Global Unicorn Index 2022 Half-Year Report

Source:Hurun Report Author:Hurun Research Institute IssueTime:2022-08-30

The Hurun Research Institute today released the Global Unicorn Index 2022 Half-Year Report, a ranking of the world’s start-ups founded in the 2000s, worth at least a billion dollars and not yet listed on a public exchange. The cut-off date used was 30 June 2022.

GLOBAL UNICORN INDEX 2022 HALF-YEAR REPORT

 

IN SEARCH OF START-UPS FOUNDED AFTER 2000, WITH A VALUATION OF US$1BN AND NOT YET LISTED ON A PUBLIC EXCHANGE.

 

NUMBER OF UNICORNS IN WORLD UP 254 OR 24% TO 1312 UNICORNS, IN SIX MONTHS TO JUNE 2022.

 

USA LEADS GLOBAL START-UP ECOSYSTEM, ADDING 138 UNICORNS TO TOTAL OF 625, JUST UNDER HALF THE WORLD’S TOTAL

 

CHINA SECOND WITH 312 UNICORNS, UP 11.

 

INDIA RETAINS 3RD PLACE WITH 68 UNICORNS, UP 14, PULLING AWAY FROM UK IN FOURTH.

 

 UK 4TH WITH 46 UNICORNS, UP 7. GERMANY MAKES UP TOP 5 WITH 36 UNICORNS, UP 10.

 

ELON MUSK’S CALIFORNIA-BASED SPACEX sHOT UP 25% TO VALUATION OF US$125BN, OVERTAKING HANGZHOU-BASED FINTECH PLATFORM ANT AT US$120BN, DOWN 20%.

 

TIKTOK OWNER Douyin RETAINS TITLE OF WORLD’S MOST VALUABLE UNICORN WITH A VALUE OF US$200BN, DOWN 43% FROM US$350BN.

 

369 UNICORNS MADE GLOBAL UNICORN INDEX FOR FIRST TIME, LED BY USA WITH 187 AND CHINA 59.

 

NEW FACES WERE LED BY FINTECH CHICAGO-BASED CITADEL SECURITIES WITH US$22BN AND SAN FRANCISCO-BASED VISUAL COLLABORATION START-UP MIRO (US$17.5BN). ELON MUSK’S 2016-FOUNDED TUNNEL CONSTRUCTION UNICORN THE BORING COMPANY MADE TOP 10 NEW FACES WITH VALUATION OF US$5.7BN. MUSK HAS A THIRD UNICORN ON THE LIST, AI RESEARCH LABORATORY OPENAI.

 

INSURE-TECH SECTOR GREW THE FASTEST YEAR-ON-YEAR BY 840%, FOLLOWED BY CONSTRUCTION BY 508% AND E-SCOOTERS BY 500%.

 

LOGISTICS DECLINED MOST IN THE LAST SIX MONTHS, SHRINKING 77%, FOLLOWED BY ADTECH BY 49% AND SOCIAL MEDIA BY 40%.

 

BY NUMBER, FINTECH UNICORNS GREW FASTEST, ADDING 29 UNICORNS, FOLLOWED BY BLOCKCHAIN AND ENTERPRISE SERVICES WITH 22 EACH.

 

3% OR 34 UNICORNS ‘PROMOTED’ AFTER IPO OR ACQUISITION.

 

81 UNICORNS DROPPED OFF FROM GLOBAL UNICORN INDEX 2021, AFTER VALUATION DROPPED BELOW US$1BN, OF WHICH 36 ARE FROM THE USA AND 35 ARE FROM CHINA

 

SHENZHEN-BASED FINTECH WEBANK BROKE INTO TOP 10 WITH VALUE OF US$33BN, UP US$3BN, AND LONDON-BASED FINTECH CHECKOUT.COM, RANKED NINTH WITH VALUE OF US$28BN, UP US$13BN.

 

SAN FRANCISCO RETAINED WORLD’S UNICORN CAPITAL WITH 176 UNICORNS. NEW YORK OVERTOOK BEIJING TO TAKE SECOND SPOT WITH 120 UNICORNS. BEIJING THIRD WITH 90 UNICORNS AND SHANGHAI FOURTH WITH 69 UNICORNS.

 

FIRST UNICORNS. ITALY, CROATIA, ECUADOR, GREECE, ICELAND AND SEYCHELLES MADE HURUN INDEX FOR FIRST TIME.

 

no Unicorns: Russia, SAUDI ARABIA, POLAND, VENEZUELA and EGYPT ARE THE largest countries in the world by GDP without a unicorn.

 

Financial services, business management solutions, healthcare AND RETAIL most disrupted by Unicorns.

 

CHINA RIDE-SHARING APP DIDI AND COFFEE BRAND LUCKIN COFFEE RETURNED TO GLOBAL UNICORNS AFTER DELISTING.

 

FINTECH LED WITH 168 UNICORNS, FOLLOWED BY E-COMMERCE AND SAAS WITH 127 EACH. FOURTH HEALTHTECH WITH 97, FOLLOWED BY AI WITH 94, CYBER SECURITY WITH 61 AND BLOCKCHAIN WITH 52.

 

SEQUOIA WORLD’S MOST SUCCESSFUL UNICORN INVESTOR FOR THIRD YEAR, INVESTING INTO ONE IN SIX OF THE WORLD’S UNICORNS. SOFTBANK OVERTOOK TIGER FOR SECOND PLACE, ROUNDING OUT ‘BIG 3 UNICORN INVESTORS’.

