The COVID-19 epidemic certainly hasn’t curbed the flow of venture capital, and in 2021, privately owned startups are swelling in esteem. According to CBInsights data, there are more than 500 “unicorns,” or privately owned businesses worth more than $1 billion, and about 30 “decacorns,” whose valuations are more than $10 billion, as of February.
This year, we are seeing much more funding for a small set of high-growth companies in various sectors. With interest rates expected to remain low for a long time to come, VC funding will be exceptionally solid; liquidity will be high, so the cash will stream into these high-growth companies.
Among those startups are Chinese firms including Sequoia-sponsored ByteDance (worth $180 billion), and Softbank-supported Didi Chuxing (worth $62 billion.)
In the U.S., however, things are quite different. Unicorns have been making money lately and months. Here are the top highest-value unicorn startups in America.
SpaceX ($74 Billion)
In its latest fundraising round, Elon Musk’s SpaceX is now the most valued American unicorn at a valuation of $74 billion. This valuation is a major jump up from its last round in August, which valued the rocket production at $46 billion. The company founded by Musk apparently had “crazy interest” for its most recent funding, which help Musk with recovering his status as the richest man on earth (and, sometime in the not so distant future, likely Mars as well).
None of that is surprising to industry experts who believe that SpaceX’s addressable market is expanding,” including space tourism industry sometime in the future.
Stripe ($36 billion)
Second to SpaceX is Stripe, a fintech most recently valued at $36 billion after an extended Series G round in April. However, Stripe might be on track to outperform SpaceX: The startup was in early-stage talks in November to raise another round of financing that could value Stripe at $100 billion (however by certain reports, the payments company is as of now being valued in the $100 billion range in the secondary market). That would make it the highest valued startup in the United States.
While the payments company hasn’t announced any plans to go public, it’s being reported that Stripe may make its IPO debut in 2021. The payments sector is bubbling hot right now.
The company was started in 2010 by Irish brothers Patrick and John Collison, both now in their early 30s. The tremendous valuation reflects how the commerce boom has pushed up the value of listed companies, including Stripe’s rivals such as Adyen and Square, and Checkout, a London-based payments start-up. Other tech companies that have gone public recently have seen some very high valuations.
Elon Musk, Peter Thiel and Y Combinator were some of the early investors in the company. Stripe’s valuation is higher than Facebook’s $80 billion before its initial public offering in 2012. Uber’s valuation rose as high as $72 billion before its IPO in 2019. Even Musk’s SpaceX got a valuation of $74 billion last month.
UiPath ($35 billion)
UiPath ranks third, with a valuation of $35 billion all due to a February Series F funding round of $750 million led by Coatue Management and Alkeon Capital Management. Moreover, the robotic process software company is on track to file for an IPO in December, however it may also opt for a direct listing.
Roblox ($29.5 billion)
Roblox, a video game designing platform, has raised a total of $855.8 million in the private markets to gain a valuation of $29.5 billion.
Roblox files for an IPO in March —through a direct listing. The unicorn said it modified its revenues higher for the first three quarters of 2020 in an updated prospectus after misjudged financial reporting. It was the first direct listing of 2021.
Databricks ($28 billion)
Andreessen Horowitz–backed Databricks just raised a robust $1 billion in February in a Series G round led by Franklin Templeton Investments. This brings the unicorn’s total valuation to $28 billion. Databricks makes big data analytics software to handle data in the cloud. More recently, it announced a collaboration with Google Cloud.
Like Roblox, Databricks plans to make its debut through a public listing in 2021.
Quite similar to Strip, cryptocurrency startup Coinbase is also being valued at more than $100 billion on the MASDAQ Private Market, which would value the company above SpaceX.
But analysts are wary of such huge valuations as inflation is a rising specter in the US, and the vaccine rollout means the economies are opening up and the traditional investment are ready to take a share of the pie.
The Biden administration’s $1.9 trillion stimulus bill will see “old economy” sectors, such as banks and industrials gaining more investment interest.
Stripe fared well during the pandemic, with more than 200,000 new companies in Europe signing up to the platform. John Collison said its systems handled almost 5,000 requests a second in 2020, including payments, refunds, customer data checks, and other queries to its application programming interface. “Stripe itself is now bigger [by payment volumes] than the entire eCommerce market was when we started working on Stripe,” he added.