Venture capitalist Aileen Lee, the founder of Cowboy Ventures and more recently a founding member of All Raise, in 2013 coined the term unicorn to describe companies that are valued at at least $1 billion.
At the time, Lee identified 39 companies, including now usual suspects Instagram, YouTube, Hulu, Airbnb, Uber, Twitter and LinkedIn. Lee dubbed Facebook a “super unicorn” because it was worth more than $100 billion in 2013.
In 2017, there were 71 new unicorns and in 2018 there were 112. As of the beginning of 2019, CB Insights found that 315 companies from across the world could claim membership to the club.
In the recent study, CB Insights noted that of the categories that had the most unicorns, internet software and services came out on top with 24 percent of unicorns, ecommerce second with 13 percent of unicorns and then fintech with 10 percent of unicorns.
Some of the businesses that are currently on the list include 23andMe, shoe manufacturer AllBirds, Buzzfeed, DoorDash, HR solutions platform Gusto, Squarespace and Warby Parker.
CB Insights conducted an analysis for The New York Times identifying which businesses on the rise are on track to a potentially $1 billion or more valuation.
So who’s next?
Millennial beauty brand Glossier, wedding planning platform Zola and Faire, which connects retailers and wholesale merchandise, were highlighted, as were businesses such as Checkr, a background check platform for startups, Benchling, which makes data management software geared to scientists, and Earnin, a company that aims to help employees track their earnings.
According to the analysis, the path to unicorn status is a global one, with CB Insights noting that five businesses in India, four in China and three in Latin America could achieve $1 billion valuations.
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