Where Are All The Unicorns Coming From?

Do US companies dominate?


When it comes to start-ups making the leap to Unicorn status, Europe’s have traditionally lagged behind the US’.

The good news for the European tech-scene, however, is that 13 of their tech start-ups have already surpassed the $1 billion dollar mark this year, taking the continent’s total up to 40.

Yet Europe’s fears that it’s being left behind by Silicon Valley will certainly not have been allayed completely. As reported by Quartz, 22 US companies have reached Unicorn status in 2015, with many of them valued at vastly more than their European counterparts. American transportation network, Uber, is worth more than all of the UK’s Unicorns combined, with Airbnb worth nearly twenty times that of TransferWise, the latest UK entrant.

While Europe won’t relish its position behind the US, it has seen an increase in successful entrepreneurship and is part of the reason why there are now 131 Unicorn companies around the world. Combined, these companies are worth $485 billion to investors.

Technology has clearly had an important role to play in this improvement, with many Unicorns reliant on its advancement to continually improve their processes and products. Investor confidence - before the recent stock plunge on Wall Street - was at an all-time high, with venture capitalists eager to be part of the next big thing. The smart money, it seems, would still be to invest in American based ventures, as despite 13 new entrants, Europe has seen three companies drop out of the Unicorn bracket. This highlights the difficultly that European Unicorns can have when attempting to maintain their status.

Some would argue that the valuations of certain companies - AirBnb most recently - are over exaggerated and not a true indication of a company’s success. There is, however, no doubt that a high valuation implies investor confidence, and AirBnb’s recent valuation - a jump of 140% from 2014’s total - represents yet another incredibly successful US Unicorn.

Unicorns aren’t just present in Europe and the US though. In fact, as of October 2014, there were 15 Chinese Unicorns, with Xiaomi - the electronics company - recently valued at $45 billion after a recent round of funding. According to Forbes, this makes it more valuable than Uber and Airbnb. Barring Xiaomi and Didi Kuaidi, however, China’s are a similar stage to those in Europe, valued at between $4 billion and $1 billion in the main.

Another notable Unicorn is Indian e-commerce company Flipkart, which was valued at $15.5 billion. This makes it the most valuable outside of the US and China.

As demonstrated in this article, US Unicorns continue to lead the way. Their dominance, however, is being infiltrated by a number of Chinese companies. Depending on the source you read, Xiaomi has now overtaken Uber as the leading Unicorn, which, in itself, shows the strength of Chinese entrepreneurship. China’s rise is indicative of the international nature of entrepreneurship, and the opportunities present throughout the globe.


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