Jul 05, 2017

Have you heard of unicorns?

A unique and magical creature which would rather die than obey  demands of others. A creature that doesen’t seek acceptance by it’s surroundings and despite it’s strange looking horn placed in the middle of it’s forehead,  proudly stands out from the crowd. A creature so magical that it has become a symbol of the spirit of power, purity, strength and beauty.

 

It used to be that unicorns were these mythical creatures, but in the e-commerce scene unicorns have a slightly different metaphorical meaning – it’s a start-up company valued at a minimum of one billion dollars. Not long ago these companies were extremely rare, but it seems that we’re living in an age were more hidden champions of the tech and service industry are starting to become a billion dollar business. Unicorns may have been rare at some point, but many have emerged and now we can find herds of them.

 

Not long ago Team Relesys attended the K5 conference and we had the chance to witness some  interesting talks. One of them was held by Dr. Cornelius Patt, Founder & CEO of zooplus.de and it had it’s focus on the boom of a-billion-dollar-companies.

 

The talk actually wasn’t about any sorts of magical creatures, but we can’t deny similarities between the two. As the creature itself, unicorn companies inspire us as they manage to shine and stand out from a big crowd. For a company to earn this kind of status, they truly need one heck of a concept that kicks everybody else’s ass.

 

Top Unicorns 

 

We’re living in the age of unicorns. At this very moment the globe is counting 206 unicorn companies and despite the difficulties in becoming one, the number of such is rising rapidly. This year alone 22 companies have earned the right for the title (seven of which are in the internet software, tech and service business). Uber, Airbnb, WeWork, Pinterest and China Internet Plus are just some of the worlds top companies and we can’t stop wonder..  what do some of these have in common? 

 

Although the two killer companies Uber and Airbnb are in two different businesses, they still somehow resemble each other. Uber has not only managed to provide a simpler and cheaper way of commuting – It’s giving drivers a more flexible schedule and a better work-life balance leading to cities having more economic opportunities.

 

The same goes for Airbnb – only in the real estate business. As an online marketplace that connects people who are looking to rent their homes with people who are looking for an alternative and cheaper accommodation, Airbnb gives the opportunity for hosts to earn some extra money and for travellers to safe some.

 

Besides boosting the economy and hitting regulatory and political barriers, both companies have rode underlying technology advancements. For Uber it was the Iphone, GPS and the overall improvement of wireless connectivity that has made their business bloom. For Airbnb it was Facebook that established people’s identities online, and gave people a measure of trust on the Internet. Without Facebook and other social media, Airbnb probably wouldn’t have become this succesfull.

 

If digging deep tons of pros and cons of both businesses can be found, but if a simple idea can change millions of lifes, they most definatly deserve a unicorn title!



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