Unicorn valuations continue growing
It's increasingly harder to believe that anything can temper the flow of capital into private tech companies with their ballooning valuations — even the recent market sadness doesn't seem to have made a dent if you look at the latest figures.
Driving the news: Per Crunchbase's latest numbers, there are now 1,200 so-called unicorns (valued at $1 billion or more) globally, almost doubling the net count of 650 at the end of 2020.
- Even more eye-popping: there are now 59 companies valued at $10 billion, up from 31 a year ago.
- And ... now 46 dragons, Dan's term for startups valued at $12 billion and over. There were only 24 in January, and 19 last August.
Why it matters: Trends like this always raise questions of bubbles and whether the music might be close to an abrupt stop.
Yes, but: We're already seeing some pullback.
- A number of outlets have reported that investors like Tiger Global — the most prolific unicorn investor, per Crunchbase — are shifting their focus to the public market from pre-IPO companies.
- But at the same time, they're also investing in companies a bit earlier, so the steady flow of unicorns getting minted may not be over just yet.
- We've also seen some fat unicorns lay off employees, a common and unfortunate side effect of boom-time growth.
Worth noting: Last year was also a record year in unicorn exits, per the data.
- 141 exited, either through IPOs or acquisitions, up from 58 companies in 2020. (You can thank SPACs for a small part of that.)
What we're watching: The path of these unicorn and dragon stats over the next six and 12 months.