In the report, they have listed every startup unicorn (unlisted startups valued at US$1 billion or more) in the world along with a detailed study of unicorn-investor behaviour. Here are some of the major takeaways from the report:
Quantity, not necessarily quality
According to the report, in the period between 2013 and 2014, the number of companies reaching billion dollar valuations more than doubled.
In this period, nearly 40 companies joined the club, nearly half of the current club’s 99-strong membership. The report also goes on to mention that through mid-April 2015, there were 14 new unicorns, putting 2015 on track to surpass 2014.
However, the combined value of the 99 startup unicorns, some US$211 billion, does not even equate to one Facebook, which is valued at US$229 billion. Valuation multiples show Uber and Slack Technologies coming out on top, while other startups like Jawbone and Kabam have relatively low sales multiples, as compared to their evaluation.
Even amongst the unicorns, wealth distribution is uneven with the top two companies, China-based Xiaomi and US-based Uber, having a combined worth which is almost as much as the next eight unicorns on the top 10 list.
The investor factor
According to the report, Sequoia Capital has 13 unicorns in its portfolio including the likes of AirBnB, Square, Evernote, Dropbox and Eventbrite. KPCB and T Rowe Price rounded up the top three with 12 and 11 unicorns respectively. By and large, the startup unicorns in all three portfolios are SaaS companies.
Another thing to note, according to the report, is that Sequoia not only has the most unicorns in its portfolio, but has also invested in the most unicorns at the early stages. The US-based fund invested in six of its 13 unicorns in the early stages.
Khosla Ventures has seven companies in the unicorn club; of which it invested in five, including Lookout, Jawbone and appnexus, early on.
Top 10 unicorns
Asian startups make up 20 per cent of the list with two entries, China’s largest smartphone maker Xiaomi reigns supreme on top of the list with its US$46 billion valuation and Indian e-commerce giant Flipkart is in sixth place with its US$11 billion valuation.
- Xiaomi, US$46 billion
- Uber, US$41 billion
- Palantir, US$15 billion
- Snapchat, US$15 billion
- SpaceX, US$12 billion
- Flipkart, US$11 billion
- Pinterest, US$11 billion
- Dropbox, US$10 billion
- AirBnB, US$10 billion
- Theranos, US$9 billion