The billion dollar startup was once the stuff of myth, but now they’re everywhere, backed by a bull-market and founded on new, disruptive digital technologies and business models. A company that has achieved a valuation of $1 billion dollars or more within five years of first opening their doors is commonly known as a Unicorn. We even have the Super Unicorns that have achieved a $100 billion valuation within five years of startup.
What does it take to create a Unicorn?
What to look for when assessing whether an emerging company has got what it takes to succeed.
Small companies looking to compete with large, established incumbent players need an edge. Customers are more likely to look at unknown brands if they feel the product offers a benefit over competition, is easy to use and increases efficiency.
Operate in existing markets
It is generally harder to persuade customers to buy a product for the first time. Being the first product to market can offer greater upside however it also increases the risk of failure. Many of the more successful technology companies have offered a new twist on existing products and have eventually replaced the incumbent market leader; Microsoft (IBM), Google (Yahoo), Apple (Nokia), Facebook (MySpace), Uber (Halo).
Will today’s technology powerhouses maintain their stranglehold on world tech for the next ten years and still be the companies we are talking about in 2027?
With the emergence of the technology powerhouses they have been grouped by acronyms GAFA, Google, Apple, Facebook and Amazon, closely followed by NATU, Netflix, AirBnB, Tesla and Uber. GAFA are very different companies to a number of years ago. Google is part of the wide ranging technology company Alphabet; Apple offers a wide range of cloud based services and not just phone and iPads; Facebook is an advertising and media giant built around a social network; and Amazon has developed from an online book reseller across almost every vertical market imaginable. Such diversification has lead many to speculate whether GAFA have become too big to fail.
What developments in AI are needed for us to reap the true advantages it can bring and is the world ready for it?
AI is a general term that implies the use of a computer to model and/or replicate intelligent behavior. Research in AI focuses on the development and analysis of algorithms that learn and perform intelligent behavior with minimal human intervention. Like most new technology, AI has become part of everyday life without us knowing it, whether that’s the spellchecker on your phone or the software sitting behind credit score calculations.