Another tech company joins the Unicorn club

The announcement that Symphony Communications, the US-based online messaging company, has raised another USD 63m of equity capital is not a big deal on the face of it. But for the 18-month-old company, which is taking on Bloomberg in an attempt to become Wall Street’s defacto social network service, this latest round of funding gives it an equity valuation of over USD 1 billion, thus giving it Unicorn status.

For those unfamiliar with this rather quaint term, it was coined in 2013 by venture capitalist Aileen Lee, choosing the mythical animal to represent the statistical rarity of such successful ventures, namely start-up companies with a market valuation of over USD 1 billion. According to techcrunch.com, at the beginning of May there were 221 companies that matched the definition of a Unicorn, whose aggregated valuation is USD 795.70 billion and between them have raised an eye-watering USD 140 billion. Household Unicorns include Uber and Airbnb; the markets that these companies serve are diverse, but shared traits of all Unicorns include their ability to capitalise on the “sharing economy” utilising ecommerce and with an innovative business model.

Symphony has been referred to as being the Whatsapp for the financial community and whilst the firm has broken in to the club with this latest round of funding it has some way to go to get close to Uber, the most valuable Unicorn, which was valued at USD 62.50 billion in April.