Here comes the big league of the startup universe – even surpassing the unicorns!
Over the years, many startups have entered the global marketplace and revolutionized the ways we live. Companies with unique problem-solving methods and an ability to create one-size-fits-all solutions are the ones that make the leap to acquiring the unicorn status (companies with a US$1 billion valuation).
As of September 2021, there are over 800 unicorns in the world. The most successful startups have even crossed the threshold of being unicorns and now become dragons (startups with a valuation of over US$12 billion). Globally, there are 19 dragons in the startup world, and here’s a list of the top five startups in the dragon category.
Bytedance is a China-based internet technology startup with a valuation of US$140 billion. The company was founded by entrepreneurs Zhang Yiming and Liang Rubo. While you may not directly recognize Bytedance, their subsidiary TikTok is a household name across the world today.
The company is also responsible for Douyin as well as Xigua Video (in China), Helo (in India) and Lark (in Japan and Singapore). Bytedance’s content platforms have an active monthly user base of 1.9 billion across its platforms.
The next company on this list is the U.S.-based aerospace giant SpaceX, which was founded by business magnate Elon Musk. The company has a valuation of US$100 billion and is known for making the first reusable rocket ever, Falcon 9.
Their innovation has drastically reduced the cost of space travel. Today, Falcon 9 is the only way to travel from the U.S. to the International Space Station. They have even been responsible for sending the first all-civilian crew to space.
Stripe is a U.S.-based FinTech company that provides payment processing software for e-commerce platforms. It was founded by Irish entrepreneur brothers John and Patrick Collison. The company has a valuation of US$95 billion with customers like Figma, Notion, Shopify, Amazon and Wayfair. Stripe provides its services to companies in over 120 countries worldwide.
The fourth name on this list is another financial services company. Klarna is a Sweden-based company founded by Sebastian Siemiatkowski, Niklas Adalberth and Victor Jacobsson. It provides global payment solutions for a flexible shopping experience. The company has a valuation of US$45.6 billion.
The company has 90 million active users across 250,000 merchants in 17 countries. It is commonly known as a “buy now, pay later” service provider.
Canva is an Australia-based graphic design platform with a US$40 billion valuation. It was founded by husband and wife entrepreneur duo Melanie Perkins and Cliff Obrecht. The platform has over 60 million users in over 190 countries. The platform is used by many companies including Zoom, Paypal, Marriott International and American Airlines.
These companies have made millions for their founders and investors. 2021 has been a particularly lucky year for startups. In the first year alone, startups raised over US$292.4 billion globally, which is a 140% increase when compared to 2020. Furthermore, over 354 unicorns have reached the billion-dollar mark this year. According to CB Insights, the world’s unicorn numbers are expected to be over 1,000 by 2022.
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