Meet the Newest Unicorn Startups 2021

Vlastimil Vodička

The definition of a unicorn is a privately-held startup company valued at more than $1 billion (£740 million). Aptly named Unicorn because of the rarity of such high-value startup businesses, it is becoming more commonplace for startups to reach $1 billion.

Every year, startup companies aspire to be on the startup list of businesses that become unicorns.

Indeed, the number of unicorns is increasing exponentially every year. In 2014, there were only three new unicorns in the UK. This number increased to seven unicorns in 2020, and in the first six months of 2021, eleven companies reached unicorn status, most of which were internet-based.

The tech sector is particularly appealing to unicorn investors, seeing a ten-fold increase over the last ten years, especially in the United Kingdom.

How to Start a Unicorn Startup?

Every startup company dreams of becoming a unicorn, but it's not easy. It takes a lot of hard work to manage exponential growth without the company systems or people imploding. It may also require significant capital investment.

Whatever industry you are in, be a pioneer. Lead the way with a unique USP or cutting-edge technology.

Your startup information list for success must include the ability to think ahead rather than focusing on one product or service. Because you may want to secure investment in your company at some point, your business startup list needs to include your future development plans for your investor.  An investor undoubtedly wants to know what ideas you have for future development AND innovation.

Stay apace with the digital world, follow trends and stay ahead of the mass media. Be prepared and develop resilience to overcome potential obstacles on the way to becoming a unicorn.

A Startup Companies List of Unicorns

On our startup list are eight startup companies that became unicorns in 2021.

The startup list features FinTech, InsurTech, a cryptocurrency platform and a monetized subscription-based content creation platform.

Lendable - FinTech

First on the list of startup companies is Lendable, a London based fintech company founded in 2014. The company became a unicorn on 1st January 2021. Backed by business angels, the company is a peer-to-peer lending platform for personal loans and can also help applicants with poor credit histories.

The company has excellent customer service reviews, rated 100% on its services and response times (Feefo.com).

Lendable reached unicorn status when institutional investors raised their stake in the company while employees and early investors cashed out around £30m in shares (Source: Sifted).

Lendable twice appeared on the Deloitte Fast 50 2019 and 2020 and Fast-Track Tech 2020.

Zego - InsurTech

Next on the list of startup companies is Zego, a UK InsurTech company founded in 2016, providing affordable, simple, pay-as-you-go insurance for food delivery drivers, couriers and fleets.

In March this year, Zego secured $150 million (£111m) in a Series C round led by DST Global, a venture capital group. This funding propelled Zego into unicorn status.

Zego has provided insurance for over 20,000 vehicles, issued over 17 million insurance policies, and secured £168 million in funding. The company list of clients includes Deliveroo, Uber Eats and Just Eat.

Zego featured in 2018 InsurTech Impact 25, FinTech 50 2019 and Startups 100 in 2019.

Touchlight Genetics – Tech Startup - Synthetic Biology

Founded in 2008, it took less than a year after the first Covid-19 lockdown for Touchlight Genetics to reach unicorn status.

The company developed a unique DNA replication technique that can be applied to vaccine production. Touchlight Genetics became the first synthetic biology unicorn in March, following a £42 million funding round.

This funding round added to the company's existing funding strategies, which focus on a business angels' network, specialist healthcare investors and family offices.

Over the years, Touchlight Genetics focused on developing, patenting and scaling a revolutionary platform for the demand for next-generation genetic medicines and DNA businesses. This development included viral vectors and mRNA for Covid-19 vaccines.

The company developed a synthetic DNA vector, known as dbDNA™, leading-edge technology to create DNA "at unprecedented speed, scale and purity."

Blockchain.com – Bitcoin - Cryptocurrency

London based Blockchain.com was the early pioneer for Bitcoin.

With a global team of over 800 staff, the company reached unicorn status in March this year. Lightspeed Venture Partners, DST Global and VY Capital led this latest funding round, raising £218 million. Blockchain.com's reported valuation is $5.2 billion. The company completed four funding rounds, raising a total of £355 million.

The Blockchain platform provides a safe, secure, online crypto wallet with 79 million wallets supplied to date. Cryptocurrency exchanges are targets for cyberattacks, so the trusted and secure Blockchain crypto wallet quickly gained popularity from online crypto users. The API also allows companies to build on Bitcoin.

The company appeared in the FinTech50 for two consecutive years (2015/16), and LinkedIn listed it as Top Startups UK in 2018.

With the exponential growth and interest in cryptocurrencies, Blockchain.com will likely go from strength to strength.

Bought By Many - InsurTech

Following a $350 million funding round in June, Bought by Many achieved unicorn status with a valuation of over $2 billion.

Over the last year, despite the challenges of the global pandemic, the company saw rapid and significant growth, doubling its remote team of workers to cope with the increase in demand.

Bought by Many plans to double these numbers (365) again over the next 12 months.

The company is the leading insurance provider for exotic pets and provides pet insurance for dogs and cats. In 2020, at the Insurance Choice Awards, the company was voted Best Pet Insurance Provider.

In 2016, Bought by Many appeared on the 2016 FinTech 50 and in January 2018, the company attended Tech Nation's Upscale programme and the Future Fifty in April 2019. In 2017, the company featured on the Top 100 Britain's Fastest Growing Businesses.

Starling Bank - FinTech

In March, Starling Bank, a female-led fintech company founded in 2017, raised £272 million and achieved unicorn status with a valuation of £1.1 billion. The funding supports expansion for the bank's UK lending and helps Starling Bank launch into Europe.

The founder, Anne Boden, has a mission to provide a fairer and more human approach to banking.

Starling Bank featured on 2018 and 2019 FinTech50 lists and in 2020, the LinkedIn Startups UK list.

In October 2020, Starling's monthly profit reached £800k and, as the Covid pandemic saw a higher uptake for digital banking, by March 2020, Starling's monthly profit reached £1.5 million.

Tractable – InsurTech

Founded in 2014, Tractable is now among the top ten UK artificial intelligence companies in the UK.

In June, following a Series D round that raised $50 million, Tractable was yet another tech company to reach unicorn status. The company develops software that provides data-based cost estimations for insurance companies by analyzing photographs from damage to cars following an accident or natural disaster.

The technology came as a result of five years of development work from a team of dedicated researchers.

Tractable works with world-leading insurers across the globe, currently in 10 countries.

In 2019 and 2020, the company ranked on the FinTech50 list and in 2019 attended the Future Fifty Accelerator. The company has offices in London, New York and Tokyo.

Conclusion

FinTech and InsurTech companies are the types of startup list of industries that interest unicorn investors. With rapid growth and innovative technology, a startup information list with FinTech and InsurTech is an excellent start to research investment opportunities.

It's not easy to become a unicorn, that magical achievement that seems elusive to many startup companies. But it is possible if you are in a high-growth industry, and the list of unicorns keeps on growing year on year.

If you are an investor eager to find a unicorn startup list for high-growth companies looking for investors, check out Startup Scout by Leadspicker.

Startup Scout helps you find the best startup companies so you can fund the next successful unicorn startup.

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