Hurun Research found 586 unicorns in the world, based in 29 countries and 145 cities. On average, they were set up nine years ago, with 80% selling software and services and 60% consumer-facing.  5% were in traditional sectors, with the majority disrupting financial services, retail, entertainment, business management solutions, healthcare, logistics and automobile. The total value of all known unicorns in the world is US$1.9tn, equivalent to the GDP of Italy.

89 unicorns saw their valuations rise, 23 saw their valuations drop.  There were 142 ‘new faces’ and 50 drop-offs.  Of the drop-offs, 30 were because they went public or were acquired and 20 saw their valuation drop below US$1bn.

Hurun Report Chairman and Chief Researcher Rupert Hoogewerf said: “We have found 586 unicorns in the world. These young companies, only nine years old on average, are the world’s most exciting start-ups, leading a new generation of disruptive technology and attracting the world’s top young talent. Just look at Elon Musk’s SpaceX – valued at US$36bn and fifth on the Hurun Global Unicorn Index 2020 – which caught the imagination of the world by delivering two astronauts to the International Space Station on 31 May. Others that have made headlines recently include Beijing-based ByteDance, which is seeing its massively popular short video app TikTok come under threat from both the US and Indian governments, as well as China fintech Ant Financial, which is reportedly looking at a whopping US$200bn IPO in Shanghai and HK.”

“The USA and China continue to dominate with 80% of the world’s known unicorns, despite representing only 40% of the world’s GDP and a quarter of the world’s population.  The rest of the world needs to wake up to providing an ecosystem that allows unicorns to flourish.”

“Hurun has set out to find every unicorn on the planet, ranking countries and cities by unicorn head office location. I hope this will help countries and cities to standardize the number of unicorns they have.”

“Of the 61 unicorns founded by Indians, a massive two thirds are based outside of India, predominately Silicon Valley in the USA, whilst only 21 are based in India. The Indian founders of the 40 unicorns outside of India deserve to be recognised in much the same way as Sundar Pichai and Satya Nadella, an inspiration to many young Indian entrepreneurs.”

Where are the World’s Unicorns based?


Table: Top countries and cities where the world’s unicorns are based


* New to list

Source: Hurun Research Institute

Table: Unicorns outside of China with a Chinese co-founder



Source: Hurun Research Institute

Top 10 Unicorns in the World

The Top 10 make up 28% of the total value of the world’s unicorns. All are from the USA or China.

Kuaishou, Cainiao and Palantir Technologies made the Top 10 for the first time with JUUL Labs and WeWork dropping out of the Top 10 because of drops in valuations, and Infor being acquired by Koch Industries and no longer being a unicorn.

Table: Hurun Global Unicorn Index 2020 TOP 10


Source: Hurun Research Institute   * New to the Top 10

Hangzhou-based Ant Group, spun out of Alibaba in 2014, is the world’s biggest unicorn with a valuation of US$150bn, on the back of its impending IPO in Shanghai and HK. Ant Group’s main product is the payments platform Alipay.

Beijing-based ByteDance, founded by Zhang Yiming in 2012, is best known for its news aggregator platform Toutiao and short video platform TikTok. In March this year, Tiger Fund led a new round of investors, valuing ByteDance at US$80bn. In July this year, India banned TikTok and the US government is threatening to do the same.

Taxi-hailing app Didi Chuxing, founded in 2012, is the world’s third largest unicorn with a valuation of US$55bn. Last year Didi started expanding outside of China.

Shanghai-based wealth management platform Lufax, incubated by Ping An originally, is the fourth largest unicorn in the world, moving up one space after Infor was acquired by Koch Industries.

SpaceX. Elon Musk founded LA-based SpaceX in 2002, and has raised US$3.2bn in 27 funding rounds, with the latest one valuing the unicorn at US$36bn. The aerospace company, while collaborating with NASA, has just sent two astronauts to the International Space Station at the end of May 2020.

