16 startups that this year became worth billions

Gabriel Olsen/ FilmMagic via Getty Images

Amid the tech landscape, “unicorns” are few and far between. Last year, CB Insights tallied the odds of becoming a unicorn – a company valued at $US1 billion or more – at under 1%.

But already, within the first few months of 2018, a total of 16 companies have overcome those odds and crossed the billion-dollar-valuation mark. These companies, originally rounded up in a recent report by Pitchbook, are working to transform industries like transportation, medicine, entertainment, data analysis, and farming.

While most of the companies that reached unicorn status are in the US, China was a notable contender with four companies making the list, and Romania celebrated its first unicorn to date – a robotic-automation company called UI Path.

Here’s the full roundup of 2018’s freshly minted unicorns:


Canva is an Australian company that provides graphic designers with an intuitive platform.

CanvaCanva CEO Melanie Perkins.

Year founded: 2012

Total raised: $US96 million

Currently valued at: $US1 billion

What it does: Canva complements graphic design projects with easy-to-use design software and a comprehensive selection of graphic elements like stock photos and fonts.


The Chinese company Meicai created an app that connects farmers to restaurants.

Oleg Nikishin/Newsmakers

Year founded: 2014

Total raised: $US477 million

Currently valued at: $US2.8 billion

What it does: Meicai, which translates to “buy vegetables,” runs its application on inexpensive mobile phones so that Chinese farmers can distribute fresh produce to restaurants in their area.


Caocao Zhuanche is a China-based ride-share company that operates a fleet of electric and hybrid cars in China.

Ford

Year founded: 2015

Total raised: $US380 million

Currently valued at: $US1.6 billion

What it does: Caocao has been fighting its way into China’s colossal ride-share market. The company offers taxi-hailing services, car-rental services, and private-car touring options.


Cabify is a ride-hailing service similar to Uber, but it works exclusively in Spanish- and Portuguese-speaking countries like Ecuador, the Dominican Republic, and Portugal.

YouTubeCabify founder Juan de Antonio.

Year founded: 2011

Total raised: $US410 million

Currently valued at: $US1.4 billion

What it does: Cabify’s competitive edge lies in the rapport the company has developed with local businesses and clients, which the company says will allow them to continue to pay its drivers fairly.


Snowflake provides a way for corporations to store and analyse data using cloud-based hardware and software.

SnowflakeSnowflake Computing CEO Bob Muglia.

Year founded: 2012

Total raised: $US473 million

Currently valued at: $US1.8 billion

What it does: Snowflake helps big businesses back up their data using cloud-based technologies.


HeartFlow is a competitive medical technology company that has received funding from investors like US Venture Partners and GE Ventures.

HeartFlow

Year founded: 2007

Total raised: $US467 million

Currently valued at: $US1.5 billion

What it does: HeartFlow develops tools that help doctors analyse blocked coronary arteries without requiring invasive surgery.


MedMen is the largest marijuana retailer in Southern California.

Year founded: 2010

Total raised: $US57 million

Currently valued at: $US1 billion

What it does: MedMen operates 18 cannabis dispensaries in Southern California, Las Vegas, and New York. The company’s sleek retail outposts are styled similarly to an Apple store, and the concept is taking off with millennials.


OrCam is a Jerusalem-based company that has spent the past eight years developing technology for the visually impaired.

OrCamOrCam cofounder Ziv Aviram.

Year founded: 2010

Total raised: $US130 million

Currently valued at: $US1 billion

What it does: OrCam creates AI-equipped technology that lets visually impaired people hear printed text, differentiate between products, and recognise faces.


DoorDash’s most recent $US535 million cash infusion was led by SoftBank.

Steve Jennings/ Getty ImagesDoorDash CEO Tony Xu.

Year founded: 2013

Total raised: $US722 million

Currently valued at: $US1.4 billion

What it does: DoorDash is a food-delivery service that connects restaurants with hungry customers.


Brazalian financial company Nubank has been growing by leaps and bounds; in just one year, the startup saw its revenue triple and its user base double.

YouTubeNubank founder and CEO David Vélez.

Year founded: 2013

Total raised: $US329 million

Currently valued at: $US1 billion

What it does: Nubank offers a no-fee credit card that’s managed exclusively on the company’s mobile app.

Source: Reuters


UIPath helps companies automate routine tasks.

YouTubeUIPath CEO and founder Daniel Dines.

Year founded: 2005

Total raised: $US149 million

Currently valued at: $US1.1 billion

What it does: UI Path specialises in robotic-process automation, an AI-based service that records and automates mundane computer office tasks. The company is considered Romania’s first unicorn.


Chinese gaming platform Douyu has 13 million active users.

Douyu

Year founded: 2005

Total raised: $US1.1 billion

Currently valued at: $US1.5 billion

What it does: Douyu is a live-stream gaming and entertainment platform similar to Amazon’s Twitch.

Source: PocketGamer


In under two years, Chinese entertainment site Qutoutiao has raised $US100 million.

Qutoutiao

Year founded: 2016

Total raised: $US100 million

Currently valued at: $US1.4 billion

What it does: Qutoutiao is a news and entertainment app centered on short, sensational news items.


In March, Samsara closed a $US50 million funding round which included investors Andreessen Horowitz and General Catalyst.

YouTubeSamsara founder and CEO Sanjit Biswas.

Year founded: 2015

Total raised: $US130 million

Currently valued at: $US1.4 billion

What it does: Samsara creates internet-connected sensors that deliver data like location and temperature on trucking fleets, an industry that’s evolving with the arrival of autonomous trucking.

Source: TechCrunch


Chicago-based Tempus uses clinical data to improve cancer care.

Getty ImagesTempus CEO and cofounder Eric Lefkofsky.

Year founded: 2015

Total raised: $US210 million

Currently valued at: $US1.1 billion

What it does: Tempus collects molecular and clinical data to create more efficient treatment for cancer patients.


Customer engagement company Intercom has raised nearly a quarter billion in funding in 3 years.

IntercomIntercom co-founder, CEO Eoghan McCabe.

Year founded: 2015

Total raised: $US240 million

Currently valued at: $US1.3 billion

What it does: Intercom helps businesses connect with their customers using its data-driven messaging system. Famed venture capitalist Mary Meeker recently joined the company’s board.

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