Business Valuation

The 21 Unicorn Startups That More Than Doubled Their Value in 2015

Only a select few of the 145 Silicon Valley startups worth more than a billion dollars made the list.

By Biz CarsonBusiness Insider
Evan Sharp and Ben Silbermann of Pinterest.
CREDIT: Courtesy company

There are more than 145 companies worth over a billion dollars in Silicon Valley.

Of those, 21 more than doubled their value in the past year. 

Venture capital database CB Insights tracked the biggest unicorn valuation increases of 2015. ("Unicorn" is Valley parlance for a company worth more than a billion dollars.) 

Here's the list of companies that more than doubled their value in the past year, courtesy of CB Insights:

21. Oscar Health Insurance: 119%

2015 valuation: $1.75 billion

2014 valuation: $800 million

Total valuation increase: $950 million or 119%

The startup that's trying to shake up the insurance industry has been a favorite of 2015. Google invested $32.5 million in Oscar in September, bumping it to a $1.75 billion valuation. Oscar lets users talk to doctors on the phone for free, and it was the first insurance company to give fitness trackers to its customers to let them get rewards for walking a certain number of steps in a day. 

20. Nextdoor: 120%

2015 valuation: $1.1 billion

2014 valuation: $550 million

Total valuation increase: $600 million or 120%

Nextdoor wants to bring the neighborhood together again. Since everyone is already on multiple social networks, Nextdoor created a new one that only allows people to join on the basis of their physical address. (A postcard is sent to your mailbox with the code for logging in.) In March, the company raised another $110 million, driving its valuation to $1.1 billion and adding its unicorn horn.

19. Pinterest: 120%

2015 valuation: $11 billion

2014 valuation: $5 billion

Total valuation increase: $6 billion or 120%

It just started selling advertising in a bid to make money off its image bookmarking platform, but Pinterest didn't need an existing business plan to persuade investors to double its valuation to $11 billion this year. 

18. Avant: 129%

2015 valuation: $2 billion

2014 valuation: $875 million

Total valuation increase: $1.125 billion or 129%

Startups are trying to find a new way to lend people money, and Avant had the largest valuation increase among the fold. The startup raised $325 million from its existing investors in September 2015. 

17. Sprinklr: 134%

2015 valuation: $1.17 billion

2014 valuation: $500 million

Total valuation increase: $670 million or 134%

Doubling its valuation was "conservative," the CEO of SaaS startup Sprinklr told The Wall Street Journal. In March, it closed a new round of funding that put it into the unicorn club. The company helps brands like McDonald's manage their thousands of social media accounts by logging into Sprinklr, rather than each Facebook, Instagram, or Twitter account individually.

16. Domo Technologies: 142%

2015 valuation: $2 billion

2014 valuation: $825 million

Total valuation increase: $1.175 billion or 142%

The Utah-based data management startup was in stealth mode for the past four years, but burst onto the scene with a $200 million series D round and a $2 billion valuation, based on its run rate. 

15. FanDuel: 150%

2015 valuation: $1 billion

2014 valuation: $400 million

Total valuation increase: $600 million or 150%

Before it faced shutdowns in multiple states, FanDuel rode the fantasy sports wave all the way to the bank for a $1 billion valuation. The company raised $275 million from KKR, Google Capital, and Time Warner in July, but will have to set some of that aside to face the rising tide of lawsuits its new-found fame has attracted.

14. Slack Technologies: 150%

2015 valuation: $2.8 billion

2014 valuation: $1.12 billion

Total valuation increase: $1.68 billion or 150%

Slack, the popular workplace chat app, raised $120 million last October at a $1.12 billion valuation. Six months later, it raised another $160 million at a $2.8 billion valuation. It doesn't need that much money, explains Fortune's Dan Primack, but it's happy to raise money when it's easy and brace for a downturn should it come in 2016.

13. Coupang: 150%

2015 valuation: $5 billion

2014 valuation: $2 billion

Total valuation increase: $3 billion or 150%

After seeing success with its investment in Alibaba, SoftBank turned its money and attention to Coupang, a fast-growing South Korean retailer that's now worth $5 billion.

12. Airbnb: 155%

2015 valuation: $25.5 billion

2014 valuation: $10 billion

Total valuation increase: $15.5 billion or 155%

Home-rental company Airbnb confirmed its $1.5 billion funding raise in December, making it the third most-valued privately held company in the world with a new valuation of $25.5 billion.

