With all this talk of unicorns in venture capital, it’s easy to assume that every venture firm’s portfolio is shimmering with billion-dollar companies. But just because they’re breeding like rabbits doesn’t mean unicorns are just as commonplace.
Today, there are more than 80 unicorns, or companies with a valuation of at least $1.0 billion—that’s more than double the number last year, and, according to CB Insights, just three fewer than the last three years combined. As for unicorn exits: 2014 saw almost twice as many billion-dollar exits (32) as 2013 (17).
But it wasn’t too long ago that unicorns were still an urban legend and a relatively rare sighting in the venture world. So why the sudden increase? And who are the VCs lucky enough to ride with them?