 

AVERAGE UNICORN AGE OF 8 YEARS.

 

59 UNICORNS WERE FOUNDED AFTER 2020, LED BY BLOCKCHAIN, UP 10, FOLLOWED BY E-COMMERCE AND CYBER SECURITY WITH SIX UNICORNS EACH 

 

INDIANS FOUNDED FURTHER 56 UNICORNS OUTSIDE INDIA, CHINESE FOUNDED FURTHER 30 OUTSIDE CHINA.

 

AFRICA HAS 4 UNICORNS, UP 1: NIGERIA-BASED FINTECH START INTERSWITCH AND OPAY, SENEGAL-BASED FINTECH START-UP WAVE AND SEYCHELLES-BASED BLOCKCHAIN START-UP KUCOIN.

 

TOTAL VALUE OF ALL KNOWN UNICORNS IN WORLD US$4.2TN, UP 13% OVER THE LAST SIX MONTHS.

 

 

(30 August 2022, Guangzhou, China & Mumbai, India & Sydney, Australia & LA, USA) The Hurun Research Institute today released the Global Unicorn Index 2022 Half-Year Report, a ranking of the world’s start-ups founded in the 2000s, worth at least a billion dollars and not yet listed on a public exchange. The cut-off date used was 30 June 2022. Hurun Research has been tracking unicorns since 2017.

 

This report includes the Most Successful Unicorn Investors in the World 2022 Half-Year Report, a ranking of the 100 most successful unicorn investors, and the Most Successful Unicorn Investors in China 2022 Half-Year Report, a ranking of the 30 most successful unicorn investors, based on the number of unicorns they have invested in.

 

Hurun Research found 1,312 unicorns in the world, based in 48 countries and 259 cities. On average, they were set up eight years ago, i.e. in 2014. 80% sell software and services, with only 20% selling physical products. 48% are consumer-facing, while 52% sell to businesses. The world’s unicorns are disrupting financial services, business management solutions and healthcare. The total value of all known unicorns in the world is US$4.2tn, more than the GDP of Germany.

 

There were 369 ‘new faces’, 81 drop-offs and 34 promotions. Of the 34 unicorns ‘promoted’, 25 went IPO and 9 were acquired. 81 were ‘demoted’ because their valuation dropped below US$1bn.

 

223 unicorns saw their valuations increase in the last six months, while 147 saw their valuations drop and 573 retained their valuation over the last six months.

 

Unicorn founders are 44 years-old on average, meaning that they founded their unicorn when they were 36. Unicorns have 2 founders on average. One third are serial entrepreneurs, having sold out of a previous start-up. 40% met at a previous job, whilst 1 in 8 met at a university. Computer Science and Business Studies were the most common degrees pursued by the founders. One in five unicorns have at least one co-founder from outside the country of origin of the unicorn. The USA, especially Silicon Valley, attracted the most unicorn founders from abroad, followed by Europe. India led the way for emigrant unicorn founders, followed by China, Israel and Russia.

 

 

Hurun Report Chairman and Chief Researcher Rupert Hoogewerf said: “New technologies are dramatically changing our lifestyles, throwing up massive opportunities for those who can envision them. These changes have driven unicorns to new records, with the world minting 2 new unicorns a day for each day of the first half of this year, taking the total of known unicorns to more than 1300. At this rate, 2022 could overtake last year as the best year ever for unicorns and disruptors, all the more surprising, considering that the world’s stock markets were down US$13tn in the same period and high profile unicorns like the buy now pay later.

 

I hope this list of the world’s unicorns can help young entrepreneurs find role models for their businesses.

 

“The Global Unicorn Index 2022 Half-Year Report is designed to highlight the world’s most successful start-ups. These unicorns are leading a new generation of disruptive technology, with fintech, e-commerce, business management solutions, healthtech and AI, industries now attracting the world’s top young talent and smartest capital.”

 

“I am delighted to release the Global Unicorn Index 2022 Half-Year Report on the occasion of the Global Unicorn CEO Conference in Guangzhou, inviting the world’s unicorns, investors and advisers to discuss innovation and entrepreneurship, new technologies and business models.”

 

“Unicorns are a benchmark of a world-class start-up ecosystem. The more unicorns a country has, the better the start-up ecosystem. Currently, the US is dominating, adding over 5 unicorns a week since the end of last year. 48 countries are now able to boast of having at least one unicorn, up from 42 at the end of last year, with the likes of Italy and Croatia officially having unicorns for the first time.”

 

“There is a trend towards serial entrepreneurs, founders who have proven themselves before and are now embarking on a new business. The average age of the founder of a Hurun unicorn, for example, is 36 years old. As the technology demands have increased, so the number of unicorn founders having postgraduate qualifications has increased, followed by five years of work experience with another company and then starting out with their first business aged 29.”

 

“A comparison between the US and China unicorns highlights the current start-up trends for each country.  US unicorns are more in SaaS, fintech and healthtech, whilst China unicorns are in healthtech, AI and e-commerce.”

 

“There has been a massive surge in unicorns since Covid. The 1200 new unicorns minted in the last two years are disrupting financial services, business management solutions, healthcare and retail.”

 

“369 new unicorns have been found in the first six months of this year, two a day. Almost a third of these are doing fintech, SaaS and blockchain. 80% are providing services, with only 20% having physical products. 65% are selling to businesses and 35% to consumers.”

 

“India – for the first time – has more unicorns onshore than abroad, 68 to 56. The percentage of homegrown unicorns has increased from one third two years ago to 55% today.”

