Unicorns are enabling the new economy and disrupting the old
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Unicorns are enabling the new economy and disrupting the old

We detail each company with unicorn status at the end of 2021 and the end markets in which they operate, looking at the disruptive factor they pose to incumbents. Moreover, we also provide more detailed profiles of 91 European unicorns, combining the public information available with the insights of our industry analysts to give an overview of their business models and the cumulative funding they have raised up to Q1 2022 and their competitive positioning.

An appreciation of the unicorn landscape is integral to any investment discussion. Given the size and number of these private companies and the speed and scale of funding they have attracted, investors in listed markets must be fully cognizant of their positioning in the corporate landscape. This need for awareness is all the more relevant with such sizeable companies remaining outside the public space for longer than might once have been, given the liquidity accessible in private markets.

As much as the basic facts and figures that underline the materiality of the unicorn space, when we examine the specifics of these companies across Europe, we see a unifying thematic at work. The nature of the unicorn ecosystem is intrinsically interlinked. In essence, we see a core group of “enablers”—emerging tech companies fostering the development of the new economy—and clusters of “disruptors” that use this technology to disrupt the old-economy incumbents. Together, they are creating new economic growth markets and sources of innovation. However, through their disruptive potential, in many cases, they are also redrawing the consumption map for goods and services and redistributing its economic rents. Their business models are- to a large extent- predicated on the existence of this emerging technology infrastructure at the core.

We echo the remarks from BlackRock CEO Larry Fink that the next 1,000 billion-dollar start-ups will be those “that help the world decarbonise and make the energy transition affordable for all consumers.” We identify unicorns aligned to changing consumer choices resulting from a focus on sustainability, but unicorns offering technological solutions to address climate change are under-represented in Europe. To meet the 2030 climate and energy targets, the EU faces an investment gap of €350bn per year. Should this challenge be embraced by the private sector, sustainability may become the most powerful theme of unicorn enablement and disruption.

@Jon Peace@Haley Tam, @Sanjeet Aujla, @Andy Grobler, @Andre Kukhnin, @Samuel Perry, @Simon Irwin, @Natasha Brilliant, @Onur Muminoglu, @Eugene Klerk,@Victoria Petrova, @Iain Pearce, @Matthew Walker, @Christoph Gretler, @Jo Walton, @Joelle Natzkoff