The world has changed. Just over 10 years ago, Bytedance didn’t exist. Five years ago, it launched TikTok. Today, it’s the world largest unicorn with a market valuation of $360 billion.
In 2013, the term “unicorn startup” was coined by venture capitalist, Aileen Lee. At the time, there were just 39 private companies around the world that possessed a certain “magical quality” and were valued at over $1 billion. By February 2022 — a mere nine years later — the number broke 1,000. Since then, 68 more companies have been added to the list and, collectively, they are worth over $3.5 trillion.
The U.S. is home to the largest number of unicorns (488 and counting), and it takes, on average, about seven years for a company to reach a $1 billion valuation. Unless, of course, you’re the Chicago-based AI firm Avant, which is the fastest unicorn in history. Founded in 2012 by Al Goldstein, Paul Zhang and John Sun, it took just one month and 16 days for the company to become a unicorn. The meteoric rise of the unicorn certainly feels unprecedented.
Following closely on the heels of the unicorn is, of course, the ‘soonicorn’: the ‘soon-to-be-unicorn’ expected to reach $1 billion in the next 24 months. While the U.S. should continue to be the main breeding ground for new unicorns (there are 1,619 on the horizon), Europe, India and China are catching up. According to a recent report published by i5invest, there are currently 253 soonicorns in Europe alone.
The global number has been rising in part because of an influx in both startups and investors, plus there’s an extraordinary amount of investment money looking for a home — we’re talking $621 billion in 2021. That’s more than double the 2020 amount. It seems Covid-19’s reshaping of the economy has certainly accelerated the boom.
There’s no question; the world of soonicorns and unicorns is an interesting one. If you want in, here are three companies with open roles that could be just what you’re looking for. To check out more open roles, visit our Job Board.
The last couple of years have been huge for startups offering Buy Now, Pay Later (BNPL) services, with valuations going through the roof and estimations accounting for about $100 billion worth of transactions every year. Now, it’s the turn of Berlin-based soonicorn, Billie, which is en route to becoming the ‘Klarna’ of the B2B market. The Fintech enables companies to pay and get paid on their own terms simply and easily through modern checkout solutions.
In October 2021, it raised $100 million in a Series C round of funding led by London’s Dawn Capital that nearly quadrupled its valuation to $640 million. Most notable about the round is that it had a very interesting mix of financial and strategic investors. Along with Dawn Capital, a specialist in B2B startups, internet giant Tencent and Klarna also participated; with previous backers Creandum, Speedinvest, Picus and GFC in the round.
There are also those early-stage startups worth watching — the ones that have a good chance of finding themselves in the right place at the right time with the right technology. QuEra Computing is one of them — a ‘minicorn’, if you will. Founded in 2019 by research scientists from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and Harvard University, it now comprises a world-class team of physicists, engineers and entrepreneurs focused on the challenges of designing, building and evolving a quantum computing service.
In November 2021, the company emerged with $17 million in venture capital, raised from Rakuten, Day One Ventures, Frontiers Capital and others. QuEra says it’s already generated $11 million in revenue, and recently received a research award from the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency. While it might be some way off unicorn and even soonicorn status, all signs lead to huge success.
QuEra Computing is seeking a creative DevOps Engineer who will be a key collaborator in its efforts to launch the first publicly-accessible neutral-atom quantum computer. If you’re not satisfied with mediocre cookie-cutter approaches, you’ll thrive in this environment.
For more roles at QuEra Computing, check out our Job Board.
Exscientia, which recently reached unicorn status, is at the forefront of a revolution that’s set to transform how medications are developed. It all started when Welsh scientist, Andrew Hopkins, dreamed up his artificial intelligence (AI) biotech company while walking home from the laboratory. After nearly a decade working at drug giant Pfizer, followed by five years at the University of Dundee in Scotland where he researched applied data mining and machine learning to the pharmaceutical industry, Hopkins founded Excientia in 2012.
Now this innovative pharmatech company applies AI to the discovery of new and better drugs for patients. Its growth in valuation is exceptional, increasing 322% in under a year, from $234 million in May 2020 to $987 million in April 2021. It’s now worth over $2.9 billion.
Its innovation is driven by people; highly talented multi-disciplinary teams that work collaboratively to solve real-world drug discovery problems. Currently, there’s a role for a Senior Full-Stack Developer in the Discovery Informatics department, where you’ll have exposure to the full SDLC, working on highly innovative products that support decision-making in drug discovery as part of the company’s AI-enabled drug discovery. This role can be based in Exscientia’s offices in Boston or Miami, in Dundee or Oxford in the U.K., or you can work remotely.
For more roles at Exscientia, check out our Job Board.
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