 

“Which sectors have the greatest potential? Half of the world’s unicorns are in FinTech, SaaS, E-commerce, AI, HealthTech and Cyber security, specific sectors that the world’s smartest capital is investing into.”

 

“A successful start-up ecosystem requires rolemodels, both individuals, such as those from the Hurun Rich Lists, and companies, such as those from the Hurun 500 most valuable companies series. Attracting the best capitalists, who bring with them money, advice and experience, plays a critical role.  If a city or country can attract the world’s most successful entrepreneurs, companies and venture capitalists to set up shop there, that will have a roll-on effect. Entrepreneurship is infectious and cities with lots of rolemodels are likely to attract the brightest and best young entrepreneurs. It becomes a self-fulfilling prophesy. Today 48 countries have at least one unicorn, up from 42 at the end of last year, with the likes of Italy and Croatia enjoying their first unicorns.”

 

“SE Asia, with its population of over 1 billion, is a region with strong potential for unicorn growth.  Today there are 28 known unicorns headquartered there, led by 12 from Singapore and 5 from Indonesia.  Fintech and e-commerce are leading the way, followed by games and logistics.”

 

“3% or 34 unicorns from last year’s list have been ‘promoted’ out of the list, led by 25 which went IPO and 9 which were acquired. This is down 90% on last year, on the back of adverse market conditions, meaning many fewer IPOs.”

 

“The Global Unicorn Index is compiled using data from the world’s leading investors, the ‘entrepreneurs behind the entrepreneurs’, making this perhaps the most serious attempt to capture all of the world’s unicorns into one list.”

 

“Hurun is committed to promoting entrepreneurship through its lists and research. Hurun’s ‘startup series’ has four main components. It begins with the Hurun U30s Entrepreneurs to Watch, a list of the top entrepreneurs under the age of 30. Next up are two ‘future unicorn’ lists, the pipeline for unicorns: Hurun Cheetahs, most likely to ‘go unicorn’ within 5 years and currently with a valuation of between US$200 million and US$500 million, and Hurun Gazelles, most likely to ‘go unicorn’ within 3 years and currently with a valuation of between US$500 million and US$1 billion. The Global Unicorn Index is the pinnacle of the world’s start-ups.”

 

“You have built your start-up into a unicorn with a billion-dollar valuation. Now, what’s next? The Hurun Global 500, currently requiring a valuation of US$33 billion. Less than 10 unicorns have managed that jump this year, led by Douyin and SpaceX.”

 

 

Top 10 Unicorns in the World

 

This year’s top 10 unicorns make up 17.6% of the total value of the world’s unicorns. 5 are from China, 3 from the USA, and 1 each from the UK and Malta.  

 

There are five new faces: fast fashion platform Shein, Malta-based cryptocurrency exchange Binance, Shenzhen-based digital bank WeBank, Beijing-based digital technology start-up JDT and London-based fintech Checkout.com pushed out Stockholm-based Klarna, which has had a terrible year, Sydney-based Canva, San Francisco-based Instacart and, London-based Revolut.

 

Table 1: Global Unicorn Index 2022 Half-Year Report TOP 10

Rank

Rank Change

Unicorn

Valuation (US$bn)

Valuation change (US$bn)

Country

Sector

Year Founded

1

0

Douyin

200

-150

China

Social Media

2012

2

1

SpaceX

125

25

USA

Aerospace

2002

3

-1

Ant Group

120

-30

China

FinTech

2014

4

0

Stripe

62

-33

USA

FinTech

2010

5

11

Shein

60

40

China

E-commerce

2012

6

15

Binance

45

30

Malta

Blockchain

2017

7

1

Databricks

38

0

USA

Big Data

2013

8

3

WeBank

33

3

China

FinTech

2014

9

2

JDT

30

0

China

Digital Technology

2013

10

11

Checkout.com

28

13

UK

FinTech

2012

Source: Hurun Research Institute

 

Started in 2012, Beijing-based Douyin is officially the world’s most valuable unicorn for the second year running, albeit down US$150bn to US$200bn. Its flagship TikTok has 1.2bn monthly active users. Founder Zhang Yiming, 38, stepped down as CEO in 2020 and ByteDance changed its name to Douyin in May.

 

In the second spot is USA-based SpaceX. Founded by the world’s richest person Elon Musk in 2002, it is the most valuable unicorn in the USA. Since then, SpaceX has raised US$9.5bn in 53 funding rounds, with the latest one valuing the unicorn at US$125bn. SpaceX’s key projects include Starlink, aimed at providing internet connectivity to the whole world, and the Starship rocket, which aims to land humans on the lunar surface and Mars.

 

Hangzhou-based Ant Group is down one place to third with a valuation of US$120bn. Spun out of Alibaba in 2014, Ant was the world’s most valuable unicorn in 2019 and 2020, but has since lost US$30bn of value.

 

Started by Irish brothers John and Patrick Collison in 2010, San Francisco-based payment solutions platform Stripe retains its fourth position for the second time. In March 2021, Stripe announced a US$600mn investment round. Stripe has raised US$2.2bn in 21 funding rounds.

 

Fast fashion platform Shein surged eleven places to take fifth position. The Chinese company saw its valuation increase to US$60bn, up from a US$100bn valuation at the beginning of this year but still triple that of a year ago.

