A Decade of ‘Unicorns’ Ends With a Little Less Magic

The number of billion-dollar IPOs surges, but their performance lags

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Photo: Stephanie Stamm

This was the decade when companies behind some of the world’s most-used apps went public at record valuations. In 2019 alone, there were 13 U.S. “unicorns,” or startups valued at $1 billion or more, that made their public debuts—far more than in any prior year.

Despite their growing numbers and valuations, the performance of unicorns has been a mixed bag. On the whole, an investor in the second half of the decade was likelier to have put money into a unicorn that was unprofitable and whose value has dropped as a public company than an investor in the decade’s first half, The Wall Street Journal found.

From 2010 to 2014, nine unicorns reported annual profit. But since the middle of the decade, only four unicorns have reported an annual profit at least once, including Uber香蕉视频苹果下载 and Zoom Video in 2019. Uber’s profit was due to a gain on the sale of investments.

香蕉视频苹果下载A decade’s look at unicorns’ valuations, profit and return

Valuation/

market cap

香蕉视频苹果下载Profit status

Net loss

香蕉视频苹果下载Undisclosed

$1

5

香蕉视频苹果下载(in billions)

10

Net profit*

IPO valuation

25

2010

0 UNICORNS

2011

4 UNICORNS

COMPANY

VALUATION

香蕉视频苹果下载YEAR-END MARKET CAP

All pre-IPO years are sized by final private valuation.

IPO

香蕉视频苹果下载$29.5B in 2015

†LinkedIn

Company

founded

**HomeAway

Groupon

Zynga

2003

’04

’05

’06

’07

’08

’09

’10

2011

’12

’13

’14

’15

’16

’17

’18

Note: To avoid apples-to-oranges comparisons and make up for potentially unreported private-valuation rounds, the Journal sized all pre-IPO bars by the company’s final known private valuation.

香蕉视频苹果下载A decade’s look at unicorns’ valuations, profit and return

Valuation/

market cap

香蕉视频苹果下载Profit status

Net loss

Undisclosed

$1

5

(in billions)

10

Net profit*

香蕉视频苹果下载IPO valuation

25

2010

0 UNICORNS

2011

4 UNICORNS

COMPANY

VALUATION

YEAR-END MARKET CAP

All pre-IPO years are sized by final private valuation.

IPO

$29.5B in 2015

†LinkedIn

Company

founded

**HomeAway

Groupon

Zynga

2003

’05

’06

’07

’08

’09

’10

2011

’12

’13

’14

’15

’16

’17

’18

’04

Note: To avoid apples-to-oranges comparisons and make up for potentially unreported private-valuation rounds, the Journal sized all pre-IPO bars by the company’s final known private valuation.

香蕉视频苹果下载A decade’s look at unicorns’ valuations, profit and return

Valuation/

market cap

香蕉视频苹果下载Profit status

Net loss

Undisclosed

$1

5

(in billions)

10

Net profit*

IPO valuation

25

2010

0 UNICORNS

2011

4 UNICORNS

COMPANY

VALUATION

香蕉视频苹果下载YEAR-END MARKET CAP

All pre-IPO years are sized by final private valuation.

IPO

$29.5B in 2015

†LinkedIn

Founded

**HomeAway

Groupon

Zynga

2003

’04

’05

’06

’07

’08

’09

’10

2011

’12

’13

’14

’15

’16

’17

’18

香蕉视频苹果下载Note: To avoid apples-to-oranges comparisons and make up for potentially unreported private-valuation rounds, the Journal sized all pre-IPO bars by the company’s final known private valuation.

A decade’s look at unicorns’ valuations, profits and return

Profit status

25

Net profit*

10

Valuation/

market cap

5

$1

Net loss

香蕉视频苹果下载Undisclosed

(in billions)

IPO valuation

2010

0 UNICORNS

2011

4 UNICORNS

YEAR-END

MARKET CAP

IPO

CO.

VAL.

