D2C success stories. Killing the I-bank. Alien comet spotted.
We started tracking unicorn companies at CB Insights not long after the term was coined in 2013. At the time there were thought to only be 39 in the herd.
Fast forward to today, and the startup foie gras phenomenon means there are now over 400 of these beasties valued at $1B or more in the private markets.
To mix metaphors further, it’s a darn crowded unicorn pen.
We saw how WeWork recently tried to jump over the fence into the public markets but got smacked down by Wall Street. Now, it’s a notably wounded unicorn. It’s funny how quickly $30B+ in paper value can evaporate under the glare of the pre-IPO lamp.
So, how many unicorns can the world take? How many wounded unicorns?
P.S. Free CB Insights swag for anyone who identifies the correct number of mixed metaphors in this email. We have a world-class team of editors here who will arrive at an Editorial Consensus estimate, which you will have to guess correctly.
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THIS WEEK IN DATA
400+: There are now 402 unicorns in the wild, worth a cumulative $1.25T. Cybersecurity companies Acronis and Shape Security, UK-based surgical robot maker CMR Surgical, and German open banking platform Deposit Solutions all reached unicorn-qualifying $1B+ valuations after their latest funding rounds. See every unicorn on our real-time tracker.
$200M: Online pharmacy startup Capsule raised $200M in a Series C round, almost quadrupling its total disclosed funding. Healthcare financing levels reached record highs in H1’19 — read more about the space’s funding trends in our Global Healthcare Report.
$9.95 per month: Cinema-subscription service MoviePass ceased operations after failing to secure new financing. The service promised to let users attend a movie per day for a monthly price of $9.95 — less than many standalone cinema tickets — but it drew concerns around the sustainability of its business model (which appear to have been borne out). For more lessons about the pitfalls of building a company, check out our 311 startup post-mortems.
17M: The personal information of 17M Ecuadorians was reportedly found on an unsecured server hosting government-related data, affecting nearly everyone in the country, including the country’s president and almost 7M children. The exposed information included names, addresses, contact info, and more. Read about companies aiming to make the internet safer in our cyber defenders report.
68,700 mph: A comet from outside our solar system, named Borisov, has been spotted in our cosmic vicinity — only the second interstellar visitor to be observed. The object, which is moving at a brisk 68,700 mph, so far appears to be acting less mysteriously than the Oumuamua comet which passed through our solar system two years ago.
53 qubits: IBM is planning to make a 53 qubit quantum computer available for external use — set to be one of the most powerful machines of its type. Quantum computer makers are aiming to upend traditional computing by running certain calculations simultaneously. Learn more about how the technology works in our explainer.
-1,000 miles: Researchers say that they tracked a lost continent to 1,000 miles beneath Europe, with its remnants still detectable by analyzing seismic waves. The Greenland-sized landmass was consumed by the Earth’s mantle around 100M years ago due to tectonic plate movements — the same forces that give rise to earthquakes.
One More Thing
Source: Maine Center for Coastal Fisheries via Atlas Obscura
A sea captain recently hauled up a lobster with a two-toned exoskeleton (pictured above, second from left).
This dramatic coloring is not a new discovery. Researchers at the Smithsonian Institution and University of New Hampshire wrote about lobsters whose shells were “half normal color and half light sky blue” and “half greenish black and half light orange” all the way back in 1959.
The two-toned shell can also be an indicator of gynadromorphy, meaning the specimen is female on one side of its body and male on the other.