 

Cryptocurrency exchange Binance entered into the Top 10 with its valuation tripling to US$45bn. The world's largest cryptocurrency exchange in terms of daily trading volume was founded in 2017 by CZ Zhao and He Yi, and boasts its own crypto coin, BNB. Headquartered in Malta, CZ and He Yi are based out of Dubai and Singapore. Key investors include Vertex Ventures, Black Hole Capital, and Funcity Capital.

 

San Francisco-based Databricks, a data and AI company, is in 7th place. In August last year, Databricks raised US$1.6bn in a Series H round, valuing it at US$38bn.

 

In 8th place with a valuation of US$33bn is Shenzhen-based digital bank WeBank. Founded in 2014, the start-up is backed by Tencent, Warburg Pincus and Temasek.

 

Breaking into a Top 10 spot is China-based JDT, the fintech unit of e-commerce giant JD.com, with focus on artificial intelligence and cloud computing. JDT provides a range of financial services to clients including supply chain finance, consumer finance, crowdfunding, asset management, payment solutions and insurance.

 

London-based payments platform Checkout.com is in 10th place, up 11, and US$13bn to US$28bn, after raising US$1bn in January.

 

 

Where are the World’s Unicorns based?

 

The world’s unicorns come from 48 countries around the world, up from 42, spread around 259 cities, up from 221 at the end of last year.

 

USA leads with 625 unicorns, up 138, followed by China with 312, up 11.

 

The USA added 187 ‘new faces’, while China added 59. The USA had 15 ‘promotions’ from the index: 11 IPOs and 4 acquisitions. In China, 11 were promoted (9 IPOs), and 35 were demoted, no longer making the cut.

 

India consolidated its Top 3 spot with 68 unicorns, led by online educator BYJU’S worth US$22bn, followed by on-demand delivery start-up Swiggy (US$11bn) and fantasy sports platform travel-stay finder Dream11 (US$8bn). A further 56 unicorns were started by Indian co-founders outside of India, taking the total to 124 unicorns founded by Indians around the world. Of the unicorns founded outside of India, significantly all were in the USA (51), led by the Bay Area, and 2 in the UK, and 1 each in Germany, Singapore and Mexico. For the full 56 index, see Appendix 2.

 

The UK stands fourth with 46 unicorns, led by payment platform Checkout.com with US$28bn. The UK has 12 new unicorns, and 2 ‘promotions’ after going public.

 

Germany retained fifth place, adding 10 unicorns. The most valuable unicorn in Germany is the Munich-based SaaS Celonis with a valuation of US$8.3bn.

 

Israel overtook France for sixth place with 24 unicorns, adding 7 more to its tally.

 

By city. San Francisco retained the title of ‘World Unicorn Capital’ with 176 unicorns, up 25. New York overtook Beijing to take second spot with 120 unicorns, up 35. Beijing with 90 unicorns dropped down to third, followed by Shanghai with 69. London with 39 unicorns was fifth, followed by Bengaluru and Shenzhen with 33 unicorns each.

 

To make the Hurun World’s Top 30 Start-up Cities required at least 8 unicorns. Denver, Austin, Chengdu, Miami and Washington DC broke into the Top 30 for the first time, easing out Nanjing, Hong Kong, Sunnyvale, Atlanta and Seattle.

 

Table 2: Top countries and cities where the world’s unicorns are based

Rank

Country

No. of Unicorns

 

Rank

City

No. of Unicorns

1-

USA

625 (+138)

 

1-

San Francisco

176 (+25)

2-

China

312 (+11)

 

2

New York

120 (+35)

3-

India

68 (+14)

 

3

Beijing

90 (-1)

4-

UK

46 (+7)

 

4-

Shanghai

69 (-2)

5-

Germany

36 (+10)

 

5

London

39 (+8)

6

Israel

24 (+7)

 

6

Bengaluru

33 (+5)

7

France

23 (+4)

 

6

Shenzhen

33 (+1)

8-

Canada

21 (+6)

 

8

Berlin

23 (+6)

9-

Brazil

17 (+5)

 

9

Hangzhou

21 (-1)

10-

South Korea

15 (+5)

 

9-

Paris

21 (+3)

11-

Singapore

12 (+5)

 

11

Palo Alto

19 (+7)

12

Japan

8 (+2)

 

11

Guangzhou

19 (+9)

12

Sweden

8 (+4)

 

13

Boston

17 (+5)

12

Australia

8 (+3)

 

14

Tel Aviv

15 (+4)

15

Netherlands

7 (+4)

 

14

Mountain View

15 (+3)

15

Mexico

7 (+2)

 

14

Sao Paulo

15 (+5)

17

Switzerland

6 (+2)

 

17

Chicago

13 (-2)

18

Indonesia

5 (-2)

 

18

Singapore

12 (+5)

18

Norway

5 (+3)

 

18

Gurugram

12 (0)

18*

Vietnam

5 (+4)

 

18

Mumbai

12 (+3)

21

Ireland

4 (+2)

 

21

Seoul

11 (+4)

21

Finland

4 (+2)

 

21

Los Angeles

11 (+2)

23

Colombia

3 (+1)

 

21

San Mateo

11 (0)

23

UAE

3 (+1)

 

21

Redwood City

11 (0)

23

Turkey

3 (+1)

 

25

Cambridge, USA

9 (+2)

23

Philippines

3 (+1)

 

25*

Chengdu

9 (+4)

23

Spain

3 (0)

 

25*

Austin

9 (+4)

23

Austria

3 (+1)

 

25*

Denver

9 (+5)

29

Nigeria

2 (0)

 

29*

Miami

8 (+3)

29

Denmark

2 (0)

 

29*

Washington DC

8 (+3)

29

Malta

2 (0)

 

 

 

 

29

Thailand

2 (0)

 

 

 

 

29*

Estonia

2 (+1)

 

 

 

 

29*

Belgium

2 (+1)

 

 

 

 

29*

Chile

2 (+1)

 

 

 

 

29*

Lithuania

2 (+1)

 

 

 

 

* New to index

Source: Hurun Research Institute

 

 

A comparison of the USA and China with the Rest of the World

 

USA added 138 unicorns in the last six months to take its tally to 625 unicorns, whilst China added 11 to take it total to 312. The Rest of the World had 375 between them.

