New Wave of Startups Depend on Software with Practical Applications

CB Insights has identified past and potentially future “unicorns,” or $1 billion valuations.

A New York Times story on the CB Insights study on the “unicorn” phenomenon⏤tech startups that may reach $1 billion valuations⏤points out that analysts view future candidates as differ from past tech winners like Uber and Airbnb.

Instead, the new bumper crop of startup unicorns will have a narrower focus that doesn’t merely disrupt an industry by making it into a mobile app, but instead leverages software that adds value to current industries. Those companies will need to work harder to reach the billion-dollar level, but some may hit it quickly because of higher investments upfront from venture capitalists.

Anand Sanwal, chief executive of CB Insights, said “funding rounds of $100 million or more — a once eye-popping sum of capital — have become common. Today, there are 315 unicorns, compared with 131 in 2015,” said the New York Times story.

For instance, of the 50 startups identified as having great profit potential, several are in the agricultural arena, which requires far more high tech tools to succeed and make the highest and best use of the robotics available. Other startups are providing services to the first wave of unicorns, which grew too fast to develop them in-house. Three of the start-ups target women: Glossier, Zola and Faire.

One of the start-ups, Benchling, shares scientific research in the cloud. Since its debut in 2012, it built a user base of 140,000 scientists and has raised nearly $30 million in funding. Companies seeking data pay a premium to use the service.

Farmers Business Network provides analytical tools to enable farmers to produce higher crop yields.

Farmers Business Network, founded in 2014 charges farmers $700 a year to share and analyze data about their farms, buy supplies and sell crops. With 7,700 farms as customers, it has raised nearly $200 million in funding.

Zola, launched in 2013, offers a streamlined place to create free wedding registries. It sells 70,000 gift items in its registry and developed tools like online guest lists and R.S.V.P. tracking. The company is valued at $600 million and raised $140 million in funding.

Another company to watch is Checkr. Founded in 2014, it does background checks on delivery drivers for Uber, Lyft and Instacart. It has also added other types of customers like the insurance company Allstate.

CB Insights tracked current unicorns and numbers them at 310.

read more about existing unicorns by downloading this link from CB Insights