In the tech industry a unicorn is a privately held startup company valued by investors at over a billion dollars. In 2021 there were over 85 new unicorns created.
Following the emergence of the unicorn term, a number of new terms have emerged.
Decacorn: These companies are valued at over 10 billion dollars.
Super-Unicorn: Super-unicorns are valued over 100 billion dollars.
Dead unicorns: are companies that were valued at over a billion dollars but reached a snag on the fast-track to initial public offering (IPO).
One of the ways companies seeking to become unicorns can get on the path, is by learning from existing unicorns. There are several factors that are common characteristics among tech unicorns. Here are the top seven things tech unicorns have in common.
- They fill a need
- They scale globally
- Focused, committed and motivated
- They are flexible and adaptable
- They learn from others
- They focus on quality
- They guard against the wrong people
Here are some examples of tech unicorns, decacorns and super-unicorns from around the world in different sectors that have had success in this way.
Canva - Internet & Software Industries - Australia - $15 Billion
Wise - Fintech - United Kingdom - $5 Billion
Shein - Ecommerce - China - $15 Billion
ByteDance - Artificial Intelligence - China - $140 Billion
Instacart - Supply chain, logistics & delivery - United States - $40 billion
These tech firms have a range of commonalities. They all have had the backing of investors, venture capital firms and equity partners. Many of these firms not only provide funding but also provide the guidance that helps them to learn. All these businesses have global scope and have scaled up their businesses across geographical regions.
Canva is an especially great example of a company guarding against the wrong people. Canva spend over a year choosing their Chief Technology Officer (CTO). They sought to find the best CTO as that would be a critical part of the business and they passed over many CTOs that weren't right in the process.