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A slump in creation of unicorns.

A slump in unicorns but AI-companies stick out

With the first half of 2023 in the books, unicorn creation remains mired in a slump not seen in years. Only 44 billion-dollar startups were minted in the first six months of the year, the lowest number since the first half of 2017. There are in total 1 323 active unicorns, a compilation by financial data firm PitchBook shows.

Information technology companies are by far the biggest category of unicorns, accounting for about 41% of all unicorns created in 2023. 

 Over 760 unicorns were active in this industry. In comparison, there were 335 unicorns operating in the financial services sector, according to market research firm Statista.

Notable examples of IT unicorns include OpenAI, the company behind ChatGPT, and Replit, which allows programmers to collaborate with AI to build software.

Nearly half of all unicorns created in 2023 are based in North America, with 20 based in the United States alone. Asia comes in second with 14 unicorns. 

A recent report from the firm shows that for the first time in over five years, the aggregate value of European unicorns has fallen. 

Read Also:  Breeding unicorns in Europe

“Looking forward, it is expected that dealmaking among Europe’s €1 billion companies will continue to be sluggish and unicorn creation will be slower than in preceding years. The cumulative valuation of these companies is unlikely to show the same levels of growth previously seen and may continue to contract”, the company said in a European forecast.

There has been a near five-fold rise in women-owned unicorns from 18 in 2021 to 83 un 2021, according to World Economic Forum. But women-owned businesses still represent a “minor share” – at 2% in 2021 – of investment in businesses owned by men.

Gender gaps are a deepening problem for economies and industry, the Forum says. says that since first named “the one-horned equine of lore around the 1200s, the word unicorn has gone on to name “a person or thing that is rare and highly valued,” whether that’s a billion-dollar startup—or that special someone in your life.”

Read Also:  More unicorn firms owned by women but women still only "minor share" of investments
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