unicorn company (unicorn)

Popular Terms
A start-up company that has achieved a valuation exceeding $1 billion. Unicorns can be considered the new "dot-com" startups, a term popularized in the late 90s and early 2000s.

In today's business climate, a unicorn is a widely successful company that has attracted venture capital, after which the company is valued (called "post-money" valuation). According to Fortune's "Unicorn List" in January 2016, Uber, Xiaomi and Airbnb are the top three Unicorns.

Uber was founded in 2009 by Travis Kalanick and Garrett Camp in San Francisco.

When Kalanick and Camp could not find a cab, they came up with the idea of creating an app to find a ride. According to the founders, the concept was to "tap a button, get a ride." The business developed into an ecosystem where drivers used their own cars, on their own time, to provide rides to those that need it. The sophisticated software calculates the Uber driver closest to the rider.  The company has operations in China, Lithuania, Korea, Kenya and Paris to name a few. By 2016, the company generated over $8 billion in equity funds with an estimated valuation of $62 billion

Xiaomi is a privately-owned consumer electronics company based in Beijing. It was founded in 2010 by Lei Jun. Xiaomi develops high-end smartphones and other electronics at low prices. It is the third largest smart phone maker in the world with its largest consumer base in the China mainland. In 2014, it entered the market in India. By 2016, Xiaomi generated $1.45 billion in funding with a valuation of $46 billion.

 

Airbnb was founded by Brian Chesky and Joe Gebbia in 2008 in San Francisco.

Its concept is similar to Uber in that it provides a conduit for people to list and locate lodging. People can offer their own home for rent. The concept was conceived by roommates Chesky and Gebbia in 2007 when they offered their living room loft to conference attendees attending the Industrial Design Conference who could not find a hotel room. In 2008, Nathan Blecharczyk joined the company and built the website that became the platform for lodgers and renters to connect. Initially, the company focused on conferences where traditional lodging was likely to fill up. By 2016, Airbnb received a total of $2.4 billion in funding with a valuation of $25.5 billion.

Use 'unicorn company (unicorn)' in a Sentence

Elena interviewed with SnapChat, a new kind of social media company that achieved unicorn company status in 2013.
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Andrew's new app is so popular he believes it will be a unicorn company within the next two years.
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That venture capital company is only interested in a unicorn company rather than any smaller companies.
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