what do you mean by unicorn startup company?

In today’s fast-paced landscape of startups, a unique group of companies emerges now and then—popularly known as unicorn startups. These new-age business ventures are found to be quite exciting across all parameters and help their owners attain high levels of success. In recent times, due to the robust vibrancy in the entrepreneurial spirit of entrepreneurs, the country has encountered a sudden rise in the number of various unicorn startups that are capable of reshaping the industry dynamics and making their presence felt on the global landscape.

According to data released in May 2022, the Indian Startup Ecosystem ranks at no. 2 in regard to the number of uniform startups in India.  The total no. of unicorn startups has attained a milestone of 100, with a total valuation of $332.7 billion. In today’s fast-paced and multi-channel economy, Indian Unicorns are going up and up. These startups do not just create innovative solutions and technologies but also promote considerable employment opportunities.

This post is intended to help you understand the dynamics of unicorns in India and how they are propelling the growth of a new and powerful India amidst the ongoing competition. You will get to know everything here from the sectors they run within to their innovative offerings, and most importantly the impact they create on society. 

What does a unicorn startup mean?

A unicorn startup refers to a term that is employed to designate a private startup firm that has a total worth of more than $1 billion. This term was brought by Aileen Lee, who was a venture capitalist and used the name of an animal to represent the statistical infrequency of these successful ventures.

Unicorn startups are considered among the most innovative and disrupting firms that cater to different industrial domains, like e-commerce, technology, healthcare, finance, and others. They are known to get robust growth and invite major investment from venture capitalists and other types of investors. These companies most likely rely on new-age technologies, disruptive business mechanisms, or market policies to get a competitive edge and grab a big market share.

The idea of unicorn startups has started gaining importance in the startup landscape as a way of achievement and capability. A majority of unicorn startups in India are largely perceived as game-changers in their particular industries and possess the capability to redraw markets or carve out newer ones.

Examples of uncorn companies

Some of the remarkable examples of unicorn startups in India are Swiggy, Ola, OYO Rooms, Razorpay, Dream11, and Zomato.

According to a recent report, it has been found that 87% of unicorn startups are related to the software industry, 7% to hardware, and 6% to other sectors.

Salient Features of Unicorn Startups

Becoming a unicorn is not easy and each unicorn rising today is known to have its tale that highlights a range of features that worked in its side. Below, we have jolted down a few pointers that are widely witnesses seen across all the unicorns:

Disruptive invention

Primarily, all the unicorns are known to introduce a disruption in the industry they operate in. Take the example of Ola which revolutionized the way people travel daily. Similarly, Airbnb disrupted the way people looked to have a comfy stay during travel and Snapchat revolutionized how social media networks are used by people.

The innovators

It is largely witnessed that unicorns are primarily the firsts in their respective domain. They are obliged to revolutionize the way people carry out various tasks and progressively develop a necessity for their target audience. Unicorns are also shown to keep the spirit of innovation high and working to gain a competitive edge. 

Technology rich

One widely accepted phenomenon across unicorn startups is that their business model largely relies on technology. Take the example of Ola as how they leverage smartphone location services to make commuting easy and hassle-free for users. There are numerous examples out there that show how technology helps such startups shape the industry dynamics. 


A study discloses that nearly 62% of the unicorns belong to the B2C segment. Most of these companies work with a simple goal is to streamline and make things easier for their users by integrating themselves into their daily lives. Another crucial thing about these startups is to make advanced technology accessible to all by making it reasonable.  For example, Spotify lets you enjoy world-class music in a way like no other.

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Unicorn Startups Valuation

The valuation of unicorn startups is really significant in venture capital and investments as they resonate the upper end of expectations and sureness of investors in the upcoming performance and potential of such businesses.

Unicorn companies generally possess some atypical traits that help them in their high valuations. These may encompass –

Fast growth: These organizations are able to quickly grow their revenue, clientele, and market proportion. This suggests that they are profitable and scalable.

Innovative techn: These firms are capable of developing cutting-edge goods or services that defy accepted market norms. They provide clients with superior value as a result.

Market potential: By developing a new market or growing an existing one, these businesses can take advantage of a substantial and expanding market opportunity.

These factors make unicorn companies quite enticing and appreciated among different types of investors. This is why investors are willing to pay a high premium for their shares.

The Conclusion

The role of unicorn startups in India is quite varied and mammoth due to their increasing market share and reach. This rapid growth of unicorns in India shows the robust growth potential this startup ecosystem has. 


What is the total no. of unicorn startups in India?

As of February 2024, the total no. of startups in India was 111 with a total worth of USD 1 billion.

Which was the first unicorn startup in India?

InMobi was the first unicorn in India, attaining a total valuation of USD 1 billion way back in 2011.

Which is the biggest unicorn in India?

BYJUS is the highest valued unicorn in India as of February 2024. 


By Shahrukh Ansari

In a digital age flooded with content, I stand out as a beacon of creativity and authenticity. With a keen understanding of SEO principles and with my extensive experience in writing for various industries and niches, I bring a wealth of knowledge and expertise to you.

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