Death to unicorns. Please.
In fact, let’s stop using 'unicorn’ at all – there are now too many $1bn+ companies for 'unicorn’ to make sense as a descriptor.
I remember back when the term first emerged into popular use, and top-tier venture capitalists talked about a tiny class of companies that were worth more than $1 billion.
That $1 billion figure became an artificial milestone – a point of pride among investors. If you don’t have at least one unicorn in your portfolio, what are you doing wrong? Can you ever look your LPs
in the eye again?
That, in turn, led to funding rounds specifically engineered to give a company unicorn status. Entrepreneurs thought they deserved it, investors thought they needed it. But if you have to push and shove a startup into the billion+ club, you haven’t really got a unicorn, you’ve got a horse with horn glued on.
If billion-plus valuations are now perfectly normal, that’s fine - it’s just the way the market’s going. But please – unicorns are so named because they’re mythically rare. Continuing to describe companies this way is lazy and trite and ascribes far too much importance to an arbitrary valuation figure.
And if you think about it, Apple – with its unique trillion-dollar market cap – is the only true unicorn now. It’s going to be quite a long time before lots of tech companies sprout a horn like that.