Even as the market sours, startups are still hitting billion-dollar valuations. Our market map visualizes the 1,170 private companies worth $1B+ across artificial intelligence, e-commerce, fintech, and more.
The number of global unicorns (private companies valued at $1B+) soared in 2021 amid a frothy funding environment.
The momentum continued into 2022 — with the list reaching 1,000 unicorns for the first time in February — until macro trends like inflation, rising interest rates, and geopolitical shocks pumped the brakes on the IPO market and sent some previously high-flying tech stocks into free-fall.
This market volatility has put downward pressure on some of the world’s most highly valued companies, threatening valuations and creating a roadblock to public debuts.
The number of new unicorn births slowed in Q2’22, although the pace was still greater than any quarter prior to 2021. Eighty-five more were added to the list over the course of the quarter, and they are all featured on our real-time unicorn tracker.
Collectively, the world’s unicorns are worth $3.85T.
Using the CB Insights database, we mapped all 1,170 global unicorn companies according to the primary markets in which they operate.
Global unicorn club market map
Our market map sorts unicorns into 15 categories, from auto & transportation to supply chain & logistics. Our “Other” category includes renewable energy, space tech, ad tech, and more.
Categories are not mutually exclusive and companies are sorted by primary use case. Data is as of 7/1/2022.
Please click to enlarge.
Most valuable private companies
The world’s most valuable private company is China-based ByteDance, which is in the artificial intelligence category. The company, which operates content platforms such as TikTok and Toutiao, reached a $140B valuation following an investment from Tiger Global Management in March 2020. The company most recently raised a private equity round from China Internet Investment Fund in August 2021.
Rounding out the top 5 most valuable private companies are aerospace manufacturer SpaceX (valued at $127B), fast fashion company SHEIN (valued at $100B), payments processor Stripe ($95B), and buy now, pay later (BNPL) company Klarna ($45.6B — although the company is reportedly in talks to raise funding at a significantly discounted valuation of $6.5B).
Unicorn company trends by category
Fintech is the most highly represented category on our map, accounting for roughly 1 in 5 unicorns (20.8%). It is followed by internet software & services (19.1%), e-commerce & direct-to-consumer (9.1%), and health (7.8%).
The most valuable fintech unicorn is Stripe, with a $95B valuation as of March 2021. We dig into how the payments company is capitalizing on the growth of e-commerce here.
In e-commerce & direct-to-consumer, the top spot goes to China-based SHEIN ($100B, April 2022). The e-commerce platform — which saw its valuation grow more than 6x from August 2020 to April 2022 — has quickly risen to the top of the fast fashion market.
After reaching its $140B valuation in March 2020, ByteDance was the only private company considered to be a “hectocorn” worth $100B+ — until October 2021, when Elon Musk-owned rocket company SpaceX eclipsed that mark. SHEIN has since joined the ranks of the hectocorns as well.
Fifty-four private companies (4.6% of total unicorns) fall within the next bracket — the “decacorns,” worth between $10B and $100B. Meanwhile, 23% of companies included in the global unicorn club are valued at exactly $1B.
Since our last analysis in March 2022, the US has grown its leading unicorn share by nearly 2 percentage points, accounting for slightly more than half of all unicorns (53.7%). China, in second place (14.9%), lost more than 1 percentage point of share over the same time frame.
India claims the third spot at 5.8%, while the UK is home to 3.8% of unicorns.
Unicorn club growth
739 companies in our market map — nearly 2 out of 3 — have joined the unicorn club since the start of 2021.
Since our last analysis in March 2022, the unicorn club has grown in size by 9.8% from 1,066 to 1,170 unicorns. This growth rate is down from the 13.9% increase seen between December 2021 and March 2022.If you aren’t already a client, sign up for a free trial to learn more about our platform.