Only two countries – the United States and China – account for 77% of all unicorn companies; there are no such startups in Russia. Experts from the Russian Cluster Observatory (RCO) of the Institute for Statistical Studies and Economics of Knowledge (ISSEK) of the Higher School of Economics, based on data from Crunchbase and CB Insights, calculated that as of July 2021, there are 441 such companies in the United States, and 253 in China.
Let us explain that it is customary to call a “unicorn” a startup that has reached an estimate of $ 1 billion in no more than ten years since its foundation, has not entered the stock exchange and remains in the ownership of its creators for at least three quarters. As noted in the RSC, the presence of “unicorns” in the world is considered a sign of the effectiveness of the national innovation system.
Among the G20 countries, “unicorns” are absent only in three – in Argentina, Italy and Russia. According to the director of the RCO Yevgeny Kutsenko, in the international migration of “unicorns” the Russian Federation still acts as an absolute donor. At least four active ones (Acronis, Revolute, OCSiAl, InDriver) and two former “unicorns” (Arrival and Yandex) have completely left Russia or registered head offices outside of Russia. The BRICS countries, comparable to Russia in terms of economic development, have “unicorns” registered on their territory and recognized in the world. There are 44 such companies in India, 14 in Brazil, and two in South Africa.
India, after the United States and China, ranks third in the number of “unicorns”. This is followed by Great Britain (37), Germany (20) and France (18). The top countries in terms of the total estimated value of “unicorns” are also led by the United States (more than $ 1.4 trillion), China ($ 972 billion) and India ($ 161 billion). They are followed by the UK ($ 112 billion), Sweden ($ 61 billion) and Brazil ($ 58 billion). In terms of the average appraised value of one “unicorn”, the top three lines are occupied by Sweden, Luxembourg and Indonesia.
The most popular unicorns’ activities are financial services (131), e-commerce (127), artificial intelligence products and services (107), application development (85), and IT (49). The peak of the birth of existing “unicorns” was in 2015, and it took tech startups an average of six years to achieve and consolidate in this status.