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Year of the unicorn: 24 companies surpass $1bn valuation this year

City AM logo City AM 04/02/2021 Angharad Carrick
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There has been somewhat of a stampede of companies reaching unicorn status since the start of the year following a strong year for the tech sector. 

Some 24 companies have already reached $1bn valuation since the start of the year with a particularly strong showing from e-commerce and fintech companies, according to research by Tipalti. 

2021 is seeing the continuation of a surge in investments seen in 2020, with five companies receiving unicorn status in the first week of January alone. 

Read more: London IPO activity off to a flying start with busiest January since 2006

It is an impressive feat after a year of pandemic-related restrictions pushing many businesses under.

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Just one UK company – payments infrastructure provider PPRO – has pushed into unicorn territory following a $180m funding round. Last year clothes brand Gymshark and online used car retailer Cazoo reached valuations of $1.3bn and $2.5bn respectively.

Electric vehicle Arrival’s valuation soared to $3.9bn at the start of the year before merging with a blank-cheque company to go public in the US at a listing valued at $5.4bn. 

“As more new innovations and services are created as a result of our “new normal”, we could see an even bigger burst in new startups and investments moving into 2021,” said Rob Israch, Tipalti’s CMO. 

The US is unsurprisingly leading the way: six of the ten most valuable companies which have reached unicorn status are based in the US including Zapier and Hinge Health. 

“When we take a close look at the unicorns in the market, it is clear that these businesses have reached status by focusing on the product-market-fit for their specific product,” Israch said. 

“Our research shows that the fintech and ecommerce industries in particular were thriving in 2020, suggesting that these, along with other growing industries such as AI and internet services, will continue to service and innovate consumers in their time of need and hit unicorn status in 2021.” 

Read more: Dr Martens valued at more than £3.7bn in London IPO

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