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29.07.2020 | Original Research Open Access

Unicorns—what drives multibillion-dollar valuations?

Business Research
Carolin Bock, Christian Hackober
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The number of ventures with a market value of one billion USD or more has considerably increased during the last decade. Driven by new technologies and business models, these ventures became an integral part of our daily life. Particularly, the number of unicorns based in China and other regions outside the US raised during recent years whereas the phenomenon was initially limited to the US region. Existing research has mainly focused on descriptive approaches to examine the rise of these ventures but lacks knowledge on the drivers of this phenomenon. We address these research gaps and investigate the underlying factors that foster the emergence of such high-valued ventures. Our results present several economic environmental as well as investor-related factors that impact the likelihood for a venture to achieve a market valuation of more than one billion USD. Subsequently, we derive theoretical and practical implications that may foster the future emergence of new high-valued ventures, covering regulatory, investor- and venture-specific aspects.

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