2018 is shaping up to be a record year for private investing: VCs have already poured $73 billion into startups valued at $1 billion or more

  • Sixty-five companies have reached valuations of $US1 billion or more for the first time this year, new data from Crunchbase reveals.
  • Private investors poured $US73 billion into “unicorn” companies in the first seven months of 2018 – just $US15 billion short of the total funding for unicorns in all of 2017.

In Silicon Valley, startups valued at $US1 billion or more are nicknamed “unicorns” because originally they were so few and far between.

But according to new data from Crunchbase, 2018 is quickly diminishing the rarity of the unicorn status: After the first seven months of the year, 65 companies are already newly minted unicorns.

If the trend continues, 2018 will be a record-making year for billion-dollar companies.

“In the first seven months of 2018, investors put $US73 billion into rounds for private venture-backed companies valued at $US1 billion or more,” the Crunchbase reporter Joanna Glaser wrote. “That’s about three-fourths of the total for all of 2017, last tallied at $US98 billion.”

Among the companies achieving unicorn status are buzzy, US-based startups like the electric-scooter company Lime and the e-cigarette purveyor Juul. As Crunchbase notes, cryptocurrency companies like the mining chip producer Bitmain and the crypto trading platform Circle are also unicorn newcomers.

So far, the US and China are tied when it comes to companies achieving unicorn status. While a reported 26 companies have achieved billion-dollar valuations this year in both countries, Crunchbase notes that Chinese companies are typically slower to make their valuations publicly available, suggesting that China’s startup growth could be greater than that of the US.

It’s worth remembering, however, that big valuations, while often coveted by founders and investors alike, aren’t necessarily always purely beneficial. As the longtime Silicon Valley investor Elad Gil pointed out in a recent interview with Business Insider, a high valuation can often hurt a company’s long-term growth.

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