The Beauhurst Unicorn Tracker

Key data on Britain’s $1b businesses, updated as and when new businesses join the herd.

Introduction to UK unicorn companies

A unicorn startup is a private company which manages to reach a valuation of $1b (currently about £732m) or more. First coined by Aileen Lee of Cowboy Ventures, the term “unicorn” refers to the rarity of startups which achieve this status. Indeed, of the 40,000+ high-growth startups and scaleups we’ve tracked here at Beauhurst, just 32 have reached a billion dollar valuation.

But the number of unicorns is steadily increasing. There are thought to be over 500 unicorn companies globally, and vocabulary is expanding to accommodate increasingly large valuations: companies valued at over $10b (like SpaceX in the United States) are known as decacorns, while those valued at over $100b (such as China’s Bytedance) are known as hectocorns.

Despite the outbreak of covid-19, and the decline in investment activity that came with it, a total of seven tech companies joined the UK’s unicorn club in 2020. There are now 24 active billion dollar startups in the UK, and an additional eight have exited the private market, either through an initial public offering (IPO) or an acquisition. One startup company, e-commerce platform provider Powa Technologies, achieved unicorn status before it fell into administration in 2016.

These billion dollar startups span a range of sectors, from fintech and artificial intelligence, to cybersecurity and healthcare. Each has grown with varying levels of venture capital, vastly different business models, and are led by co-founders from a myriad of backgrounds.

This tracker covers a range of metrics, from the number of funding rounds raised prior to unicorn status, to how long it takes a company to reach a billion dollar valuation. We hope you find it useful, and make sure to check back to see how figures change over time! You can see the full list of UK unicorns companies at the end of this page. 

The data on UK unicorns

24

private unicorns worth over $1b

8

exited unicorns worth over $1b

1

dead unicorn (excluded from stats)

4.4

average number of rounds before unicorn status

£124m

average amount raised before unicorn status

92%

of unicorns are based in London

7 years

average age of company at unicorn status

Map of UK unicorn companies

How long does it take to reach unicorn status?

The methods of growth unicorn businesses have used to scale

Unicorn founder demographics

People who have founded more than one unicorn
1
Number of female unicorn founders
3
Average age of founder at incorporation

35

Average age of founder at unicorn status

41

Youngest founder at incorporation date
19
Oldest founder at incorporation date
56
Youngest founder at unicorn status
25
Oldest founder at unicorn status
61

The complete list of UK unicorn companies

UK Unicorn Date of $1b valuation Year founded Years to $1b valuation
BenevolentAI
July 2015
2013
2
Oxford Nanopore
July 2015
2005
10
BrewDog
April 2017
2006
11
OakNorth
October 2017
2013
4
Wise
November 2017
2010
7
Revolut
April 2018
2014
4
Improbable
July 2018
2012
6
Darktrace
September 2018
2013
5
Monzo
October 2018
2015
3
Graphcore
December 2018
2016
2
Ovo Energy
February 2019
2009
10
Checkout.com
May 2019
2012
7
SumUp
July 2019
2011
8
babylon
August 2019
2013
6
CMR Surgical
September 2019
2014
5
Snyk
January 2020
2015
5
OneTrust
February 2020
2016
4
Gymshark
August 2020
2012
8
Cazoo
June 2020
2018
2
Gousto
November 2020
2012
8
Hopin
November 2020
2019
1
Starling Bank
March 2021
2014
7
Zego
March 2021
2016
5
PatSnap
March 2021
2007
14

Exited UK unicorn companies

UK Unicorn Date of $1b valuation Year founded Years to $1b valuation
Just Eat
April 2014
2001
13
Zoopla
June 2014
2007
7
Farfetch
March 2015
2007
8
Skyscanner
January 2016
2001
15
The Hut Group
February 2016
2008
8
Funding Circle
January 2017
2010
7
Deliveroo
September 2017
2012
5
Arrival
January 2020
2015
5

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