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5 NYC Startups That Have Recently Become Unicorns

When a startup reaches a billion-dollar valuation and joins The Global Unicorn Club, to say this is a serious business seems to be a massive understatement. Entering the not-so-plentiful company of top-class enterprises is a tremendous success everyone will talk and write about. And so we are today, focusing exclusively on the NYC startup scene!

Let me introduce the list of the fastest-growing businesses on the East coast that have recently attained the unicorn status.

Compass

Compass is an innovative, tech-driven platform for real estate agents and their clients.  

From the very beginning, Compass has flawlessly gone from one milestone to another, including creating a special division for pitching to the clients from the show-business world, launching the first nationwide real-time market report available in a mobile app, and transacting the 5th biggest residential sale in the history of the U.S. Becoming a unicorn was only a matter of time. And now this time has come.

After having closed the latest round of funding, Ori Allon, Founder and CEO of Compass, revealed some (rather obvious) plans for the future, such as expanding into new markets and improving the platform UX.

Letgo

Letgo allows people to sell and buy used goods on a person-to-person basis. All communication is kept within the app.

When Alex Oxenford (former CEO of OLX), Jordi Castello and Enrique Linares launched this mobile marketplace in January 2015, everyone knew it was going to be a significant alternative to Craigslist, which is tied to desktop computers. Only in the first year of operating, Letgo managed to raise $100M from venture capital.

By focusing on marketing and polishing up the features, in August 2016, the company could pride itself on reaching 30 million downloads of the app. Now, Letgo is valued at more than $1B, has 20 million active users a month, and is available nine languages. According to the CEO, they are currently working on artificial intelligence and image recognition to make the app as intuitive as possible.

Flatiron Health

Flatiron Health is a platform shared by doctors, researchers and patients – created to accelerate the fight against cancer by organizing the world’s oncology information, and letting people learn from each other’s experience.

Flatiron Health was founded in 2012 by Zach Weinberg and Nat Turner, a few years after Net’s cousin had been diagnosed with a rare type of leukemia. The company’s aim has been simple – to improve the quality of healthcare for cancer patients. In order to achieve this goal, the team has faced a massive technological challenge of collecting and structuring clinical data from thousands of medical centers (that work independently from one another) and making them accessible to everyone involved. This was, still is, and will be their one and only goal for a long time.

But investors seem to understand it perfectly. In only three rounds, of funding Flatiron Health managed to raise over $328M. The last investment increased the company’s market valuation up to $1,2B.

Peloton

Peloton offers instructor-led indoor cycling classes streamed through a mobile app (both live and on demand) plus dedicated fitness bicycles.

Peloton provides a convenient, comfortable and time-efficient way of getting fit by delivering exercise content (available to every subscriber 24/7), and technologically advanced equipment. But how have they managed to become so popular and increase their market valuation from zero to over $1,25B in only five years?

From the very beginning, the company has focused on selling products to individual customers as well as to large hotels and gyms. People fell in love with spinning in the comfort of their own homes and rooms and still having the chance to compete with users who are taking the class at the same time. Investors clearly foresaw the situation, having pumped into this project $450M in total in venture funding. Co-founder and CEO John Foley’s plans for the future are simply the further development of technology and opening more showrooms.

Warby Parker

Warby Parker provides designer eyewear at affordable prices. Moreover, the company cooperates with non-profit organizations, giving a pair of glasses to someone in need for every purchased pair.

Warby Parker was founded by Neil Blumenthal, David Gilboa, Andrew Hunt, and Jeffrey Raider in 2010. Their “Home Try-On” retail model quickly won people’s hearts, and so did the option of trying the glasses on virtually. But as the money was flowing in, their web-only model started to be insufficient, and Warby Parker eventually opened their first brick-and-mortar stores.

When the company became a unicorn (scoring $215M in all six funding rounds), the founders announced some further plans, including opening up more brick-and-mortar shops.

If you want to see what were the biggest fudning rounds in New York City in 2017, check out our blog post.

Wrap-up

Will those five (so far extremely successful) companies continue to go up or are they going to lose their long-wished for unicorn status? It’s hard to say without missing a beat, but judging from their previous decisions and actions, they will most likely keep on developing rapidly in the coming months. But of course, time will tell. Anyway, one thing is certain – we are going to keep a close eye on them.

See also: Top 15 Most Prospective New York Startups 2017

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