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October 27, 2021updated 27 Jan 2022 1:50pm

How the US rules the tech unicorns club

By GlobalData Thematic Research

In the early 2000s, unicorns (privately held start-ups worth over $1 billion) first emerged in the US. The country continues to dominate the unicorn club. According to GlobalData, there are 751 tech unicorns as of 31 August 2021, of which 379 are headquartered in the US and collectively achieved a valuation of $1.3 trillion.

The US tech unicorns have emerged stronger following the Covid-19 pandemic. There was a fall in the rate of tech unicorn births in 2020, with only 22 new unicorn formations in the first half of the year. However, the country saw 136 new unicorns in the first half of 2021, six times more than in the previous year.

California hosts most of the tech unicorns

California has emerged as the birthland of tech unicorns, as it hosts over half of those in the US as a whole. It is home to 205 of 379 tech unicorns in the country, including 11 of the top 15 American tech unicorns by valuation at their last funding round.

Stripe is the most valuable tech unicorn in California, with a valuation of $95 billion, followed by SpaceX valued at $74 billion, and Instacart with a $39 billion valuation. Databricks, Chime, Ripple, and Reddit follow Instacart in the most valued unicorns in California.

New York has the second largest number of tech unicorns with 64 of them including Better.com, Ro, Dataiku, and Chainalysis followed by 17 in Massachusetts.

The US is home to most of the cloud unicorns

The US is home to more unicorns operating within the cloud, fintech, healthtech, big data, and cybersecurity themes as compared to other regions. 81 of the cloud unicorns are headquartered in the US and collectively worth $204 billion. The US hosts 53 fintech unicorns and the combined valuation from the US stands at $249 billion.

Healthtech is the next big theme with 29 unicorns and a combined valuation of $59 billion. The other two themes are big data and cybersecurity. Currently, 24 unicorns operate in big data theme in the US with a total valuation of $75 billion and 21 American unicorns operate in cybersecurity which is collectively worth $54 billion.

Top investors in unicorns

Tiger Global Management, Andreessen Horowitz, Sequoia Capital, Accel, and Softbank are the most active investors in the American tech unicorns.

Tiger Global Management has backed 89 unicorns in the US as of 31 August 2021. The biggest ones by valuation in its portfolio include Stripe, Instacart, Databricks, Chime, ServiceTitan, OutSystems, and Carta. Andreessen Horowitz has also backed up 51 unicorns and the most valuable ones in its basket are Stripe, Instacart, Databricks, Fanatics, Plaid Technologies. Sequoia Capital has invested in 43 unicorns in the US, including the biggest ones such as Stripe, Instacart, Chime, Figma, Aurora, and Reddit. It is followed by Accel which has backed up 42 unicorns, and Softbank which has invested in 40 unicorns in the US.

The US will continue to dominate as it expects more start-ups to achieve unicorn status this year and we also expect at least 35 unicorns from the US to exit the unicorn club into the public markets in the next two years. The biggest companies that are anticipated to list on the public market are Stripe, Instacart, Databricks, Chime, and Ripple.