Slow down: Unicorns take a lot of time (and capital) to breed

The Nordics, just like the rest of the World, have gone ‘unicorn’ crazy recently with companies falling over themselves to declare themselves the Nordics next ‘unicorn’, and Stockholm even starting to call itself the ‘Unicorn Factory’. This is all well and good, and displays a level of ambition that has perhaps lacked in the Nordics previously. However, the problem is, it appears that a lot of the media and startups declaring themselves as the next unicorn simply don’t understand what one is.

Firstly, I can tell you categorically that a company that has only raised a $2M seed round (at that point) will not be the next Nordic unicorn.

I can also tell you without a shadow of a doubt that the company that has raised $11M in total won’t be either.

The reason why they won’t, is that becoming a unicorn (a company that is valued at a billion dollars or more) in 99.9% of cases is correlated with how much money the company has raised. There is practically zero chance of you being a unicorn if you’ve raised less than $50 million in total. A good basic rule of thumb in terms of valuations for companies at this stage that I use is x5 total raised, so, in the majority of cases, unicorns are companies that have raised around $200 million+ in total, not $2M, or $11M.

So, for the Nordics, the next company to get unicorn status will be one of iZettle, Trustpilot, Truecaller, or Tradeshift. Unless someone gets unexpectedly bought for $1 billion+, it simply won’t be anyone else, so if you sit outside of those four, being the next unicorn from the Nordics is a fool’s goal.

Now, I’m not saying Universal Avenue or Bloglovin’ will not become unicorns (in fact, I’m particularly bullish about Universal Avenue) but I can assure you that they won’t be the next one.

Neil S W Murray founded The Nordic Web in 2014 in order to provide the Nordics with the quality coverage it deserves. As well as being Founding Editor of The Nordic Web, Neil is also an active community builder in the region, participating in a number of initiatives, and has previously worked for