11. Lyft: 158%

2015 valuation: $2.5 billion

2014 valuation: $970 million

Total valuation increase: $1.53 billion or 158%

After Japanese company Rakuten invested in Lyft, the Uber competitor jumped to a $2.5 billion valuation. That's still $60 billion behind Uber's rumored valuation, but a strong number for a company that's in a nice peace compact with its international competition, not an all-out war. 

10. Vox Media: 163%

2015 valuation: $1 billion

2014 valuation: $380 million

Total valuation increase: $620 million or 163%

When media companies fund one another, a unicorn is created, or so the legend goes. NBC Universal invested $200 million in Vox Media, pushing its valuation into the sought-after unicorn club and way beyond its $380 million valuation from 2014. 

9. Docker: 168%

2015 valuation: $1.07 billion

2014 valuation: $400 million

Total valuation increase: $670 million or 168%

The company that made container storage popular for startups reportedly bumped its valuation to north of $1 billion when it secured a $95 million funding round in April.

8. Quikr: 194%

2015 valuation: $1 billion

2014 valuation: $340 million

Total valuation increase: $660 million or 194%

The fast-growing classified site from Mumbai sneaked into the unicorns with a $150 million round reported in April. According to an investment note, the round valued the startup at $1 billion, making it one of the most highly valued startups coming out of India this year. 

7. Credit Karma: 250%

2015 valuation: $3.5 billion

2014 valuation: $1 million

Total valuation increase: $2.5 billion or 250%

The "Expedia of financial services," Credit Karma tripled its valuation in nine months when it raised another $175 million in a series D round in June.

6. Tanium: 289%

2015 valuation: $3.5 billion

2014 valuation: $900 million

Total valuation increase: $2.6 billion or 289%

Security startup Tanium announced it had raised $52 million earlier this year. Its technology is attractive to both companies and investors: Tanium gives IT admins a single console that tells them what's happening on all computers in an organization. Five months later, Tanium raised another $120 million and more than doubled its valuation to $3.5 billion.

5. Blue Apron: 200%

2015 valuation: $2 billion

2014 valuation: $500 million

Total valuation increase: $1.5 billion or 300%

In the past three years, three guys turned a meal delivery company into a $2 billion business. In June, the company announced that it had raised $135 million at a $2 billion valuation in a series D round led by Fidelity.

4. TransferWise: 320%

2015 valuation: $1.008 billion

2014 valuation: $240 million

Total valuation increase: $768 billion or 320%

The London-based peer-to-peer money transfer service raised $58 million from Andreessen Horowitz in January. CEO Taavet Hinrikus said that "Andreessen Horowitz's interest in TransferWise shows how ripe financial services are for disruption ... For too long, legacy providers' dominance of the market has allowed consumers to be hoodwinked into paying huge hidden charges for services as basic as currency exchange."

3. Ola Cabs: 400%

2015 valuation: $5 billion

2014 valuation: $1 billion

Total valuation increase: $4 billion or 400%

With investment from DST Global, India's Uber competitor Ola Cabs raised a $500 million funding round at a $5 billion valuation. In its statement about the funding, the ride-hailing company said it is now handling more than a million ride requests daily.

2. ContextLogic (a.k.a. Wish): 650%

2015 valuation: $3 billion

2014 valuation: $400 million

Total valuation increase: $2.6 billion or 650%

Mobile shopping app Wish, which is owned by ContextLogic, reportedly raised a $500 million round this summer at a $3 billion valuation. Previously, the secretive shopping company had only raised $75 million, although there have been rumors that the company turned down a $10 billion acquisition offer

1. Zenefits: 800%

2015 valuation: $4.5 billion

2014 valuation: $500 million

Total valuation increase: $4 billion or 800%

Human resources company Zenefits had a meteoric rise in 2015, even by Silicon Valley standards. In 2014, the company raised $66.6 million at a $500 million valuation. By last May, the company announced another $500 million round, bumping its valuation up to $4.5 billion. Zenefits CEO Parker Conrad has said it would have been a lower valuation if he hadn't decided to leave the round open for another hour. But in that hour, there was a "feeding frenzy" on Zenefits, and Fidelity offered to invest at the $4.5 billion mark, solidifying Zenefits as the largest valuation increase of the year.

This story first appeared on Business Insider

Published on: Dec 17, 2015