Suddenly, there are fewer new unicorns than there used to be.
That's the news from CB Insights, the venture capital research firm, which on Thursday released topline data from its forthcoming report on venture capital investment for 2015. The number of newly minted unicorns--companies valued at $1 billion or more--dropped to nine worldwide in the fourth quarter of the year, with seven of those in the U.S. That's compared with 23 new unicorns in the third quarter of 2015, including 17 in the U.S. alone.
CB Insights also reports that global venture capital investment fell by 30 percent to $27.3 billion in the fourth quarter of the year. There were 1,743 venture deals worldwide during the quarter, the lowest number since the first quarter of 2013.
The data corresponds to an uneven year for business, particularly in the third quarter, when the stock market abruptly ended its long bull run in the wake of weakening global economies and a devaluing of China's currency. The Federal Reserve Board's decision to increase its benchmark interest rate during the quarter may also have put a damper on some late-stage investment prospects, according to some VCs.
There were fewer mega-rounds of $100 million or more during the year as well. Such large rounds are frequently associated with the creation of new unicorns.
One notable company that did close a mega-round was online shopping startup Jet.com, which in November raised $350 million at a valuation of $1.5 billion, led by Fidelity Investments. The online lender Kabbage also became a unicorn in the fourth quarter, valued at $1 billion, following a $135 million investment led by Reverence Capital Partners.
Overall the fourth quarter saw five deals in the U.S. worth $100 million or more, compared with six in the third quarter, eight in the second quarter, and seven in the first quarter. Globally, the number of large venture deals fell by 82 percent to 39.