 

The total value of all USA-based unicorns stood at US$1.9tn, compared with US$1.3tn for China-based unicorns, and US$1tn for the Rest of the World.

 

By city, both San Francisco and Beijing have similar percentages of unicorns for their respective countries. In the USA, New York was the fast-growing city for unicorns, whilst in China it was Guangzhou. For the Rest of the World, London and Bengaluru led the way, followed by Berlin and Paris.

 

 

Table 3A: Top 10 China and USA Unicorn Cities

Rank

City

No. of Unicorns

% of China Unicorns

 

Rank

City

No. of Unicorns

% of USA Unicorns

1-

Beijing

90 (-1)

29%

 

1-

San Francisco

176 (+25)

28%

2-

Shanghai

69 (-2)

22%

 

2-

New York

120 (+35)

19%

3-

Shenzhen

33 (+1)

11%

 

3

Palo Alto

19 (+7)

3%

4-

Hangzhou

21 (-1)

7%

 

4-

Boston

17 (+5)

3%

5-

Guangzhou

19 (+9)

6%

 

5

Mountain View

15 (+3)

2%

6

Chengdu

9 (+4)

3%

 

6

Chicago

13 (-2)

2%

7

Suzhou

7 (+2)

2%

 

7-

Redwood City

11 (0)

2%

7

Nanjing

7 (-3)

2%

 

7-

San Mateo

11 (0)

2%

7-

Hong Kong

7 (0)

2%

 

7

Los Angeles

11 (+2)

2%

10

Qingdao

5 (0)

2%

 

10*

Cambridge

9 (+2)

1%

 

 

 

 

 

10*

Austin

9 (+4)

1%

 

 

 

 

 

10*

Denver

9 (+5)

1%

* New to index

Source: Hurun Research Institute

 

 

Table 3B: Top 10 Rest of World Unicorn Cities

 

City

No. of Unicorns

% of RoW Unicorns

1-

London

39 (+8)

10%

2-

Bengaluru

33 (+5)

9%

3↑

Berlin

23 (+6)

6%

4↓

Paris

21 (+3)

6%

5↑

San Paolo

15 (+5)

4%

5↑

Tel Aviv

15 (+4)

4%

7↑

Singapore

12 (+5)

3%

7↓

Gurugram

12 (0)

3%

7↑

Mumbai

12 (+3)

3%

10*

Seoul

11 (+4)

3%

Source: Hurun Research Institute

 

 

Table 4A: USA Unicorns by Industry

Rank

Industry

Unicorn %

% of Total Value

Key Unicorns

1

SaaS

14%

13%

Rippling, Notion Labs, Airtable

2

FinTech

11%

16%

Stripe, Citadel Securities, Chime

3

Health Tech

9%

7%

Devoted Health, Ro, Hinge Health

4

Artificial Intelligence

8%

8%

Grammarly, Talkdesk, Agro AI

4

Cyber Security

8%

6%

Tanium, Lacework, Fireblocks

Source: Hurun Research Institute

 

 

Table 4B: China Unicorns by Industry   

Rank

Industry

Unicorn %

% of Total Value

Key Unicorns

1

Health Tech

10%

6%

United Imaging, WeDoctor, Ruipeng Pet

1

Artificial Intelligence

10%

6%

Pony.ai, Weride, Megvii, Yitu

3

E-commerce

9%

12%

Shein, Cars, Dewu, Meione

3

Semiconductor

9%

4%

Chipone, Goertek, FTWafer, Mattson Technology, Innoscience

5

SaaS

6%

4%

Xiaohongshu, 58, WiFi Master Key

5

Enterprise Services

6%

3%

JD Chanfa, XINGYUN GROUP, Dmall

Source: Hurun Research Institute

 

 

Table 4C: Rest of World Unicorns by Industry    

Rank

Industry

Unicorn %

Key Unicorns

1

FinTech

23%

Checkout.com, Revolut, Rapyd

2

E-commerce

17%

J&T Express, Kavak, Yanolja

3

Blockchain

6%

Binance, FTX, Blockchain.com

3

SaaS

6%

Canva, Snyk, Celonis

5

Gaming

4%

Dream11, Moon Active, Sorare

5

Logistics

4%

Forto, Loggi, ElasticRun

5

Cyber Security

4%

1Password, Wiz, SonarSource

Source: Hurun Research Institute

 

 

Can’t find a Unicorn here

 

Russia, Saudi Arabia, Poland, Venezuela and Egypt are the largest countries in the world by GDP without a unicorn.

 

Table 5: Largest countries in the world by GDP without a Unicorn

Rank

Country

Ranking in World by GDP

GDP (US$bn)

1

Russia

11

1,483

2

Saudi Arabia

20

700

3

Poland

21

597

4

Venezuela

25

482

5

Egypt

31

365

6

South Africa

39

335

7

Bangladesh

40

323

8

Pakistan

44

263

9

Romania

46

249

10

Portugal

48

229

Source: Hurun Research Institute.  GDP rankings and dollar values based on World Bank 2020 estimates

 

 

As a continent, North America has the most numbers of unicorns with 654, ahead of Asia with 462. In terms of total valuation, North America led with a value of US$1.9tn, followed by Asia with US$1.7tn and Europe with US$454bn.

