It is really, really difficult to create a company and grow it to the point where investors believe it is worth $1 billion or more. That milestone is so difficult to achieve, in fact, that investors call companies that do this “unicorns.”
Out of the hundreds of startups launched every year, just 17 made the grade in 2014.
Obviously, entrepreneurs and investors alike would love to be part of the unicorn club. Creating something that’s worth a billion dollars where nothing existed before is a tremendous achievement. It’s great for the personal wealth and ego gratification of investors and founders, of course. But it’s also a great thing for the people who work for such a company. With a few rare exceptions, billion-dollar companies generally employ hundreds of people. And they create things that people value, improving lives, making business more efficient, and creating new opportunities for other businesses down the line. It’s just very hard to get there.
This year, at least 17 still-private companies crossed that arbitrary-but-significant barrier, achieving a valuation of $1 billion or more. VCExperts, which tracks private company fundings and valuations, assembled this list for VentureBeat.
Valuation data is difficult to capture, and is often a closely guarded secret, so this list is not exhaustive. Do you know of other companies that crossed the “unicorn” line in 2014? Let us know in the comments or by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org.
Actifio, a company that dreamed up a way to pare down the number of copies of a given piece of data while ensuring it will be available whenever companies need it, raised $100 million in March, putting its valuation “a good $100 million over $1 billion,” the company’s founder and chief executive, Ash Ashutosh, said in an interview with VentureBeat.