April 24, 2023
Unicorn M&A trots down a tough path
The number of unicorns—startups valued at a $1 billion or more—has grown exponentially over the past decade. In 2013, according to PitchBook data, there were 35 unicorns. At the end of 2023’s first quarter, that number was 704. Since 2020 alone, 423 companies have vaulted to unicorn status.
But all is not well on the pasture. Record levels of capital availability drove the rise in unicorns, but the market has taken a decidedly different turn—and trouble could be on the horizon, with capital demand far outstripping supply and a difficult regulatory environment making acquisition prospects all the more tougher. Our latest analyst note, The Decline of Unicorn Acquisitions in a Conservative M&A Market, looks at which exit options are available for unicorns. M&A, once a top driver of VC exits, has seen a precipitous decline since 2021. Unicorns may be in for a bumpy ride.
|The rise of US-based unicorns: A private market boom||3|
|Limited buyer interest and a conservative market stifle unicorn M&A opportunities||5|
|Effects of Big Tech M&A and antitrust crackdowns on unicorns||6|