UNICORNS ARE horned mythical creatures that do not exist. In the world of technology they have multiplied in recent years, at least if you define them as privately held startups valued at more than $1bn. Some 330 such firms exist globally, according to cbInsights, a data provider. All told, venture capitalists value them above $1trn. Ride-hailing apps, which allow passengers to summon cars driven by their owners, form a particularly fertile subspecies. As The Economist went to press on March 29th one of these “taxicorns”, Lyft, was about to float its shares on the Nasdaq exchange in New York at a price which would value the firm at more than $23bn. Should the listing succeed, as analysts expect, other unicorns will rush to the stockmarket. Uber, the world’s biggest ride-hailing firm, is likely to do so in a few weeks (on March 26th it bought Careem, a Middle Eastern rival, for $3.1bn). Other candidates include Pinterest, which lets users create digital pin-boards, and Slack, a corporate messaging service. Once they list, of course, companies cease to be unicorns. Will the magic disappear, too?
This post was originally posted at https://www.economist.com/business/2019/03/30/lyft-will-be-the-first-ride-hailing-company-to-float-its-shares.