Stripe. Started by Irish brothers John and Patrick Collison in 2010, San Francisco-based Stripe holds the 5th rank in the Hurun Global Unicorn Index 2020. Stripe provides payment solutions to businesses and helps companies start up by providing the online infrastructure to manage operations. In a recent fresh round of funding in April 2020, the Silicon Valley-based e-payment technology venture announced that it had raised US$600mn, which raised the valuation of the company at US$36bn.

Airbnb. Founded in 2008, San Francisco-based Airbnb provides an online platform for people who wish to rent their homes to people who are in search of temporary accommodation while touring. The company is a brainchild of ‎Brian Chesky‎, Joe Gebbia‎ and Nathan Blecharczyk. It is currently valued at US$35bn. Recently, in April 2020, the company managed to raise US$1bn from private equity firms.

Beijing-based Kuaishou has transformed from an application app to a short video community since 2012, gaining a foothold in the short video field with more than 200 million daily active users. Kuaishou moved up 6 places to 8th after a new round of investment, valuing it at US$28bn.

Cainiao, founded by Alibaba in 2013, focuses on working with partners to improve logistics efficiency, reduce social logistics costs and improve consumers’ logistics experience. In November last year, Alibaba invested US$3.3bn to increase its stake from 51% to 63%, valuing Cainiao at US$27bn and shooting Cainiao into the Top 10.

With a valuation of US$26bn Palantir Technologies, a data mining and data analytics company, which was founded by Alex Karp along with Peter Thiel, Nathan Gettings, Joe Lonsdale and Stephen Cohen, was up 5 places to break into the Top 10. It is headquartered in Palo Alto, California.

What industries have been disrupted?

“Unicorns create value mostly by disrupting existing industries.  Financial services and Retail are the two sectors most disrupted by unicorns, followed by Media & Entertainment, Business Management Solutions and Healthcare,” said Hoogewerf. “The car industry, for example, is being disrupted by unicorns in the fields of autonomous driving and e-cars.”

Table: Industries most disrupted by unicorns


4Source: Hurun Research Institute

Which investors are the best at finding unicorns?

Table: Most successful investors into unicorns – Top 10

(for the full list of the Top 100 investors, see Appendix 1)


5Source: Hurun Research Institute

Other Unicorns of Note


In March 2020, real estate agent platform Beike completed a D+ round of financing of $2.4 billion, and its valuation rose to US$15bn. Beike, spun out of China real estate agency Lianjia, is positioned as a technology-driven quality living service platform, providing consumers with a full range of living services including second-hand houses, new houses and rental.


Online education platform Yuanfudao has more than 400 million users in China, and is headquartered in Beijing. In March 2020, Yuanfudao completed a new round of financing of US$1bn, with a post-investment valuation of US$7bn.


Shanghai-based Xiaohongshu is a social media platform with 300 million registered users as of July 2019. In March 2020, Xiaohongshu completed its E-round of financing, at a valuation of US$5bn.


Beijing-based Mininglamp is a one-stop enterprise-level AI product & service platform. In March 2020, Mininglamp announced the completion of US$300mn for its E round, and its valuation rose to US$3bn.


Founded by Uber’s ex-CEO, Travis Kalanick, the concept of CloudKitchens is to provide exclusive food delivery to customers without having the customers at the restaurants. The task involved in this business is optimizing the food delivery services to customers by setting up restaurants with all the food preparation infrastructure sans the sit-in or dine-in facilities. The start-up was valued at US$5bn during the beginning of November 2019, when Saudi Arabia’s sovereign wealth invested US$400mn.


Founded by Thomas Flohr, Malta-based VistaJet operates on a global level, while having a reach to about 187 countries. As of the beginning of the year 2020, the company operated with close to 70 private jets. The recent addition to the fleet being the Bombardier Global 500 aircraft. Currently valued at US$2.7bn, VistaJet, offered provided complimentary empty leg flights to enable the governments to make people stranded due to Covid19, return to their respective home countries.

Notion Labs

Founded in the year 2012, Notion Labs is a San Francisco based start-up that is now valued at US$2bn. Notion Labs compete with several other workplace management applications such as Smartsheet, Airtable, Trello and Evernote. As of May 2020, the company has registered a subscriber base of 4 million. Amidst the Covid-19 pandemic the company managed to raise US$50mn funding at the current valuation.


