Startup Valuations: What Is A Unicorn, Decacorn and Hectocorn?

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Startup Valuations: What Is A Unicorn, Decacorn and Hectocorn?


In the realm of startups and venture capital, different terminology is employed to classify startups according to their valuation. Here is a concise overview of each classification:

1. A unicorn startup refers to a privately held company that has a valuation surpassing $1 billion. This term came into existence in 2013, introduced by venture capitalist Aileen Lee. Initially, unicorns were regarded as scarce, but their prevalence has been on the rise owing to the infusion of venture capital and the exponential growth observed in the technology sectors.

2. A decacorn refers to companies that have achieved a valuation of more than $10 billion, placing them at a higher level than unicorns. Decacorns are typically assessed based on their potential for expansion rather than their historical financial performance.

Once a decacorn undergoes an acquisition or goes public, it loses its designation as a decacorn. The concept derives from the fusion of the prefix "deca-" with the term "unicorn." "Deca-" signifies a value of 10, while "unicorn" denotes a startup that has reached or exceeded a valuation of $1 billion.

3. Hectocorns are incredibly scarce and esteemed entities. They refer to companies that possess a valuation surpassing $100 billion. This classification specifically pertains to the dominant behemoths within the startup sphere, who have not only revolutionized various markets but have also achieved widespread recognition.