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Digital economy

Unicorn Companies

Analysis of technology startups valued at over one billion dollars


Last revision date: 09/02/2024


Unicorn companies are disruptive and often disrupt traditional sectors, generating considerable economic value, creating jobs, and attracting investments that can stimulate regional economies. They are at the forefront of innovation, introducing new technologies and business models that can drive development and modernization across various industries.

The results of this study are conclusive regarding the rise of entrepreneurial innovation in the region. In the global context of unicorn companies, Latin America and the Caribbean stand out with a total of 32 companies, demonstrating significant progress in the region. While this number is lower compared to other areas such as the Asia-Pacific or the United States, it highlights steady growth and a conducive environment for innovation and business development in the region. This diverse set of companies, with representatives like Kavak, Rappi, and QuintoAndar, in sectors ranging from fintech to e-commerce and real estate, underscores the strength and variety of emerging markets in the region. This continuous development reflects the potential and attraction the region holds for investments and innovative startups, marking significant milestones in its evolution and consolidation in the global business landscape.

Unicorn companies, world region, 2023

(In quantity)

Indicator ID

Source: own elaboration based on CB Insights.

 

Word cloud for unicorn company valuations, worldwide, 2023

(Size according to market value in billions of USD)

 

nube_palabrs_unicornio

 

Source: own elaboration based on CB Insights.

Among the 1,220 unicorn companies worldwide, those leading in terms of value stand out. ByteDance tops the list with a value of 225 billion dollars, followed by SpaceX with 150 billion dollars. This diverse list includes companies from various industries, from technology and fintech to e-commerce and education. Companies like Stripe, OpenAI, and Discord represent innovation in technology and digital platforms, while others like Fanatics and SHEIN set trends in e-commerce. The combined value and variety of sectors represented in these companies reflect the diversity and steady growth of the global business landscape, signaling areas of opportunity and innovation that could drive the global economy in the coming years.

Unicorn companies, world regions, 2023

(In quantity)

Indicator ID

Source: own elaboration based on CB Insights.

The data compilation on the number of unicorn companies by region presents an uneven picture in the distribution of these companies worldwide. While the Asia-Pacific and China lead with 138 and 172 unicorns respectively, the United States stands out with an astonishing total of 653. However, Latin America and the Caribbean show promising progress, with 32 unicorn companies. This data highlights significant growth in the region, signaling emerging potential in the business and technological landscape. Although this number is lower compared to other areas, it indicates an upward trend and a conducive environment for innovation and business development in Latin America and the Caribbean.

Market value of unicorn companies, world region, 2023

(Market value in billions of USD)

Indicator ID

Source: own elaboration based on CB Insights.

The data on the market value of unicorn companies by region shows a clear disparity in distribution worldwide. While the Asia-Pacific and China lead with a cumulative value of 440.32 billion and 649.13 billion dollars respectively, Latin America and the Caribbean present a total of 71.79 billion dollars. Although considerably lower compared to other regions such as the United States or Europe, it indicates growth and positive valuation of technological entrepreneurship in the region.

Unicorn companies by industry, worldwide, 2023

(In quantity)

Indicator ID

Source: own elaboration based on CB Insights.

The results on the number of unicorn companies by industry reveal a diverse and dynamic distribution in the global business landscape. Enterprise technologies lead with 371 companies, reflecting the importance of innovation in the corporate realm and the drive towards cutting-edge solutions for businesses. This is followed by e-commerce, consumer and retail, as well as financial services, both with notable figures of 213 and 216 companies respectively. This distribution indicates a strong presence of disruptive companies in traditional sectors, showing the relevance of technological advancement and the redefinition of key industries in the current market.

Unicorn companies, Latin America and the Caribbean, 2023

(In quantity)

Indicator ID

Source: own elaboration based on CB Insights.

Word cloud for unicorn company valuations, Latin America and the Caribbean, 2023

(Size according to market value in billions of USD)

Indicator ID

Source: own elaboration based on CB Insights.

The presence of 32 unicorn companies in Latin America and the Caribbean reflects a constant evolution and growth in the economic landscape. Companies like Kavak (Mexico) with a market value of 8.7 billion dollars, followed by Rappi (Colombia) with 5.25 billion and QuintoAndar (Brazil) with 5.1 billion, stand out. The diversity in the distribution of these unicorns shows the strength and variety of emerging markets in the region, with representatives in sectors such as fintech, real estate, e-commerce, and technology, among others. This continuous development reflects the potential and attraction the region holds for investments and innovative startups.

Unicorn companies, Latin America an the Caribbean countries, 2023

(In quantity)

Indicator ID

Source: own elaboration based on CB Insights.

The distribution of unicorn companies in the Latin America and the Caribbean region highlights the diversity and potential of multiple countries in terms of innovation and business development. Brazil leads with a presence of 16 unicorns, followed by Mexico with 8 and Colombia with 3. The inclusion of countries like Chile, with 2, and Argentina, with 1, demonstrates an emerging ecosystem of startups and innovative companies, while the presence of unicorns in less traditional technological countries, such as Ecuador and Bermuda, underlines the geographical breadth and promotion of innovation in the region. This varied landscape reflects the growth and diversification of emerging markets in the region.

Unicorn companies by year founded, Latin America and the Caribbean

(In quantity)

Indicator ID

Source: own elaboration based on CB Insights.

The evolution of unicorn companies in the region shows gradual but significant growth in recent years. While only one company each year was registered in 2015 and 2017 with this status, from 2018 onwards, a steady increase is evident, with 4 in 2019 and again 4 in 2020. However, it is in 2021 where a marked boost is observed, with a notable jump to 13 unicorns, indicating a surge in the emerging business ecosystem. Although 2022 recorded 7 companies, showing some fluctuation, the exponential growth in 2021 indicates a key year for the consolidation and expansion of unicorn companies in the region, marking a milestone in the evolution and maturity of the entrepreneurial ecosystem in Latin America and the Caribbean.