 

Table 6: Continents where the World’s Unicorns are based

Rank

Continent

No. of Unicorns

% of Total Value

1-

North America

654 (+145)

46%

2-

Asia

462 (+51)

40%

3 -

Europe

159 (+45)

12%

4 -

South America

24 (+8)

1%

5 -

Oceania

9 (+4)

1%

6 -

Africa

4 (+1)

0.2%

Source: Hurun Research Institute

 

 

New Faces

 

Hurun Research identified 369 new unicorns from 38 countries. The USA added 187, followed by China with 59 and India with 17. These new unicorns were worth US$649bn, more than the GDP of Poland. Didi made a rare return to the Global Unicorn Index, after delisting in the US.

 

Table 7: Top 10 new faces

Rank

Company

Valuation (US$bn)

Country

Sector

Year Founded

1

Citadel Securities

22

USA

FinTech

2001

2

Miro

17.5

USA

Enterprise Services

2011

3

Didi

14.3

China

E-commerce

2012

4

The CrownX

8.2

Vietnam

Consumer Goods

2019

5

Dunamu

8

South Korea

Blockchain

2012

6

Envision Aesc

6.4

China

New Energy

2019

7

KuCoin

6.3

Seychelles

Blockchain

2017

8

iCapital Network

6

USA

FinTech

2013

9

Aion

5.8

China

E-Cars

2017

10

The Boring Company

5.7

USA

Construction

2016

10

RELEX Solutions

5.7

Finland

Enterprise Services

2005

Source: Hurun Research Institute

 

 

Biggest drop in valuations

 

147 unicorns saw their valuations drop in the last six months, of which 71 were from the USA and 29 from China. Beijing-based Douyin led the way with the biggest drop in valuation, down US$150bn to US$200bn. Sweden-based Klarna saw a 86% drop in valuation, while USA-based Stripe saw a 35% drop in total value during the last six months.

 

81 unicorns from the last year saw their valuation drop below US$1bn, of which 36 were from the USA and 35 from China, led by Ping An Healthcare Technology, which had a valuation of US$9bn last year.

 

Table 8: Top 10 biggest drops in valuations

Rank

Unicorn

Change in Valuation (US$bn)

Country

Sector

Year Founded

1

Douyin

-150

China

Social Media

2012

2

Klarna

-39.5

Sweden

FinTech

2005

3

Stripe

-33

USA

FinTech

2010

4

Ant Group

-30

China

FinTech

2014

5

Instacart

-19

USA

On-Demand Delivery

2012

6

Canva

-14

Australia

SaaS

2012

7

InMobi

-10

India

Adtech

2007

8

Revolut

-8

UK

FinTech

2015

9

Cainiao

-7

China

Logistics

2013

10

Chime

-6

USA

FinTech

2013

Source: Hurun Research Institute

 

 

What industries do they come from?

 

Hurun Research has broken down the industries of these unicorns into three: the industries they are disrupting, their core and detailed industries.

 

 

Industries Disrupted

 

Financial Services, Business Management Solutions, Healthcare and Retail have seen the most disruptions by unicorns.

 

Table 9: Top 20 Industries most disrupted by Unicorns

Rank

Industry

% of Unicorns

1 (+1)

Financial Services

18% (+5.9%)

2 (-1)

Business Management Solutions

17% (-6.1%)

3 (+1)

Healthcare

9.6% (+3.2%)

4 (-1)

Retail

8.7% (-10%)

5 (+1)

Cyber Security

5% (+19%)

6 (-1)

Logistics

4.6% (+4.5%)

7 (0)

Transportation

3.3% (-5.7%)

8 (+1)

Energy

2.8% (+56%)

9*

Semiconductors

2.1%

9 (0)

Food and Beverages

2.1% (+17%)

11 (-2)

Education

1.9% (+5.6%)

11 (-3)

Consumer Electronics

1.9% (-30%)

13 (+1)

Gaming

1.5% (0%)

14 (-5)

Automobile

1.4% (-22%)

15 (+2)

Real Estate

1.3% (-7.1%)

15*

Aerospace

1.3% (+8.3%)

17 (-3)

Life Sciences

1.2% (-20%)

18 (-4)

Media & Entertainment

1% (-33%)

18 (-5)

Hospitality

1% (-38%)

18 (-1)

Communications

1% (-29%)

* New to index

Source: Hurun Research Institute

 

 

What is the core business of these unicorns?

 

FinTech, as a core industry, has the most number of unicorns in the world and is followed by E-commerce and SaaS.

 

Table 10: Core Industries of the Unicorns

Rank

Industry

No. of Unicorns

% of Total Value

1 (0)

FinTech

168

17.6%

2 (+1)

E-commerce

127

9.1%

2 (0)

SaaS

127

9%

4 (+1)

Health Tech

97

5.3%

5 (-1)

Artificial Intelligence

94

5.7%

6 (0)

Cyber Security

61

3.3%

7 (+1)

Blockchain

52

5.4%

8 *

Enterprise Services

40

2.1%

8 *

Logistics

40

3.1%

10 (-3)

Biotech

37

1.9%

* New to index

Source: Hurun Research Institute

 

FinTech. There are 168 fintech unicorns in the world today. 24% are payment technology-related unicorns. The most valuable FinTech unicorns are Ant Group (US$120bn), followed by payments platform Stripe (US$62bn) and WeBank (US$33bn). FinTech dominates with US$742bn or 17.6% of the total value of all unicorns.

