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This Year Outpaces Last With Record Unicorns Amid Escalating Valuations

The second quarter of this year has seen a record number of unicorns — startups with valuations topping $1 billion — with venture capitalists investing an increasing amount of money following numerous epic public listings in the U.S., the Financial Times (FT) reported on Thursday (July 8).

From April to June of this year, 136 startups were awarded unicorn status, which is more than all of 2019 combined, FT reported, citing data from CB Insights. The U.S. has the majority of companies with values that exceed $1 billion.

U.S. unicorns for the second quarter included the social calendar platform IRL and the financing marketplace Pipe. Asia added 33 unicorns during that period, compared to all of last year’s 29.

Venture capitalists pointed to the popularity by investors of technology startups that went public, such as the enterprise software group Snowflake and the travel business Airbnb last year. Further, investment companies like Tiger Global Management are in the process of raising a $10 billion private tech fund, FT reported.

“Valuations are rich, and there’s a lot of capital in the market,” said Laela Sturdy, general partner at CapitalG, a tech fund that manages money for Alphabet, per FT.

She added that because many backers didn’t see the big impact of cloud computing and related new technologies, there were investment opportunities bigger than anyone thought.

Startups are tracking to double the fundraising record of 2020, with investors in the first 6 months of this year backing new companies with $292.4 billion in fresh capital.

As of last month, tech unicorns in the U.K. hit 100, making the region among the world’s largest technology centers. The artificial intelligence (AI) startup Tractable was the country’s 100th tech unicorn following a $60 million Series D funding round.

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