The Bill-Ons

The WSJ has this “billion-dollar startup club” list that notes all the current “unicorns” valued at and above 1 billion dollars. I became curious as to how quickly these 60 companies got to their designated fame. So I looked at the year they were founded and normalized from 2014 to their latest valuation year to get the below stats:

Note that for some companies, valuations might have changed over the past couple of years or however long ago they had their latest round. Assuming everything has remained the same (although Hortonworks makes us seriously doubt that), it appears as if 10% of the elite club grew their horns in less than 5 years. The world is creating at least 1.5 a unicorn a year – not bad of a wealth creation for the economy. As I could have probably guessed, majority of them took 5 – 9 years, and the 8% gives me hope that maybe even Clinkle, a startup that received $30.5 million from the likes of Andreessen Horowitz, Peter Thiel and Richard Branson but immensely disappointed with its product, have enough time to turn around. Interestingly enough, and my plug for my love for S-a-a-S business models, 4 of the 5 late bloomers (Jawbone, Fanatics, Intarcia, Razer) are non software businesses and have relevant capex associated to their day-to-day ops. I will cut Intarcia some slack though taking into consideration the R&D timeframe in healthcare innovation.

"Be so good they can’t ignore you" – Steve Martin