Currently valued at US$2bn, Udemy is an online educational platform that enables individuals and students across the globe to connect with various instructors. The startup was founded by Eren Bali, Oktay Caglar and Gagan Biyani in 2010, and is headquartered in San Francisco. The user base of the learning platform is comprised of 50 million students and 57,000 course instructors, while there are around 150,000 different courses available on the website for learning.


Currently valued at US$1.6bn, Verkada is a new entrant to the list and it develops security cameras functioned to work for the Internet of Things (IoT). The startup was founded in 2016 by Filip Kaliszan, Benjamin Berkowitz, James Ren and Hans Robertson. Followed by that, in the beginning 2020, Felicis Ventures invested US$80mn in Verkada at the current valuation, which is triple the valuation in April 2019.


Optical devices aggregator, Lenskart operates in 100 cities across India and has around 500 stores in the country. In December 2019, Japan’s SoftBank Vision Fund announced that it will be investing US$275mn in Lenskart. Currently valued at estimated US$1.5bn, the company aims to utilize these funds to enhance its supply chain infrastructure.

You & Mr Jones

You & Mr Jones promotes itself as a ‘brandtech’ company, the word brandtech being a combination of branding and technology, which are the business wheels of the company. You & Mr Jones was valued at US$1.3bn in December 2019, after it raised US$200mn in a funding round.


Founded in 2013 by Payal Kadakia and Mary Biggins, ClassPass aims at providing its users access to various fitness studios, gyms and health clubs located across the globe while charging a monthly subscription fee in return. In January 2020 ClassPass, which now operates in 28 countries raised US$ 285mn to secure the unicorn status.


San Francisco-based Grammarly is now the most popular AI based online spell-check and grammar check-application. The company was founded by Alex Shevchenko and Max Lytvyn in 2009. In October 2019, the company raised US$90mn to hit the unicorn “button”.

Disclaimer. All the data collection and the research has been carried out by Hurun Research. This report is meant for information purposes only. Reasonable care and caution have been taken in preparing this report. The information contained in this report has been obtained from sources that are considered reliable. By accessing and/or using any part of the report, the user accepts this disclaimer and exclusion of liability which operates to the benefit of Hurun. Hurun does not guarantee the accuracy, adequacy or completeness of any information contained in the report and neither shall it be responsible for any errors or omissions in or for the results obtained from the use of such information. No third party whose information is referenced in this report under the credit to it, assumes any liability towards the user with respect to its information. Hurun shall not be liable for any decisions made by the user based on this report (including those of investment or divestiture) and the user takes full responsibility for their decisions made based on this report. Hurun shall not be liable to any user of this report (and expressly disclaim liability) for any loss, damage of any nature, including but not limited to direct, indirect, punitive, special, exemplary, consequential losses, loss of profit, lost business and economic loss regardless of the cause or form of action and regardless of whether or not any such loss could have been foreseen.

About Hurun Inc.

Promoting Entrepreneurship Through Lists and Research

Oxford, Shanghai, Mumbai, Sydney, Paris

Established in the UK in 1999, Hurun is a research, media and investments group, widely regarded as an influential opinion-leader in the world of business on the back of generating 4 billion views on the Hurun brand last year.

Best-known today for the Hurun Rich List series, ranking the most successful entrepreneurs in China, India and the world, Hurun’s other key properties include the Hurun Global Unicorn Index, the Hurun U30s, an awards recognizing the most successful entrepreneurs under the age of thirty, the Hurun 500, a ranking of the world’s most valuable companies, the Hurun Philanthropy List and the Hurun Art List, ranking the world’s most successful artists alive today.

Hurun provides research reports co-branded with some of the world’s leading financial insitutions, real estate developers and regional governments.

Hurun hosted high-profile events in the last year across China and India, as well as London, Paris, New York, LA, Sydney, Luxembourg, Istanbul, Dubai and Singapore.

For further information, please visit