Unicorns. That term has been mentioned ad nauseam in the press in recent years, as private companies see their valuations swell due to a number of factors, including central banks around the world providing copious amounts of liquidity, a resurgent global economy and a number of disruptive technologies converging at once.
While the so-called unicorn needs to have a valuation of $1 billion or more, the list keeps growing and shows no sign of slowing down.
According to data compiled by research firm CBInsights, there are now 202 so-called unicorn companies, with a collective valuation of $690 billion. The industries these companies touch are as diverse as ever, including common ones such as social networking and e-commerce, but expanding into areas like health insurance and even the fitness equipment industry.
The vast number of these companies have been founded in the past decade, but the list has grown significantly in the past five years. "Firms founded from 2012 to 2015 had a time to market cap more than twice that of firms founded from 2000 to 2003," according to a report in the Harvard Business Review. This means that start-ups founded in the past five years are growing at a rate twice as fast as those that were started a decade ago.
There has been some concern about which of these companies are able to generate meaningful revenue and how they would fare on the public markets. However, there's no denying that companies like Uber, Pinterest, SpaceX and others have changed our world forever, even if the average investor still can't own shares yet.
What's Hot on TheStreet
Nvidia underwent a "key reversal" on Friday that could send the stock plunging another 36%, BMO technical analyst Russ Visch said in a new note. Visch points out that normally, these pullbacks tend to lead to the stock falling back to its 200-day moving average. In the case of Nvidia, the 200-day moving average is $96.70, or $36% below Monday's closing price of $149.97. "Considerable downside risk exists here," said Visch.
On Friday, shares of Nvidia were off to another big rally, hitting new all-time highs of $168.50 following an analyst pontificating the stock could surge to $300. But the party abruptly ended Friday afternoon and continued into most of Monday's trading session. The reversal in one of the hottest tech stocks around spooked the market, pressuring shares of other high-flyers in the space such as Amazon (AMZN - Get Report) and Apple (AAPL - Get Report) .
Apple and innovation: The reality of the here and now is that the public and would-be buyers of Apple's stock harbor greater doubts about Apple's ability to innovate than in many years, reports TheStreet. Apple did nothing to quiet those concerns by introducing its new voice activated speaker, sources explained to TheStreet.
Yet another Tesla bull: A new day, yet another Wall Street firm with some bold proclamations on electric car maker Tesla (TSLA - Get Report) . Tesla shares were upgraded to buy from hold on Tuesday by Berenberg, citing the company's "disruptive potential" in the auto industry. The company could have a "near monopolistic" opportunity to gain market share and out-perform rivals, Berenberg writes.
The firm sees Tesla shares surging about 30% from Monday's closing price to $464.
Sears' demise continues: Sears Canada said Tuesday that cash flows from sales "are not expected to be sufficient to meet obligations coming due over the next 12 months," after reporting a first quarter loss. Meanwhile, Sears Holdings Corp. (SHLD) also had more worrying news.
With help from CBInsights, here are the ten largest private companies in the world.
Name: Uber Technologies
Notable investors: Lowercase Capital, Benchmark Capital, Google Ventures
Uber may be as well-known for its unicorn status as its ongoing issues such as alleged sexual harassment and concerns over its executives' behavior.
The company, most recently worth $68 billion based on its last funding round, joined the unicorn club in August 2013. In April 2017, Uber shared financial data with Bloomberg, noting 2016 revenue came in at $6.5 billion, though net adjusted losses totaled $2.8 billion.
Name: Didi Chuxing
Notable investors: Matrix Partners, Tiger Global Management, Softbank Corp.
The major global competitor to Uber, Didi Chuxing is now worth $50 billion after its last funding round.
The Chinese start-up reached unicorn status in December 2014, prior to the merger between the two largest ride-hailing companies that would go on to form Didi Chuxing.
Though recent financial data is scarce, prior to the merger both companies posted a combined operating loss of $571 million during the first five months of 2015.
Industry: Consumer electronics
Notable investors: Digital Sky Technologies, QiMing Venture Partners, Qualcomm Ventures
The $46-billion Xiaomi is often compared to Apple, but the Chinese consumer electronics has struggled in recent years, as consumers have had difficulties with their phones for a number of reasons.
In 2015, Xiaomi sold more than 70 million smartphones, generating $12.5 billion in sales, according to Fortune.
The company joined the unicorn club in December 2011.
Notable investors: General Catalyst Partners, Andreessen Horowitz, ENIAC Ventures
Airbnb, which appears the closest on this list to going public, is worth nearly $30 billion and is still going strong since joining the unicorn club in July 2011.
The Brian Chesky-led company takes a 3% cut of each booking and a service fee between 6% and 12% from guests. In 2015, Airbnb had $900 million in revenue, up from $250 million in 2013.
Name: Palantir Technologies
Industry: Big data
Notable investors: RRE Ventures, Founders Fund, In-Q-Tel
Worth $20 billion today, Palantir Technologies first joined the unicorn club in May 2011.
Co-founded by Peter Thiel, Palantir has often worked with the U.S. government understanding and analyzing data. According to Business Insider, it was on track to generate nearly $2 billion in sales in 2015.
Industry: Financial technology
Notable investors: Ping An Insurance, CDH Investments, Bank of China
As the rise of China's banking industry has come of age, so has the intersection of technology and finance, an area where Lu.com specializes.
Fully known as Shanghai Lujiazui International Financial Asset Exchange Co., Ltd., the company is an online Internet finance marketplace in China and offers peer-to-peer lending in the country.
Now valued at $18.5 billion (Ping An Insurance owns a 43% stake in the company), Lu.com joined the unicorn club in December 2014.
Name: China Internet Plus Holding
Notable investors: DST Global, Trustbridge Partners, Capital Today
Though it's one of the more unfamiliar names on the list, China Internet Plus Holding is a formidable unicorn in its own right, valued at $18 billion.
The company was formed via the merger of Meituan and Dianping and is commonly known as Meituan-Dianping, serving a multitude of services. Meituan is a discount platform, while Dinning offers both location-based dining information and group-buying services.
It joined the unicorn club in December 2015.
Industry: Real estate/Facilities management
Notable investors: T. Rowe Price, Benchmark Capital, Wellington Management
A familiar name to start-ups and small businesses alike, WeWork has become a popular facilities management or office leasing company. The company, now worth nearly $17 billion, leases out floors or often a few desks to companies or individuals looking for working space.
It joined the unicorn club in February 2014.
Industry: Social networking, e-commerce
Notable investors: Andreessen Horowitz, Bessemer Venture Partners, Firstmark Capital
Pinterest just recently raised a round of funding that kept its valuation at just over $12 billion, but the company joined the unicorn club in May 2012.
In October 2016, it surpassed 150 million users and expects to surpass 300 million by the end of 2018, according to a report in TechCrunch.
Name: Space Exploration Technologies
Industry: Space exploration
Notable investors: Founders Fund, Draper Fisher Jurvetson, Rothenberg Ventures
Now worth $12 billion, the Elon Musk-led SpaceX joined the unicorn club in December 2012.
SpaceX has won more than $4 billion in contracts from NASA, including sending astronauts and supplies to the International Space Station. It also won its first military contract in 2016, beating out the likes of Boeing.