 

E-commerce. There are 127 e-commerce unicorns with a total value of US$383bn. Apparel retailer Shein with US$60bn and Indonesia’s J&T Express with US$20bn lead the industry valuations, followed by San Francisco-based Faire with US$13bn. With 36 unicorns, the USA has the largest number of e-commerce unicorns, followed by China (28) and India (19).

 

SaaS. With 127 unicorns, SaaS is second. Top SaaS unicorns are Australia based Canva (US$26bn), followed by Shanghai-based Xiaohongshu (US$20bn) and San Francisco-based Rippling (US$11bn). The total value of all SaaS unicorns is US$379bn. 

 

HealthTech has 97 unicorns, making it the 4th largest sector with 7.5% of the unicorns. San Francisco has seen the most unicorn activity in HealthTech and is home to 19 unicorns. Shanghai-based United Imaging is the most valuable HealthTech start-up valued at US$15.5bn, followed by Devoted Health (US$13bn). 

 

Artificial Intelligence boasts 94 unicorns and is at the fifth position, an increase of 10 in six months. With a US$13bn valuation, San Francisco-based AI-powered writing assistant Grammarly leads the industry followed by Talkdesk (US$10bn) and Guangzhou-based Pony.ai at US$8.5bn.

 

Cyber Security has 61 unicorns and is sixth. Led by Emerville-based Tanium (US$9bn), followed by San Jose-based Lacework (US$8.3bn) and New York-based Fireblocks (US$8bn). These unicorns make up 4.7% of the global index and their combined valuation comes to US$140bn.

 

Blockchain comes next with 52 unicorns and is led by Malta-based Binance (US$45bn), followed by Bahamas-based FTX (US$20bn), San Francisco-based Ripple (US$11bn), and New York-based OpenSea (US$10.6bn). These unicorns make up 4% of the global index and their combined valuation comes to US$229bn. 

 

Enterprise Services is eighth with 40 unicorns and a total valuation of US$88bn. San Francisco-based visual collaboration platform Miro with US$17.5bn leads, followed by JD Chanfa with a valuation of US$8bn.

 

Logistics comes eighth with 40 unicorns and a total valuation of US$130bn. Hangzhou-based Cainiao with US$27bn valuation leads, followed by Novi- based Lineage Logistics with a valuation of US$18bn.

 

Biotech is tenth place with 37 unicorns with a total valuation of US$78bn, 2.8% of all unicorns. At the top is clinical-stage biotechnology company Biosplice Therapeutics (US$12bn), followed by Chicago-based Tempus (US$8.1bn).

 

 

Table 11: Core business of the world’s unicorns

Rank

Sector

No. of Unicorns

Total Value (US$bn)

1

Market Place

70

196

2

Payments

41

330

3

Banking

25

61

4

Network Security

17

36

5

Cloud Security

16

40

5

Online education

16

36

7

Cloud Data Services

15

27

7

Insurance

15

33

7

Human Resource Management

15

43

10

Biopharmaceutical

14

21

10

Crypto Currency Exchange Platform

14

111

Source: Hurun Research Institute

 

 

Years to Unicorn

 

The average age of unicorns in the Global Unicorn Index 2022 Half-Year Report is eight years, of which 59 are less than three years old. Only one, MSquared, became a unicorn within its first year of operations.

 

Table 12: Youngest Unicorns

Year Founded

Unicorn

Valuation (US$bn)

Sector

Country

2022

MSquared

1

Blockchain

UK

2021

Zeekr

9

E-Cars

China

Sierra Space

4.5

Aerospace

USA

Yuga Labs

4

Blockchain

USA

Autograph

3.7

Blockchain

USA

Aleph Holding

2

Media

USA

ClickHouse

2

Big Data

USA

Saks.com

2

E-commerce

USA

ROX Motor

2

E-Cars

China

Star Cm

1.6

Entertainment

China

JOKR

1.2

On-Demand Delivery

USA

Phantom

1.2

Blockchain

USA

Candy Digital

1.1

FinTech

USA

GlobalBees

1.1

Investments

India

Anthropic

1

Artificial Intelligence

USA

Aptos

1

Blockchain

USA

Emplifi

1

Cloud

USA

LayerZero Labs

1

Blockchain

USA

Mensa Brands

1

Investments

India

Source: Hurun Research Institute

 

 

Which investors are the best at finding Unicorns?

 

Sequoia retained its title of the most successful unicorn investor in the world having invested in 234 unicorns, up 28 from the last index. Moving up by one rank, Softbank is the second most successful investor with 180 unicorns in its portfolio. Tiger is in the third position with 169 unicorns in its portfolio and Tencent stands fourth having invested in 90 unicorns. Between them, the top three investors have invested in almost 44% of the unicorns in the world.

 

For the full index of the Most Successful Unicorn Investors in the World 2022 Half-Year Report, see Appendix 1.

