Mapping Out The $1 Billion Startup Market: Fintech Companies Account For 12% Of Total 393 Unicorns

Mapping Out The $1 Billion Startup Market: Fintech Companies Account For 12% Of Total 393 Unicorns
Mapping Out The $1 Billion Startup Market: Fintech Companies Account For 12% Of Total 393 Unicorns

There are 393 private companies around the world classified as unicorns. This term, coined in recent years to reference companies valued at $1B+, has gone mainstream as more startups -normally tech-startups- have been able to reach such outstanding valuation, and the numbers are expected but to keep growing. If we are to weigh in how relevant these companies are for the global business ecosystem, we just need to take a glimpse at their worth and how much money they have been able to raised: these companies are collectively worth more than $1.2T and have attracted a combined total of over $292B in investment.

The thing with the unicorns’ terminology doesn’t stop there. With the growth of new and increasingly powerful companies, new terms have appeared to classify them into new categories. We can’t put in the same list the number one startup in the US, Uber and Spanish-only unicorn Cabify, as Uber’s valuation has reached $62 million last year and Cabify barely made it to the $1 billion mark. That’s why Uber has been added to the decacorn list, or companies valued at over $10 billion or more. Within the 393 total unicorns that there are out there, there are 21 decacorns, including Chinese Toutiao , valued at over $74 billion; Chinese Didi Chuxing, valued at over $56 billion or American JUUL Labs, with over $50 billon of valuation.

However useful and breakthrough Uber might be for the “access economy”, it doesn’t even make it to the top category. In fact, only one startup can bear that privilege. China-based Ant Financial, the offshoot of Jack Ma’s Alibaba Group, is the only company classified as hectocorn, with a valuation of over $150 billion. Its valuation makes it worth considerably more than Goldman Sachs and Morgan Stanley.

All these 393 unicorn companies have been mapped out by CB Insights, using their huge database, and here are some interesting facts they found according to the primary markets in which they operate. Their market map sorted unicorns into 15 categories, from AI to fintech to e-commerce. The other category includes companies within real estate, renewable energy, aerospace, and more.

Global Unicorn Club.
Global Unicorn Club. Source: CB Insights

This is what they found:

Trends by category

The largest category in our map is Fintech, with 12% of unicorns. It is followed by E-commerce and Direct-to-Consumer, Internet Software & Services, and Artificial Intelligence, each with 11%.

The most valuable company in the Fintech category is payments company Stripe, with a $22.5B valuation as of January 2019.

In E-commerce, the most valuable company is California-based online shopping platform Wish, at $11.2B. In Internet Software & Services, Beijing-based online real estate platform Beike Zhaofang leads with a $10B valuation as of July 2019.

Most valuable companies

The world’s most valuable private company is China-based Ant Financial, the offshoot of Jack Ma’s Alibaba Group, with a valuation of over $150 billion. Next off is China’s Bytedance in the Artificial Intelligence category. The company, which operates platforms such as TikTok and Toutiao, reached a $75B valuation following an investment by SoftBank in November 2018.

Following Bytedance, ride-hailing company Didi Chuxing ($56B), e-cigarette maker JUUL Labs ($50B), co-working company WeWork ($47B, though the company is set to go public in the coming months), and accommodations marketplace Airbnb ($29B) round out the top 5 most valuable private companies.

Valuation distribution

Twenty-one private companies (5% of total unicorns) are considered decacorns, worth $10B+.

Approximately 31% of companies included in the global unicorn club are valued at exactly $1B.

Geographic trends

The United States leads in share of unicorns (49%), holding steady since our last analysis in June 2019. China, in second place, saw its share fall slightly from 25% to 24% in the same time frame.

Third and fourth place go to the United Kingdom and India at roughly 5% each, with 20 and 19 unicorns, respectively.