Pandemic proof? 76 companies reached unicorn status in 2020 including Gymshark, Udemy and more

Unicorn status in 2020
While millions of startups spring up each year, only a handful ever make a success of it, which is why a private billion-dollar startup is as rare as a unicorn.

The UK’s 33,860 scale-up businesses contribute £1 trillion to the UK economy annually, representing half of the SME economy, and the UK is home to more tech unicorns than any other country in Europe. However, these scale-ups are facing a funding shortfall of up to £15 billion in 2020 due to lack of investment resulting from Covid-19. With the pandemic accelerating the disruptive role of technology across all industries, some businesses have still managed to realise their growth ambitions.

As 2020 draws to a close, we look at some of the businesses that have reached unicorn status this year, as well as a deeper dive into the characteristics of a unicorn.

What makes a unicorn?

A ‘unicorn’ is a term used in the business world to describe a privately owned startup that is worth more than $1 billion, including the likes of Airbnb, Roblox, and, as of this month, Tipalti, after reaching a valuation of more than $2 billion. Tipalti distilled data from CBInsights to reveal the 76 companies worldwide to have grown to unicorn status in 2020.

2020 Unicorns

76 new companies have joined the exclusive unicorn club in 2020 as of October, slightly fewer than in previous years. None of these 76 have reached ‘decacorn’ status yet, where they are valued over $10m.

The most valuable of these is the National Stock Exchange of India, at a value of $6.5m, with other notable new unicorns including the learning marketplace Udemy, fitness clothing brand Gymshark, and Tipalti.

The majority of 2020’s new unicorns came from the US (62%), with just 7% from China, while fintech (17%), e-commerce (14%), and internet software and services (12%) were the industries which saw the most unicorn companies this year.

The top ten most valuable companies which have reached unicorn status in 2020

Rank

Company

Valuation ($B)

Date Joined

Country

Industry

1

National Stock Exchange of India

$6.50

July

India

Fintech

2

Arrival

$3.92

January

United Kingdom

Auto & transportation

3

GoPuff

$3.90

October

United States

E-commerce & direct-to-consumer

4

HyalRoute

$3.50

May

Singapore

Mobile & telecommunications

5

MessageBird

$3

October

Netherlands

Mobile & telecommunications

6

Waterdrop

$2.88

August

China

Fintech

7

Snyk

$2.60

January

United States

Cybersecurity

8

Cazoo

$2.50

June

United Kingdom

E-commerce & direct-to-consumer

9

Skydance Media

$2.30

February

United States

Other

10

Via Transportation

$2.25

March

United States

Auto & transportation

The countries with the most unicorns

Almost half (48%) of the world’s unicorn companies were formed in the US, with 235, including 50% of the world’s decacorns. There are currently 26 ‘decacorns’ (worth over $10m) and between them, they account for 37% of the total value of all unicorn companies.

The country with the second-highest amount of unicorns was China, with 119 (24.3%), including fashion brand SHEIN and ByteDance, the world’s only ‘hectocorn’ (valued at over $100bn).

In fact, the majority of the world’s unicorns come from a small handful of countries, with the US and China alone accounting for 72%, followed by India (4.9%), the UK (4.7%), and Germany (2.4%).

The top 5 countries with the most unicorns:

Rank

Country

Number of Unicorn Companies

Number of Unicorn Companies (%)

1

United States

235

48%

2

China

119

24.3%

3

India

24

4.9%

4

United Kingdom

23

4.7%

5

Germany

12

2.4%

UK leads in fintech

New data from Tech Nation reveals that the UK continues to lead Europe for fintech VC investment. This year, $2.5bn has been invested in UK fintech companies so far, with investment levels peaking in July 2020 ($1bn). By comparison, German fintechs have raised $1.09bn and Swedish fintechs have raised $1.06bn this year to date.

The UK also leads Europe for fintech unicorns, with 22 fintech unicorns, compared to 6 in the Netherlands, 4 in Sweden, 3 in France and 3 in Germany.

Top 20 countries for VC investment into fintech in 2020 (as of September)

Top 20 countries in Europe for VC fintech  investmentNumber of DealsVC investment (bn)

United Kingdom

255

£2.469

Germany

47

£1.090

Sweden

20

£1.063

France

36

£0.350

Ireland

14

£0.213

Switzerland

36

£0.174

Netherlands

16

£0.166

Spain

29

£0.099

Italy

12

£0.063

Luxembourg

5

£0.058

Denmark

7

£0.057

Belgium

10

£0.045

Estonia

13

£0.028

Norway

7

£0.012

Czech Republic

4

£0.008

Poland

3

£0.007

Iceland

2

£0.007

Finland

5

£0.007

Bulgaria

4

£0.006

Hungary

4

£0.003

 

Share this story

0 0 vote
Article Rating
Subscribe
Notify of
guest
0 Comments
Inline Feedbacks
View all comments
Close
Menu
0
Would love your thoughts, please comment.x
()
x
Send this to a friend