 

Table 13A: Most successful investors into Unicorns – Top 10

Rank

Investor

No. of Unicorns

HQ by Country

Key Leadership Team

1-

Sequoia Capital

234 (+28)

USA

Roelof Botha, Neil Shen

2

SoftBank

180 (+34)

Japan

Junichi Miyakawa

3

Tiger

169 (+22)

USA

Scott Shleifer, Chase Coleman

4

Tencent

90 (+22)

China

Liu Chiping

5-

Insight Partners

89 (+18)

USA

Jeff Horing

6

Accel

85 (+11)

USA

Jim R. Swartz, Arthur Patterson

7-

Andreessen Horowitz

84 (+14)

USA

Ben Horowitz

8*

Y Combinator

80 (+22)

USA

Jessica Livingston

9

Coatue

78 (+11)

USA

Kris Fredrickson

10

Goldman Sachs

75 (+4)

USA

David Solomon

Source: Hurun Research Institute * New to index

 

 

Which investors are the most successful at finding China Unicorns?

 

Table 13B: Most successful investors into China Unicorns – Top 30

Rank (Change)

Investor

No. of China Unicorns (Change)

1-

Sequoia China

103 (+7)

2 (+3)

CICC

71 (+41)

3 (+1)

Tencent

55 (+14)

4 (-1)

IDG Capital

50 (0)

5 (-3)

Hillhouse Capital

44 (-8)

6*

CITIC

35

7-

Matrix Partners China

29 (+5)

8 (+4)

Alibaba

28 (+10)

9 (-3)

Qiming Venture Partners

26 (+1)

9 (+2)

Softbank

26 (+7)

11*

CPE Investment

25

12 (-4)

YF Capital

24 (+2)

13 (-4)

GGV Capital

23 (+3)

13 (+1)

5Y Capital

23 (+6)

15 (-6)

Shunwei Capital

20 (0)

16 (+7)

Legend Capital

19 (+12)

16 (+7)

Xiaomi

19 (+12)

16 (+7)

Temasek

19 (+12)

16 (-1)

CDH

19 (+4)

20 (-3)

SIG

16 (+5)

20*

Oriza

16

20*

SCGC

16

20*

CCB international

16

20 (+9)

Eastern Bell Capital

16 (+10)

25*

BOC

14

25*

Green Pine Capital

14

27 (-15)

Zhen Fund

13 (-5)

27*

Source Code Capital

13

27*

Primavera

13

27*

Co-stone

13

Source: Hurun Research Institute * New to index

 

 

Unicorns gone IPO or acquired

 

34 unicorns from last year were ‘promoted’ out of the Hurun Unicorn Index. 25 went IPO and 9 were acquired.

 

Of the promotions, 10 shot straight into the Hurun Global 500, becoming one of the 500 most valuable companies in the world, led by Beijing-based TikTok owner Douyin (US$200bn). Others include SpaceX (US$125bn), Ant Group (US$120bn) and Stripe (US$62bn).

 

4 unicorns, which went IPO in the last six months, saw their valuations drop to below US$1bn, led by Quanergy Systems and Dave, which dropped over 90% after their IPO.

 

 

Software and services versus physical products?

 

80% sell software and services, led by FinTech and followed by SaaS, E-commerce and AI.

 

20% have a physical product as a core business offering, led by Semi-Conductor, Food & Beverages and Heath Tech. In the last index, physical product as a core business offering, were led by Biotech, HealthTech and Consumer Goods.

 

 

Comparison between Gazelles, Unicorns and Global 500

 

A Gazelle is a start-up founded in the 2000s, worth over US$500mn, not yet listed on a public exchange and most likely to ‘go unicorn’, i.e. hit a valuation of US$1bn, within three years.  The Hurun Global 500 is a list of the 500 most valuable non state-controlled businesses in the world.

 

The pipeline for the Hurun Global 500 is the Global Unicorn Index and the pipeline for the Global Unicorn Index is the Hurun Global Gazelle Index. From this, we can see how China and India have a higher percentage of Gazelles and Unicorns, which over the course of 5 years, will translate into a higher percentage of Global 500s. In the same way, Germany, France and Canada have a smaller percentage of start-ups, which suggests they will lose ground in the Global 500.

 

 

Country

% of Gazelles

 

 

Country

% of Unicorns

 

 

Country

% of Global 500

1

USA

38%

 

1

USA

48%

 

1

USA

49%

2

China

32%

 

2

China

24%

 

2

China

9%

3

India

7%

 

3

India

5%

 

3

Japan

6%

4

UK

5%

 

4

UK

4%

 

4

UK

5%

5

Germany

2.4%

 

5

Germany

3%

 

5

Germany

4%

6

France

1.8%

 

6

Israel

2%

 

6

France

3.8%

6

Israel

1.8%

 

7

France

1.8%

 

7

Canada

3.4%

6

Singapore

1.8%

 

8

Canada

1.6%

 

8

Switzerland

3%

9

Canada

1.1%

 

9

Brazil

1.3%

 

9

India

2.4%

10

Switzerland

1%

 

10

South Korea

1.1%

 

10

Australia

2.2%

10

Australia

1%

 

 

 

 

 

 

Source: Hurun Research Institute

 

 

By city, San Francisco, Shanghai, Beijing, Shenzhen and Bengaluru have more start-ups and ought to have more Global 500s within five years.

 

 

City

% of Gazelles

 

 

City

% of Unicorns

 

 

City

% of Global 500

1

San Francisco

11%

 

1

San Francisco

13%

 

1

New York

6%

2

Shanghai

10%

 

2

New York

9%

 

2

London

3.4%

3

Beijing

7%

 

3

Beijing

7%

 

2

Tokyo

3.4%

4

New York

6%

 

4

Shanghai

5%

 

4

San Francisco

3%

5

London

4.7%

 

5

London

3%