Unicorn fever: VCs have it and it is spreading fast!

There have been 16 companies valued at $1 billion in 2015, putting us on pace for 50 this year

Financial trends and news by Steven Loeb
April 15, 2015
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It's no secret that so-called "unicorns," or companies that have a valuation of at least $1 billion, are becoming more prevalent.

In 2014 alone, 38 different companies entered the $1 billion club. That is more than the three previous years, when only 22 companies made it combined. That included KabamTangoEventbrite, and JustFab.

Amazingly, this year is already on track to surpass that number, by far, according to a new report out from CB Insights. In just the first four months of this year, 16 companies have already reached unicorn status.

In March alone 7 companies raised money at billion-dollar valuations, and two of them were added to the list in just the last day! If that number holds, there will be 50 new billion dollar companies by the end of this year.

"By the time you finish reading this research brief, 2-3 more will likely be added to the club. Yes – things are just that nuts," wrote CB Insights, I'm guessing only half jokingly.

Of the 16 new billion dollar companies, six of them are international. While every unicorn based in the United States had raised money in a late-stage financing round, two of the six international unicorns raised at a mid stage round.

Here's the list of all the companies that have become unicorns so far this year, along with the round that pushed them over the top:

  • Lyft

The ride-sharing service raised a $530 million funding round led by Rakuten in March, valuing it at $2.5 billion.

Lyft has raised $862 million in all. It raised $250 million in April 2014 and had previously raised $333 million from investors that included Floodgate, K9 Ventures, The Mayfield Fund and Andreessen Horowitz. 

The company was founded in 2012.

  • Domo Technologies

Business management platform Domo raised $200 million in a funding round earlier this month, led by Blackrock, with Capital Group, Glynn Capital Management and GGV Capital participating.

The company has raised $448.7 million and is now valued at $2 billion.

Domo was founded in 2010.

  • One97 Communications

The Indian mobile internet company, which offers digital goods & services to mobile consumers under Paytm brand, raised $575 million from Alibaba in January, valuing it at $2 billion. 

The company is 15 years old. 

  • Prosper Marketplace

The online marketplace for credit raised a $165 million Series D round in April, led by Credit Suisse NEXT Investors, along with J.P. Morgan Asset Management, SunTrust Banks, BBVA Ventures, Neuberger Berman Private Equity Funds, Passport Capital, Breyer Capital, and others.

The company has raised a total of $314.9 million and is valued at $1.9 billion.

It was founded in 2006.

  • Tanium 

The systems and security management company raised $52 million from Andreessen Horowitz, giving  it a total of $142 million raised and a $1.75 billion valuation.

Tanium was founded in 2007.

  • Shazam

The media engagement company reached unicorm status when it raised a $30 million round of funding in January. 

In all, it has raised $125 million in venture funding from investors that include America Movil, Sony Music Entertainment, Kleiner Perkins

Shazam was founded in 2002.

  • Social Finance

A marketplace lender and provider of student loan refinancing, the company raised $200 million in February from  Third Point Ventures, Wellington Management Company, Institutional Venture Partners and existing investors, to value it at a $1.3 billion.

In all, the company has raised $766 million.

It was founded just over four years ago, in April 2011. 

  • Nextdoor

The social network dedicated to creating networks based on local neighborhoods raised a $110 million funding round led by Redpoint Ventures and Insight Venture Partners in March.

The round brought its total raised to $210 million and valued it at $1.1 billion.

Nextdoor launched in October 2011.

  • TransferWise

The online currency exchange company raised a $58 million round from Andreessen Horowitz in January.

TransferWise has raised over $90 million in venture funding, and is now valued at $1 billion.

It was founded in 2010.

  • Sprinklr

The enterprise social technology company raised $46 million in a round led by Battery Ventures, Intel Capital, and Iconiq Capital in April.

It has raised a total of $123.5 million and is valued at $1 billion.

Sprinkr was founded in 2009.

  • SimpliVity

A provider of hyperconverged infrastructure for IT, the company raised $175 million in Series D funding in March, led by Waypoint Capital, with Accel Partners, Charles River Ventures, DFJ Growth, Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers (KPCB) and Meritech Capital Partners also contributing.

With $276.5 million in funding, SimpliVity is worth $1 billion.

It was founded in 2009.

  • Farfetch

A global e-commerce site for independent boutiques, the company raised $86 million in March, in a round led by DST Global, along with Conde Nast and Vitruvian Partners.

In all, FarFetch has raised $194.5 million and is worth $1 billion.

It was founded in 2008.

  • BeiBei

The Chinese maternal and infant product e-commerce platform raised $100 million in January from Banyan Capital Partners, IDG Capital Partners, New Horizon Capital and Capital Today.

it has raised $124.4 million and is valued at $1 billion.

Amazingly, the company was only founded a year ago, in April 2014.

  • Docker 

The open sourced platform raised $95 million in a round led by Insight Venture Partners, with Coatue, Goldman Sachs and Northern Trust. Existing investors Benchmark, Greylock Partners, Sequoia Capital, Trinity Ventures  and AME Cloud Ventures also participating.

It has raised $150 million in total venture funding.

Docker was founded in 2010.

  • Zomato 

The online and mobile restaurant search and discovery service raised $50 million from Info Edge, Sequoia Capital and Vy Capital this week.

It has now raised $113.8 million in venture funding.

Zomato was founded in 2008.


Unlike the others on this list, Lynda did not become a unicorn through venture financing, but through its exit. It was purchased by LinkedIn for $1.5 billion.

The company had raised $289 million in funding, including a $186 million round in January that valued it at $1 billion. Investors in the company include Meritech Capital Partners, Spectrum Equity, Accel Partners and TPG.

It was founded in 1995.

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