns.

In definition, a unicorn startup company is any company that was founded after 2003 and is valued at over $1billion.

When Aileen Lee coined the name unicorn in 2013, there were only 39 companies that qualified for the name. Today, however, there are close to 400 unicorn startups spread across the globe.

Which are some of the major unicorn startups?

As mentioned earlier, there are many unicorn startups in different parts of the world. However, renowned ones include:

  • Uber

This is a ride-sharing business that was founded in 2009. It is hailed for revolutionizing the transport industry. Today, this unicorn startup operates in 785 metropolitan areas across timelines and has a market value of $68 billion.

  • Airbnb

This company that transformed the accommodation industry and modernized the sharing economy was founded in 2008. Today, it has a market value of about $38 billion.

  • Spotify

As you relax at the comfort of your convenience while streaming podcasts and music, you need to remember that there is a unicorn startup behind this technology – Spotify. This is a Swedish business that was launched in 2006. Fourteen years down the line, this unicorn startup is valued at $30 billion.

Other Unicorns include:

  • Dropbox- $12 billion
  • Snapchat- $20 billion
  • WeWork- $47 billion
  • SpaceX- $18.5 billion
  • Epic Games- $14 billion
  • Stripe- $22.5 billion
  • GrabTaxi- $14 billion
  • Didi Chuxing- $65 billion
  • Toutiao- $76 billion

What do unicorn startups have in common?

One of the overarching questions that entrepreneurs who want to venture into unicorn companies ask is: what makes such businesses different from other startups?

Well, the answer to this question is simple. Unicorn startup companies have a variety of common characteristics which include:

  • They are built on a concrete foundation of disruptive innovation and ride it to success

Factually, all the unicorn startup companies we outlined earlier in this post have transformed the industries in which they belong. 

Spotify changed the way people stream sporting programs and music; Uber transformed the way people book cabs, Airbnb modernized the world of accommodation and sharing economy. We cannot forget to mention that there are other unicorn startups such as Snapchat, which changed the way people think about the social media world.

Another notable unicorn business worth mentioning is Dropbox, which revolutionized cloud-based technology.

  • Unicorn startups majorly depend on technology paradigm shift capitalization

Unicorn startup companies are comprised of various products. It is, however, vital to note that 87% of these products are software, 7% is hardware, and the remaining 6% blend various products and services. 

Unicorn startups majorly capitalize on the technology paradigm shift. For instance, Dropbox capitalized on changing the cloud technology, and Uber capitalized on ensuring people can book a cab on the tap of a button.

  • Unicorns are private companies

A majority of unicorns around the world are privately owned. They, however, get their valuation when a more prominent company invests in it or acquires it all together.

So, should you only invest in tech for a startup to gain the title ‘unicorn’?

Perhaps what you need to understand is that the term unicorn is not limited to the tech industry. There are hundreds of unicorns around the globe that operate in different sectors, including sharing, eCommerce, retail, and on-demand.

As long as your startup has the characteristics outlined above, it qualifies to be called a unicorn startup company.

Is there a difference between unicorn and decacorn?

A decacorn is basically a huge unicorn. Simply put, it is a unicorn that has surpassed the $10 billion in value. Therefore, unicorns such as Uber, Dropbox, Airbnb, Spotify, and Snapchat are all decacorns or super unicorns.

Is it easy to kick-start a unicorn startups company?

As long as you are ready to take risks and tackle business challenges, starting a successful unicorn company is not a vicious cycle.

Of course, becoming the first player and creating a disruptive atmosphere in your industry is not a walk in the park. Nonetheless, embracing technology, devising modern methods to protect your company, and staying on course in whatever you do will make your startup the next big thing in no time. All the best!