LinkedIn†

$29.5B in 2015

Founded

HomeAway**

Groupon

Zynga

2011

Note: To avoid apples-to-oranges comparisons and make up for potentially unreported private-valuation rounds, the Journal sized all pre-IPO bars by the company’s final known private valuation.

Public enthusiasm for a majority of this year’s unicorns has been lacking, demonstrated by the struggling market performances since the companies’ respective IPOs. Two companies, Lyft and Slack, have yet to reach their original IPO values.

2019 unicorns’ public performance

Year-to-date change

Peloton

Change in share

price since IPO

IPO date

香蕉视频苹果下载September 26

NASDAQ

Composite Index

80%

2019 unicorn

60

S&P 500 Index

40

20

+22%

0

–20

–40

–60

J

F

M

A

M

J

J

A

S

O

N

D

香蕉视频苹果下载10x Genomics

Zoom Video Communications

Cloudflare

80%

80%

80%

September 12

April 18

香蕉视频苹果下载September 13

60

60

60

40

40

40

20

20

20

+18%

2%

+7%

0

0

0

–20

–20

–20

–40

–40

–40

–60

–60

–60

J

D

J

D

J

D

CrowdStrike

Medallia

香蕉视频苹果下载Health Catalyst

80%

80%

80%

60

60

60

June 12

July 19

July 25

40

40

40

20

20

20

0

0

0

–20

–20

–20

–15%

–16%

–17%

–40

–40

–40

–60

–60

–60

J

D

J

D

J

D

Lyft

Pinterest

Uber

80%

80%

80%

60

60

60

March 29

April 18

May 10

40

40

40

20

20

20

0

0

0

–20

–20

–20

–25%

–28%

–40

–40

–40

–39%

–60

–60

–60

J

D

J

D

J

D

Slack

SmileDirectClub

PagerDuty

80%

80%

80%

60

60

60

April 11

June 20

September 12

40

40

40

20

20

20

0

0

0

–20

–20

–20

–52%

–40

–40

–40

–40%

–45%

–60

–60

–60

J

D

J

D

J

D

香蕉视频苹果下载Note: As of 6:30p.m. Monday, Dec. 16

2019 unicorns’ public performance

香蕉视频苹果下载Change in share

price since IPO

香蕉视频苹果下载Year-to-date change

Peloton

IPO date

September 26

NASDAQ

Composite Index

80%

香蕉视频苹果下载2019 unicorn

60

香蕉视频苹果下载S&P 500 Index

40

20

+22%

0

–20

–40

–60

J

F

M

A

M

J

J

A

S

O

N

D

Cloudflare

香蕉视频苹果下载10x Genomics

Zoom Video Communications

80%

80%

80%

香蕉视频苹果下载September 12

April 18

香蕉视频苹果下载September 13

60

60

60

40

40

40

20

20

20

+18%

2%

+7%

0

0

0

–20

–20

–20

–40

–40

–40

–60

–60

–60

J

D

J

D

J

D

CrowdStrike

Medallia

香蕉视频苹果下载Health Catalyst

80%

80%

80%

60

60

60

June 12

July 19

July 25

40

40

40

20

20

20

0

0

0

–20

–20

–20

–15%

–16%

–17%

–40

–40

–40

–60

–60

–60

J

D

J

D

J

D

Pinterest

Uber

Lyft

80%

80%

80%

60

60

60

March 29

April 18

May 10

40

40

40

20

20

20

0

0

0

–20

–20

–20

–40

–40

–40

–25%

–28%

–39%

–60

–60

–60

J

D

J

D

J

D

Slack

SmileDirectClub

PagerDuty

80%

80%

80%

60

60

60

April 11

June 20

September 12

40

40

40

20

20

20

0

0

0

–20

–20

–20

–40

–40

–40

–40%

–45%

–60

–60

–60

J

D

J

D

J

D

–52%

香蕉视频苹果下载Note: As of 6:30p.m. Monday, Dec. 16

