In the wake of the market downturn, new unicorns have become increasingly rare. Our market map visualizes the 1,191 private companies worth $1B+ across artificial intelligence, e-commerce, fintech, and more.
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 crises shocked the public markets, putting downward pressure on some of the world’s most highly valued companies.
The number of new unicorn births has tumbled for 3 straight quarters, with just 24 startups reaching the $1B+ mark in Q3’22 — the lowest quarterly figure since early 2020.
Collectively, the world’s unicorns are worth $3.85T.
Using the CB Insights database, we mapped all 1,191 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 10/7/2022.
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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.
Rounding out the top 5 most valuable private companies are aerospace manufacturer SpaceX (valued at $127B), fast fashion company Shein ($100B), payments processor Stripe ($95B), and collaborative online design tool Canva and payments platform Checkout.com (tied for fifth at $40B).
Unicorn company trends by category
Fintech is the most highly represented category on our map, accounting for roughly 1 in 5 unicorns (21.0%). It is followed by internet software & services (19.1%), e-commerce & direct-to-consumer (9.1%), and health (8.1%).
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 internet software & services, the most valuable unicorn is Canva ($40B, September 2021). Canva is also Australia’s most valuable startup by a large margin.
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-two private companies (4.4% of total unicorns) fall within the next bracket — the “decacorns,” worth between $10B and $100B. Meanwhile, nearly a quarter (23.5%) of companies included in the global unicorn club are valued at exactly $1B.
Since our last analysis in July 2022, the US has held its leading unicorn share, accounting for slightly more than half of all unicorns (54.1%). China, in second place (14.4%), lost half a percentage point over the same time frame.
India claims the third spot at 5.9%, while the UK is home to 3.9% of unicorns.
Unicorn club growth
767 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 July 2022, the unicorn club has grown in size by 1.8% from 1,170 to 1,191 unicorns. This growth rate is down significantly from the 9.8% increase seen between March 2022 and July 2022. Learn more about why the unicorn birth rate is slowing here.If you aren’t already a client, sign up for a free trial to learn more about our platform.