Where in the World is the Next Billion Dollar Startup?


February 19, 2015

Atomico, the venture capital investment company created by tech entrepreneur Niklas Zennström, is publishing its research about “unicorns”, that is, billion dollar startups. So far, it has identified 156 billion dollar startups. Interestingly, they are not all located in Silicon Valley. According to Atomico, the majority (63%) come from Europe and China, as well as from other parts of the US. The top six hubs are Beijing (20), New York (8), Stockholm (5) and Berlin, Los Angeles and London (4). The graph from Atomico here shows that Silicon Valley began to yield its share in 2011 as more and more companies outside the region found investors willing to grant a billion dollar plus valuation to their businesses.

Other findings

  • It typically takes six years to reach a billion dollar valuation, but of late time shortened (32 did it within three years of being founded).
  • On average 14 startups a year are hitting the billion dollar valuation point
  • Vintage year was 2007 when 25 companies achieved unicorn status
  • Stick with founder CEOs as they drive value growth (85% of Atomico’s list had the founding CEO at the helm)
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