2019香蕉视频苹果下载 unicorns’ public performance

香蕉视频苹果下载Year-to-date change

Peloton

Change in share

香蕉视频苹果下载price since IPO

IPO date

September 26

NASDAQ

Composite Index

80%

2019 unicorn

60

S&P 500 Index

40

20

+22%

0

–20

–40

–60

J

F

M

A

M

J

J

A

S

O

N

D

10x Genomics

Zoom Video Communications

80%

80%

香蕉视频苹果下载September 12

April 18

60

60

40

40

20

20

+18%

+7%

0

0

–20

–20

–40

–40

–60

–60

J

D

J

D

CrowdStrike

Cloudflare

80%

80%

September 13

60

60

June 12

40

40

20

20

+2%

0

0

–20

–20

–15%

–40

–40

–60

–60

J

D

J

D

Medallia

Health Catalyst

80%

80%

60

60

July 19

July 25

40

40

20

20

0

0

–20

–20

–16%

–17%

–40

–40

–60

–60

J

D

J

D

Pinterest

Uber

80%

80%

60

60

April 18

May 10

40

40

20

20

0

0

–20

–20

–25%

–28%

–40

–40

–60

–60

J

D

J

D

Lyft

PagerDuty

80%

80%

60

60

March 29

April 11

40

40

20

20

0

0

–20

–20

–40

–40

–39%

–40%

–60

–60

J

D

J

D

Slack

香蕉视频苹果下载SmileDirectClub

80%

80%

60

60

June 20

香蕉视频苹果下载September 12

40

40

20

20

0

0

–20

–20

–40

–40

–45%

–52%

–60

–60

J

D

J

D

Note: As of 6:30p.m. Monday, Dec. 16

2019 unicorns’

香蕉视频苹果下载performance

Peloton

IPO date

September 26

80%

香蕉视频苹果下载Year-to-date change

60

NASDAQ

香蕉视频苹果下载Composite Index

+22%

40

20

香蕉视频苹果下载S&P 500 Index

0

Change in share

price since IPO

–20

–40

2019 unicorn

–60

J

D

10x Genomics

Zoom Video

80%

80%

April 18

60

60

40

40

Sept. 12

20

20

+7%

+18%

0

0

–20

–20

–40

–40

–60

–60

J

D

J

D

CrowdStrike

Cloudflare

80%

80%

60

60

Sept. 13

June 12

40

40

20

20

+2%

0

0

–20

–20

–15%

–40

–40

–60

–60

J

D

J

D

Medallia

Health Catalyst

80%

80%

60

60

July 19

July 25

40

40

20

20

0

0

–20

–20

–16%

–17%

–40

–40

–60

–60

J

D

J

D

Pinterest

Uber

80%

80%

60

60

April 18

May 10

40

40

20

20

0

0

–20

–20

–25%

–40

–40

–28%

–60

–60

J

D

J

D

Lyft

PagerDuty

80%

80%

60

60

March 29

April 11

40

40

20

20

0

0

–20

–20

–40

–40

–39%

–40%

–60

–60

J

D

J

D

Slack

香蕉视频苹果下载SmileDirectClub

80%

80%

60

60

June 20

Sept. 12

40

40

20

20

0

0

–20

–20

–40

–40

–45%

–60

–60

–52%

J

D

J

D

Note: As of 6:30p.m. Monday, Dec. 16

*Net profit includes non recurring instances such as a gain on divestiture. †Acquired by Microsoft in 2016. **Bought by Expedia in 2015. ‡Results for the fiscal 12 months ended in the following year. ¹Bought by Tesla in 2016. ²Bought by Salesforce in 2019. ³ Pinterest filed to be incorporated in 2008, had their first funding round in 2009 and officially launched in 2010.

香蕉视频苹果下载Sources: VentureSource (age, valuations); S&P Global Market Intelligence (profitability); FactSet (market cap, performance)

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