Top 10 tech unicorns
Gigabit takes a look at the 10 highest-valued technology “unicorn” companies, according to Fortune’s Unicorn list
10 | Dropbox
Founded in 2007, Dropbox is a file-hosting service which makes users’ files available from any computer or phone, with the option of synching all of one’s devices to a Dropbox account.
It enables users to work on projects together or share files with family and friends. The service is currently used by 500mn people worldwide, and 200,000 businesses use Dropbox Business.
The company aims to “build simple, powerful products for people and businesses”. It is available on Mac, Windows, Linux, iOS and Android and comes in 20 languages.
Over 200 countries and territories use Dropbox and the company has 13 offices across the globe in nine different countries. Dropbox is now worth $10bn under CEO Drew Houston.
9 | Pinterest
Pinterest was founded in California in 2012 by CEO Ben Silberman, Paul Sciarra and Evan Sharp.
The media tech company is now worth as much as $11bn and employs over 800 people. Pinterest is available as a web and mobile application which operated a software system designed to make it easier to discover information on the web, using mainly images as well as GIFs and video.
It is available in over 30 languages and now has offices in six countries.
In 2017, the company raised $250bn and its value raised to $12.3bn in total, so the company is set to climb on next year’s list.
8 | SpaceX
SpaceX is a venture set up by South African entrepreneur Elon Musk, who also founded electric vehicle company Tesla Motors and is working with Virgin on Hyperloop.
Although Musk nearly went bankrupt when forming SpaceX in 2002, he is now worth $20bn and the company itself boasts $12bn in value.
SpeaceX, or Space Exploration Technologies Corp, is an aerospace manufacturer and space transport series company, and in 2012 it became the only private company to ever return a spacecraft from low-earth orbit.
The company was founded with the aim to “revolutionise space technology, with the ultimate goal of enabling people to live on other planets”.
7 | Flipkart
Flipkart, an Indian ecommerce business, was founded in Bangalore in 2007 by two ex-Amazon employees.
Under CEO Sachin Bandal, the company now reports a worth of $15bn and has over 33,000 employees.
India’s biggest online retailer offers a range of products including electronics, clothing, furniture, books and beauty products. Flipkart now has a 60% market share of mobile commerce in India and serves about 50mn customers.
Sachin states the company’s dream was “creating world-class Internet company from India; a brand that can compete at a global level”.
Last year, the company merged with eBay which injected $500mn as part of a $1.4bn funding round.
6 | Meituan-Dianping
Meituan-Dianping, or China Internet Plus, was founded in Beijing in 2003.
Dianping is currently the leasing Online to Offline (O2O) platform in China and provides such services for urban areas.
Under CEO Wang Xing, the company is now worth as much as $15bn.
It was the first website in the world to provide independent consumer reviews on local services, but has since expanded its offering greatly.
It now offers online platforms for merchant information, customer reviews, group buying, online restaurant reservation, takeout service, e-coupons and much more.
The platform has around 200mn registered users of which 75mn are active monthly users. There are 28mn reviews and counting featuring over 6mn local businesses.
Around 2,300 cities across China are covered by Meituan-Dianping.
5 | Snapchat
Snapchat started in 2011 in California.
It is now operating under the holding company Snap, which includes the app service Snapchat and “spectacles”, glasses which can take photos and synch with the app.
Under CEO Evan Spiegel, the company is now worth $16bn.
The app was originally created by Spiegel along with Bobby Murphy and Reggie Brow, and is a mobile platform for instant messaging and multimedia sharing.
Its USP is the fact that photos, videos and messages shared via the app can only be viewed for a limited amount of time.
The app reportedly has 178mn daily active users.
4 | Didi Chuxing
Formerly known as Didi Kuaidi, Didi Chuxing is one of two ride-hailing tech firms on our list.
It currently provides transport for more than 450mn people across 400 Chinese cities.
Having been founded in Beijing in 2012, the company is now worth $16bn.
The firm offers a range of transport options in app form, including taxi hailing, private car hailing, social ride sharing in the form of Hitch, chauffer services, DiDi Bus, DiDi Test Drive and DiDi Enterprise Solutions.
In 2016, the company became the second largest online transaction platform in the world after Alibaba.
3 | Palantir
Palantir was founded in 2004 in California and provides software and services, specialising in big data analysis.
It is currently worth $20.5bn according to Fortune.
The company produces software used by the US Intelligence Committee and the US Department of Defence in the form of Palantir Gotham, and also serves private businesses like hedge funds, banks and financial service firms with Palantir Metropolis.
Its cofounder and CEO, Alexander Karp, is currently said to be worth $1.6bn.
The firm says that in making “products for human-driven data analysis of real world data”, its main focus is “creating the world’s best user experience for working with data”.
2 | Xiaomi
Fortune puts Chinese mobile phone manufacturer Xiaomi’s value at $45bn.
The company was founded in Beijing in 2010 by current CEO Lei Jun, whose net worth totals $6.9bn.
He founded the company on the basis that “high-quality technology doesn’t need to cost a fortune”.
Offering hardware, software and internet services, the company became a unicorn very quickly due to a gap in the market for more reasonably priced smartphone and was rated top valued startup in the world in 2014, having sold more than 62mn handsets.
It declined in 2015 having failed to meet shipment targets but in 2017 made a comeback to be placed as the fifth largest smartphone provider in the world. It currently has a 6.2% market share worldwide.
Recently it announced plans to focus on India, predicted to be home to 1.4bn mobile subscriptions by 2022.
1 | Uber
Uber is valued on Fortune’s list at $62bn and has a current revenue, according to Forbes, of $6.5bn.
The company, which offers ride-hailing via an app, was founded in San Francisco in 2008 and is now present in 632 cities all over the world, employing a total of 12,000 people.
That’s not to mention the drivers it claims to offer “a flexible new way to earn money”. Under CEO Travis Kalanik, the company is going from strength to strength in pursuing its goal of using “technology to give people what they want, when they want it”.
It has more recently launched a food delivery service, UberEATS, which is currently fast expanding across the UK.
Despite some regulatory issues in some cities and complaints from local transport companies, Uber maintains that “we help strengthen local economies, improve access to transportation, and make streets safer”.