As last week came to a close, funding news involving three major U.S. technology startups lit up on Twitter.
Carta closed a $500 million Series G at a $7.4 billion price tag. Chime put together a $750 million round at a $25 billion valuation. And Discord was reported to be hunting up new cash that would value it at around $15 billion.
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Each funding round has something special about it that we need to discuss. Why? Because while it’s well known that the unicorn market is crowded — reaching a $1 billion valuation in today’s capital-flush markets is no longer particularly rare for startups — the number of startups worth a multiple of that valuation threshold is growing rapidly. And understanding why investors are so willing to buy minute stakes in dozens of private companies worth billions of dollars is key to grokking the crush of investment we see among younger technology startups.
To make the point, CB Insights’ unicorn leaderboard lists 55 companies with valuations of $7.5 billion or more. That’s nearly five dozen companies worth more than Carta after its most recent round. According to the list, 38 of today’s unicorns are worth $10 billion or more.
The 55 startups valued at $7.5 billion and more are worth more than $1 trillion in aggregate, while the 38 decacorns are worth more than $900 billion when counted as a group.
We’ve become too accustomed to simply reading the latest nine-figure round invested at an 11-figure price and shrugging. So, this morning, let’s talk about Carta and Chime and Discord and why each of them may have managed their latest, or anticipated, valuation gain.
When we talk about unicorns, we’re simply discussing a generally growth-oriented cohort of technology upstarts. But once a startup reaches closer to the $10 billion valuation threshold, we’re really talking about ducks increasingly too big for their pond. They are the next set of IPOs both domestically and abroad.