Unicorns: Not Like the Other Startups

If someone told you that unicorns do exist in the real world, you wouldn’t believe them, right?! But unicorns do exist, you just need to use the right lens!

What’s a unicorn?

Nope! It’s not the creature of myths, magic, and folklore. And no, I don’t have a map for your next hunting trip. In our world, unicorns are private startup companies valued at over $1 billion. They are owned by private investors and venture capitalists (VC), these companies also have to be not listed on the stock exchange.

If you’re wondering why would VCs and private investors put that much money on a nobody, so to speak? You’re not alone. Well, they don’t look at the number of possible unicorns, rather they look at the potential these companies hold. It’s like when you see the potential of someone rather than what that person is really like, so you invest your time, energy, and emotions until it blows up in your face. In the business world, it’s less likely that it will blow up in your face, though!

But where did that name come from? Well, the term was coined in 2013 by VC Aileen Lee in her article “Welcome to the Unicorn Club: Learning from Billion-Dollar Startups.” Since then, it has become mainstream. Lee believed that such companies are so scarce and rare in the business world and finding them is almost like finding a unicorn; hence the name.

Are you the next Unicorn?

Not every company can be a unicorn company. If that were true, it would’ve been just another company! But, if we look closely at some of the famous unicorns and ex-unicorns such as; Apple, Uber, Canva, Affirm, and Kakao Pay to name a few, we’ll find some common ground.

1. One of a kind

In a world of copycats, be unique. The ironic cliché reflects the core of a unicorn company. Innovation is key to skyrocketing success. Not just that, but your product or service should have a visible impact on people’s lives. Think of Google – the former super unicorn -, it is not just a search engine, it’s a stepping stone to the future.

2. Social media as an ally

Unicorns use different platforms to spread their message and maintain a tone that fits with their target audience. It’s also not as expensive as other mediums of advertising.

3. It’s all about you

It’s probably one of the few times someone will put you first (kidding). Unicorn companies tend to put the user experience at the forefront. The customer is at the heart of the operation; beginning, middle, and end.

4. Go big, go fast

Unicorns look ahead and think of the global view. They don’t take things slow because being scalable is essential for their growth.

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