Where Are The World’s Unicorn Companies?

Where are the world’s billion-dollar startups located? How much are they cumulatively worth, billions? Trillions?  

In the business world, a unicorn refers to a private company or startup with a valuation surpassing USD 1 billion. CB Insights keeps track of the companies currently categorised as unicorns in their database, The Global Unicorn Club.

There are 476 unicorn companies in the CB Insights list as of July 2020. Included in this count are whisper valuations —unpublished, consensus estimates of a firm’s value made by analysts. The total cumulative valuation of the current unicorns amounts to a whopping USD 1.42 trillion.

In a separate analysis by Affinity, it has been found that the automotive and transportation sector is the dominating industry among the unicorns, with a mean valuation of USD 4.84 billion. The travel industry slightly falls short of the top spot with a mean valuation of USD 4.7 billion.

The cities home to the most unicorns

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The city of San Francisco is home to the highest number of unicorn companies. Prominent for the Silicon Valley, the city houses 64 of the companies which made it to CB Insights’ list.

In a close second is Beijing. A total of 51 companies are headquartered in China’s capital. Following it is New York, home to 34 unicorn companies.

Together, these three cities hold nearly one-third of all the world’s unicorn firms.

Zooming out

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Zooming out per country, it is clear that the United States is the country with the most unicorns.

The highest valued companies headquartered in American soil are Stripe (USD 36 billion), SpaceX (USD 36 billion), and Palantir Technologies (USD 20 billion).

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China settles for second place in the list, hosting a total of 122 unicorns. While it may not defeat the U.S. in terms of sheer number, the country is home to Bytedance — currently the highest-valued unicorn company at a massive USD 75 billion.

The United Kingdom holds the third-highest number of unicorns with 25. The most valuable companies headquartered in the U.K. are Global Switch (USD 11.08 billion), Revolut (USD 5.5 billion), and Checkout.com (USD 5.5 billion).

More than 85% of all the unicorns in the world are located in only five countries: United States, China, United Kingdom, India, and Germany.

The impact of COVID-19 on unicorn companies

According to CB Insights, the number of new US-based unicorns hit a two-year low in the first quarter of 2020. Only 12 companies made it to the unicorn status during this period.

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For comparison, the current record was obtained in Q4 2018. In this period, a total of 23 companies entered the billion-dollar status.

In spite of the addition of 12 more companies, the cumulative valuation of U.S. unicorns decreased to USD 624 billion for the first quarter of 2020, a considerable dip from the preceding quarter’s USD 634 billion.

This is a trend that CB Insights expects will continue in the following quarters as the investors become more risk-averse.

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