US is not world’s biggest hub for unicorns; SoftBank 3rd top investor in billion-dollar tech startups

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Updated: October 17, 2019 8:38:24 PM

India stood at a distant third position having 21 unicorns followed by 13 unicorns in the UK. These big four made up for a staggering 90 per cent of the world’s unicorn population. There are a total of 494 unicorns globally

Sequoia led the Hurun list for 10 most successful unicorn investors. Photographer: Krisztian Bocsi/Bloomberg

For those who have been looking for definite answers to questions around country with majority startup unicorns after the US, top investor fueling unicorns’ rise apart from the likes of SoftBank, unicorn that is bigger China’s ByteDance, biggest opportunity area for unicorns other than e-commerce and certainly, cities churning out maximum unicorns, there is finally some perspective around all that.

To begin with, for the new age startup ecosystem wherein reaching $1-billion valuation is a key milestone, China has emerged as a world leader with 206 — maximum number of unicorns out of total 494 unicorns globally, according to Hurun Global Unicorn List 2019. The Asian powerhouse surpassed the US marginally with the latter being home to 203 unicorns.

India stood at a distant third position having 21 unicorns followed by 13 unicorns in the UK. These big four made up for a staggering 90 per cent of the world’s unicorn population. The overall value of 494 unicorns according to Hurun was $1.7 trillion.

Unicorns with Highest Valuations

Most valued unicorn list is topped by three Chinese unicorns even as there is no Indian unicorn here. Source: Hurun Research Institute

Coming to the top investors, even as SoftBank with its $100 billion Vision Fund has contributed significantly to the rise of unicorns such as Uber, WeWork, Slack, DiDi, Grab, Paytm, OYO etc., and continues to have a ‘300 year plan’ for the company, it is not the most successful investor into unicorns. Importantly, the IPO debacle of its star companies including Uber, WeWork and too some extent Slack has questioned the performance of the fund and Masayoshi Son’s future bets.

Sequoia led the Hurun list for 10 most successful unicorn investors having invested in 92 startups that turned unicorns followed by Tencent with 46 unicorns in its kitty, SoftBank having 42 unicorns, Tiger Global with 36, and IDG with 31 unicorns among the top five, the Hurun list said.

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The top 10 list of biggest unicorn cities is also dominated by China with Beijing home to 82 unicorns followed San Francisco (known as Silicon Valley) with 55 unicorns. Shanghai, New York, and Hangzhou are top cities having 47, 25, and 19 unicorns respectively. India’s Bengaluru (ranked ninth with 9 unicorns) is the only city in the top 10. Redwood City and London also have 9 unicorns, according to the list.

In terms of top sectors churning out maximum unicorns include e-commerce with 68 unicorns followed by 56 in fintech, 44 in cloud, 40 in AI and 34 in logistics.

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