Live as we are in an IPO drought, new data points on unicorns’ financial health are annoyingly scarce. Unicorns — private technology companies worth $1 billion or more — have become an asset class of their own. crunch base counts 1,386 global unicorns, worth $4.8 trillion. CB insights counts 1,180 worth $3.8 billion. Regardless of which number you think is more accurate, it’s clear that unredeemed unicorns represent one of the largest pools of paper wealth in the world.
A programming note: I’m free next week. the excellent Anna Heim, who often helps write The Exchange and recently took over the weekend newsletter, is filling in next week. She is the best! I’ll be back on the 22nd!
That said, there’s a good chance that some of that illiquid value isn’t real, in the sense that if every unicorn had to raise capital Today, quite a few would be unable to defend their most recent private valuation. However, if we rank the unicorn cohort by quality, the best companies—often the most valuable too—are actually not as overvalued as you might think.