Morning Markets: Let’s talk about nailing down what a “startup” is in the unicorn era.
If you had to write down a definition of the word “startup,” how long would it take you with a pencil until you were content with the description? A minute or two, I’d reckon.
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But if we completed the same exercise with, say, a half-dozen people and then compared answers, I doubt that we’d have many agreements. The definition of a startup is not really agreed upon by the market.
Are private companies worth $1 billion or more, better known as unicorns, startups? If not, when do they shed that title?
I’ve worked on the matter here back in the day, and again more recently for Crunchbase News. But nothing I have come up with really feels correct in hindsight. Reading those pieces makes me feel like I was trying to split the wrong hair.
However, an article from the weekend caught my eye which can add a good deal to the conversation. Inc. is a magazine that I’ve read for ages thanks to its yearly ranking of the fastest-growing companies it can find. It’s a fun list to read, trying to spy companies you’ve already heard of. Recently, the publication broke out a slice of its 2019 Inc. 5000 datasetfocused on San Francisco-based entities.
The private companies growing the most quickly in San Francisco include some names that you will recognize:
- Algolia, a search tool for companies, has raised $74.3 million to-date with backing from Storm Ventures, Accel, and others.
- Carta, a cap-table tool for companies, has raised $447.8 million to-date, with backing from Union Square Ventures, Spark Capital, Menlo Ventures, Social Capital, Meritech Capital, Tribe Capital, and a16z. (READ MORE)