WJR Business Beat: U.S. Leads the World in Generating Unicorns (Episode 457)

On this Business Beat, Jeff cheers the news that the United States is by far the biggest generator of unicorns.

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Good morning, Paul!

One measure of how a startup ecosystem is doing is to look to how many unicorns it’s generating. That is startups that have reached a level of valuation at a billion dollars or more now in our region. By way of example, we have companies like OneStream in Rochester Hills and Stock X in Detroit that have valuations of over that billion-dollar mark. At the very least, sensational success stories like these make news headlines, and that inspires others to pursue their startup dreams and encourages investors to place bets on startups in hopes that they will be part of the next unicorn story, all further fueling a startup ecosystem.

Well, now a new study from Tipalti, a company that automates financial services to drive better performance highlights which countries have the most of these unicorns. As one would hope, and perhaps even expect, it’s the land of opportunity. That’s right. The United States that far and away leads the pack in generating such success stories.

Here’s what the data shows, Paul. The United States has 615 such unicorns. That’s over 50%, 53.6% to be exact, more than half of all the world’s startups with billion-dollar-plus valuations. Coming in in a distance second, it’s China with 170. That’s roughly 15% of the world’s unicorns. Coming in at third, India, 65 unicorns representing just 5.67% of the total and, like India, all other countries on this list count for less than 10% of the world’s total.

Now what jumps out the most from this study, Paul, is that while countries like China and India have substantially higher populations, when it comes to creating high-flying startups with billion-dollar-plus valuations, it’s still the U.S. that clearly by far and away has the best ecosystem to found a startup.

I’m Jeff Sloan, founder and CEO of startupnation.com, and that’s today’s Business Beat on the Great Voice of the Great Lakes, WJR.


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