The Billion Dollar Tech Companies of 2016

The Unicorn Startups of 2016

To date, the word Unicorn has only been used in reference to the rare mythical beast. Now the phrase has been coined to describe startups valued at more than $1 billion, a phenomenon thought of as equally rare. Or is it? At Expert Market, we’ve crunched the data to give a breakdown of what makes a modern Unicorn.

Somewhat surprisingly, most unicorns in our list were formed in 2009; just one year after the financial crisis hit the globe. Read on to find out more about the billion dollar tech companies shaping the industry.

Fast-forward to the year 2016 and Unicorns are more common than ever before, and the main industry responsible for this billion dollar baby business boom is software.

Disappointingly, of the 183 Unicorns used in our data only 7 are founded and run by women. To put this into perspective, for every 26 Unicorns founded by a man, there is only 1 started by a female founder.

The female with the most valuable Unicorn is Theranos founder Elizabeth Holmes.

Expert Market Unicorns Infographic

The 20 Most Valuable Unicorns

The table below details the top most valuable Unicorns in the world right now. Despite the controversy surrounding Uber, it has still managed to remain the most valuable Unicorn on the list. With a $16 billion dollar gap between 1st and 2nd place, it seems that there’s no danger of Uber losing the top spot anytime soon.

Leading the way for female founders is Elizabeth Homes, founder of the widely publicized Theranos. As the only company with a female founder in the top 20, Theranos is ranked in 14th place. However, the next ranking Unicorn with a female founder is Houzz which currently sits at number 60, showing the huge gender gap in Unicorn founders.

Unicorn Value Sector Founded CEO
Uber $62B Software 2009 Travis Kalanick
Xiaomi $46B Hardware 2010 Lei Jun
Airbnb $25B Software 2008 Brian Chesky
Palantir $20.5B Software 2004 Alex Karp
Snapchat $16B Media 2012 Evan Spiegel
Didi Kuaidi $16B Software 2012 Wei Cheng
Dexter Chuanwei Lu
China Internet Plus $15B Software 2003 Wang Xing
Flipkart $15B Retail 2007 Sachin Bansal
SpaceX $12B Aerospace 2002 Elon Musk
Pinterest $11B Media 2008 Ben Silbermann
Dropbox $10B Software 2007 Drew Houston
WeWork $10B Business Services 2010 Adam Neumann
Lufax $10B Financial services 2011 Gregory Gibb
Theranos $9B Health 2003 Elizabeth Holmes
Spotify $8.5B Media 2006 Daniel Ek
DJI $8B Hardware 2006 Frank Wang
Zhong An $8B Financial Services 2013 Hai Yin
Meituan $7B Retail 2010 Wang Xing
Square $6B Financial Services 2009 Jack Dorsey
Intarcia Therapeutics $5B Health 1997 Kurt Graves

NB: This list was accurate at time of publishing and does not reflect the legal issues being faced by Theranos and Elizabeth Holmes

Based on the data it seems that the most certain way to create a modern Unicorn is to opt for a Software startup. While the complete Unicorn list does contain a variety of industries to choose from, 70 out of 183 are all Software companies. So if you’re an aspiring entrepreneurs with dreams of that lucrative $1 billion dollar valuation, a Software startup might not be a bad place to begin.

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