GlobalData: AI, digital media and e-commerce among top themes to have highest number of unicorns, which are privately-held startups valued at US$1B+; US to remain top unicorn hub and dominate 50% of world's unicorns, followed by India, China, UK, Germany

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July 22, 2022 (press release) –

With a shift in investor focus on sustainable valuations and profitability, there is a slowdown in startups joining the unicorn club in 2022 compared to the previous year. A total of 85 unicorns were created in Q2 2022 compared to the 127 during the previous quarter. Despite the slowdown, 2022 is ahead of 2020. A total of 521 startups from 2021 have maintained their unicorn status, up by five-fold as compared to the 100 unicorns from 2020, finds GlobalData, a leading data and analytics company.

Kiran Raj, Practice Head of Disruptive Tech at GlobalData, comments: “The startup ecosystem, which was on a unicorn creation spree last year, is currently facing a funding crunch as investors are looking for sustainable business models, valuations, and a path to profitability amid the volatile market conditions.”

Prasad Kakade, Senior Disruptive Tech Analyst at GlobalData, comments: “The unicorn boom in 2021 can be attributed to the funding frenzy fueled by the rapid adoption of the technology and innovative offerings by startups in areas such as edtech and e-commerce gaining relevance in response to the COVID-19 impact and implications.”

In 2022, key markets have witnessed a drop in the birth of unicorns. The US saw unicorn creation declining from 77 in Q4 2021 to 47 in Q2 2022. In Asia-Pacific, China reported a drop in unicorn births from eight in Q4 2021 to four in Q2 2022, and India too reported a decline from 14 to four during the same period.

GlobalData’s Disruptor Intelligence Center offers predictive startup intelligence to spot tomorrow’s winners today. The AI-driven model boasts success in accurately predicting over 40% of the 500+ startups that became unicorns in 2021.

According to the model, technology & communications, financial services, pharma & healthcare, and consumer packaged goods will account for over 80% of potential unicorns. The technology & communications sector is set to generate the highest number of unicorns, followed by financial services.

The top five themes to have the highest number of unicorns are predicted to be artificial intelligence, followed by digital media, cloud, fintech, and e-commerce.

Kakade concludes: “The US, followed by India, China, the UK, and Germany will remain the top five unicorn hubs. The US will continue to dominate half of the world’s unicorns and India is expected to surpass China in terms of the total number of unicorns in the future. China is expected to slow down from the current levels of unicorn births for various reasons such as the zero-Covid policy and the crackdown on technology firms due to antitrust and security concerns.”

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