From Zombies to Unicorns and The Next Big Thing In Start-Ups

Lauren Arnold

successful start-up

Image from ffaalumni used under CC license.

My last blog post discussed zombies and giving new life to fledgling start-ups with innovative technology that may not otherwise see the light of day. It’s only fitting that the focus for today’s post is unicorns: start-ups that reached the valuation of $1 billion or more while they were privately held. While that expression was popularized two years ago in regard to the rarity of these mythical creatures, today there are now at least 131 privately-held start ups in this group and more are jumping into the fray every day.

The New York Times recently posted an article, “The ‘Unicorn Club’ Now Admitting New Members,” that focused on the next slew of companies poised to trot onto the unicorn stage. Based on research conducted by CB Insights, a database that tracks VC and start-ups, the report analyzed a slew of factors including the amount of financing raised, employee turnover, news and social media mentions, customer growth and partnerships in addition to the health of the specific industry and quality of the company’s investors.

The article highlight 50 companies that are poised to take the world by storm and while I won’t bore you with details on each of them, a few points struck me.

One of the hottest sectors right now is the on-demand mobile services industry or basically, the “Uber of Everything” that let consumers get everything from food, plumbers and even parking assistance delivered with the download of an app. As the PR agency that represents Drizly, we are quite familiar with on-demand delivery that is taking the world by storm.

In the healthcare arena, it’s not surprising that many of the 50 companies highlighted in the article include technology designed to improve patient care and help to foster a more efficient doctor/patient relationship. Many of the healthcare companies on the list are on a mission to improve the quality of patient care, from technologies that improve the delivery of patient care to more patient-centered services that eliminate the inherent grievances of doctor office visits.

Of course there is no crystal ball or soothsayer that will tell what will actually happen with these companies or the industries, but as a PR professional, it’s definitely interesting to read about the hot growth sectors and the projected next big thing. Interestingly, the article reports that the unicorns that don’t make it will turn into “zombie unicorns” and will often get a second chance at life.

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