In the first quarter of 2016, 35 unicorns raised a total of $12.6 billion from 36 funding events. While this is roughly the same amount that was raised in the first quarter of 2015, there were 58 investments in the previous period. This means that this year’s fundings were marked by larger deal sizes.
Looking at the evolution of company valuations, we saw a surprising 11 up-rounds, 4 unchanged valuations and only 4 down-rounds. The combined value progression is a staggeringly positive $26 billion, suggesting very good health – for the moment, anyway – for companies in the Unicorn Club.
11 new unicorns in the first quarter of 2016
The Unicorn Club keeps greeting new entrants, but at a slower pace. The first quarter of 2015 saw the emergence of 23 unicorns, and the second quarter witnessed the birth of 25 unicorns. Growth slowed in the back of half of 2015: 15 in the third quarter and 13 in the fourth quarter. The slowing trend continued with 11 companies attaining unicorn status in the first quarter of 2016.
A high resolution Unicorn Club landscape from VB Profiles is available here. (Disclosure: VB Profiles is a cooperative effort between VentureBeat and Spoke Intelligence.)
Here’s a quick overview of the newcomers:
- Dada, a mobile application that focuses on providing last mile logistics services.
- Skyscanner, a leading global travel search site providing instant online comparisons for millions of flights plus hotels and car hire.
- Shopclues, India’s first and the largest managed marketplace, cloaking more than 100 million monthly visitors on its website.
- Anaplan, a business platform that delivers business planning and execution for sales, operations, and finance.
- Forescout Technologies, a company that delivers pervasive network security by allowing organizations to continuously monitor and mitigate security exposures and cyber attacks.
- Mindmaze, a spin off from the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology and in less than three years has become one of the top 10 healthcare start-up in Switzerland.
- Africa Internet group -the company behind the continent’s biggest ecommerce company Jumia- that became the first African Unicorn.
- Souq.com, the Dubai based largest E-commerce platform in the Arab world.
- Mercari, the biggest community-powered shopping app from Japan, for anyone to buy and sell anything, from anywhere, in seconds.
- Garena is a leading platform provider for online and mobile that allows people to online meet, chat and play games together.
- Cainiao logistics was founded in 2013 with the goal of creating a UPS-style backbone to enable deliveries across China.
Unicorn Club Funding 2015-2016
3 Acquisitions, Alibaba secured a $3 billion loan and Cainiao raised $1.5 billion
On the acquisition side, Gilt Groupe was acquired for a mere $250 million in cash from Hudson’s Bay, owner of Saks Fifth Avenue and other department store chains. Gilt’s online shopping platform pioneered the limited-time “flash sales” popular following the 2007-2008 recession and specializes in “insider prices” on high-end merchandise. The company has been suffering successive down-rounds since its $1 billion valuation five years ago.
Legendary, a pioneer in bringing private Wall Street equity and hedge fund investors to movie production, was bought by China’s Dalian Wanda Group for $3.5 billion, the largest acquisition of an American film production company by a Chinese firm. Wanda chairman Wang Jianlin, his country’s richest man, said he wants to expand and change the landscape of the global film industry.
California-based Jasper Technology also got acquired for $1.4 billion by Networking giant Cisco Systems. Jasper offers cloud-based control software to help companies connect machinery and equipment ranging from vending machines to farming equipment on the Internet. Cisco intends to add industrial-grade Wi-Fi and improve its ability to analyze the data.
Alibaba secured a $3 billion loan to finance more acquisitions and investments. The company had previously acquired Youku Tudou, a Chinese Video site, and taken stakes in Groupon, Snapdeal, Smapchat and PayTM. Media and India seem to be the two major focuses of Alibaba.
Alibaba-backed logistics firm Cainiao raiseed $1.54 billion at a reported $7.7 billion valuation. The firm is only 3 years old and was created to become a UPS-like backbone to deliver throughout China and other markets while leveraging big data to increase efficiency.