Skip links
Femtech and venture capital

Record number of new unicorns include many GenAI startups

The year has started well for unicorns – startups valued more than one billion USD! In Q1, 37 startups crossed the valuation mark—the highest quarterly figure in a year and 48% higher than Q4 2023, finance data firm PitchBook’s unicorn tracker shows. Generative AI startups Mistral AI, Celestial AI, Perplexity and Together are among the new unicorns.

“More than half of the newcomers were based in Europe or Asia, continuing a trend that began last year. Previously, US-based companies tended to make up the majority of new unicorns”, PitchBook data shows.

The term unicorn usually describes startups that are valued at more than $1 billion. However, PitchBook defines a unicorn more narrowly as a venture-backed company that raised a round at post-money valuation of $1 billion or more. 

More than 580 new unicorn companies were formed in 2021 alone, according to PitchBook data. Globally, there were 1,369 active unicorns as of March 1, 2024.

Read Also:  Breeding unicorns in Europe

The company reports that the top unicorns in the world—in terms of valuation—include ByteDance, Ant Group , Stripe and SpaceX.

The US has the most active unicorns of any country with 702 companies, or 51.2% of the global total as of March 1, 2024. Chinese unicorns are the second-most common at 291 companies, followed by India (65 unicorns), UK (49 unicorns) and Germany (25 unicorns).

“Unicorns are not exactly common, but they’re far from rare. In 2021, nearly 8% of all companies that received VC funding globally were valued at $1 billion or more”, PitchBook says.

“The fact that so many funding rounds now involve billion-dollar companies is due in part to the growth in VC fund sizes. Several late-stage investors, most notably SoftBank, have tech investment strategies built almost exclusively around backing companies that are valued at more than $1 billion.” 

“Due to increasing competition, however, some of these investors are moving into earlier stage deals with the hopes of building relationships with tomorrow’s unicorns.”

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

Market research firm Statista says most of the world’s unicorn companies are active in the software industry.

There was a near five-fold rise in women-owned unicorn companies from 18 in 2020 to 83 in 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.


Moonshot News is an independent European news website for all IT, Media and Advertising professionals, powered by women and with a focus on driving the narrative for diversity, inclusion and gender equality in the industry.

Our mission is to provide top and unbiased information for all professionals and to make sure that women get their fair share of voice in the news and in the spotlight!

We produce original content, news articles, a curated calendar of industry events and a database of women IT, Media and Advertising associations.

    Do you want an experienced opinion on a job issue?
    Moonshot Manager is here to answer!

      Moonshot community sharing thoughts and ideas, in a anonymous, safe environment.