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New study: The most popular unicorn startups

Unicorn companies are defined as a privately held startup company with a valuation over $1 billion. The term was coined in 2013 by venture capitalist Aileen Lee, choosing the mythical animal to represent the statistical rarity of such successful ventures. The list of companies that have reached “unicorn” status includes household names like Uber, Spotify, and Twitter.

Unicorns cut across a number of fields. One of the most highly valued investment areas is artificial intelligence, to the extent that Toutiao (Bytedance) is currently the most highly valued unicorn in the world, at $75 billion. The Chinese company reachd unicorn status in 2017 and it is pioneering AI systems, backed by an investment group comprising of Sequoia Capital China, SIG Asia Investments, Sina Weibo, and Softbank Group.

To explore some of the world’s leading unicorns, McGuffin Creative Group surveyed over 4,000 consumers to determine which unicorn companies’ consumers are most familiar with.

Some of the more interesting findings from the report include, in relation to brand awareness, Reddit (valued at $1.8 billion), Airbnb, Buzzfeed, Credit Karma and DoorDash are the best-known unicorn companies. Awareness of brands varied so little across age and gender categories.

While the bulk of the data indicates that a higher valuation leads to higher awareness, this is not always the case. For instance, there are exception like JUUL Labs who is valued at $50 billion but is known by just 36 percent of consumers. JUUL Labs, Inc. is a U.S. electronic cigarette company which spun off from Pax Labs in 2017.

The fastest-growing unicorns are JUUL labs (increasing in value to the tune of $68.7 million per day), Epic Games ($34.7 million per day), Scopely ($20 million per day), DoorDash ($18 million per day) and Airbnb ($11.1 million per day and valued at $35 billion overall). Growth is indicated by the value added per day since the company joined the unicorn list.

Written By

Dr. Tim Sandle is Digital Journal's Editor-at-Large for science news. Tim specializes in science, technology, environmental, and health journalism. He is additionally a practising microbiologist; and an author. He is also interested in history, politics and current affairs.

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