Top 10 highest valued tech unicorns in the world
Just like in mythical legends, unicorns in the tech business are a rarity. In fact, last year, CB Insight calculated that the odds of a company reaching that coveted billion-dollar-valuation was less than 1%. We investigated the most highly valued VC-backed tech companies, according to PitchBook, to see which tech firms have beat the odds.
10 | Pinterest
Launched in 2010, Pinterest Inc. has quickly risen to fame, earning a valuation of US$12.3bn according to PitchBook. From wedding tips, beauty inspiration or new recipes, the web and mobile app allows users to save images and stories to virtual pinboards. Pinterest was founded by Ben Silbermann, Paul Sciarra and Evan Sharp and today, it claims to have around 250mn monthly active users.
9 | Pinduoduo
Valued at US$15bn, Pinduoduo is a leading Chinese e-commerce platform which allows users to participate in group buying deals, primarily through Tencent’s WeChat app. In January, the firm claimed to have 114mn active users, according to Forbes. Pinduoduo was founded in 2015 by Colin Huan and since then it has gained investments from Tencent, Gaochun, Xintianyu respectively.
8 | Toutiao
Valued at around US$20bn, Toutiao (or Jinri Toutiao) is a Beijing-based news and information content platform. Data analytics firm iResearch claims that Toutiao is installed on over 240mn monthly unique devices, makes it a leading news aggregator in China. By analysing content as well as users’ interaction with content, Toutiao generates a unique feed list of content for each user. In November, the six-year-old company appointed Chen Lin as the new Chief Executive Officer of the firm. As of September 2017, Toutiao had 120mn daily active users and Pitchbook reports that the firm is valued at US$20bn.
7 | Palantir
Headquartered in Palo Alto, California, Palantir is a software company that specialises in providing big data analytics for government agencies and private firms. The company was founded in 2004 by Peter Thiel, former co-founder of PayPal, as well as Nathan Gettings, Joe Lonsdale, Stephen Cohen and Alex Kar. In 2016, Palantir announced that it had acquired Dutch data visualisation firm Silk. Today, Pitchbook reports that Palantir is valued at approximately US$20.5bn.
6 | WeWork
WeWork is a New York-headquartered company that provides collaborative shared working spaces. In July, the firm revealed it had raised US$500mn from Softbank and Hony Capital to fuel the growth of the company’s operations in China. WeWork was founded by Adam Neumann and Miguel McKelvey in 2010 and figures from Pitchbook say the company is now valued at US$21.1bn.
5 | SpaceX
Founded in 2002 by Elon Musk, Space Exploration Technologies Corp., which does business as SpaceX, is an aerospace company which designs, manufactures and launches rockets and spacecrafts. SpaceX says it has “the ultimate goal of making life multiplanetary.” Last year the startup noted that it had achieved 18 successful launches —twice as many as in the previous year. SpaceX has a valuation of around US$24.7bn according to PitchBook and its investors include Fidelity Investments and Google.
4 | Meituan-Dianping
Headquartered in Beijing, China, Meituan-Dianping is not only the world’s largest food delivery firm but it also operates in other verticals such as hotels, lifestyle, ticketing and bike-sharing via Mobike. The company was founded in 2010 by Wang Xing and now it has a valuation of around US$30bn, according to Pitchbook. The Financial Times reported that Meituan-Dianping had 290mn monthly active users as of April 2018.
3 | Airbnb
Peer-to-peer home rental firm Airbnb disrupted the hospitality industry when it was founded a decade ago and now it is the third highest valued VC-backed tech company in the world, with a valuation of around US$31bn. Headquartered in San Francisco, Airbnb now has satellite offices in Dublin, London, Barcelona, Paris, Milan, Copenhagen, Berlin, Moscow, São Paolo, Sydney and Singapore. The company’s marketplace provides consumers with access to over 5mn places to stay in more than 81,000 cities and 191 countries. Speaking at the Skift global travel conference in October, Airbnb’s President of Homes, Greg Greeley, revealed that the Californian startup has welcomed over 400mn guest arrivals since it was first founded.
2 | Didi Chuxing
With a valuation of around US$56bn, Didi Chuxing has quickly positioned itself as one of the top valued private companies in the world. The Chinese firm has made its mark as a mobile transportation platform, offering services for taxis, buses, car rental, bike-sharing and more. Didi Chuxing claims to have 450mn registered users — over half of the country’s mobile-internet users — and 21mn drivers who provide 25mn rides per day. Two years ago, Didi Chuxing made headlines when it acquired Uber China for an undisclosed amount.
1 | Uber
Topping the leaderboard is ride-hailing company Uber which raised US$1.3bn in a fundraising round led by Softbank in January 2018. The 10-year-old company has grown to become the highest valued private startup company in the world, with a valuation of around US$69.9bn. Uber was founded by friends Travis Kalanick and Garrett Camp almost a decade ago and now, the firm completes around 15mn trips every day. Last year, Uber calculated that it had around 16,000 employees and the San Francisco-headquartered firm is now present in 65 countries worldwide.