The term “unicorn” in tech business refers to companies that are privately owned, venture-backed, and valued at one billion dollars. Do Latin American unicorns exist?
Have you heard of Latin American unicorns? No? Don’t feel guilty. Latin American unicorn companies are as rare as the mythical creatures themselves (hence the name). However, you won’t be as surprised when you read some of the names in the following list compiled by Statista, according to the company’s market value in 2019:
1. Mercado Libre (31.5bn), Argentina
One of the most recognizable Latin American tech brands Mercado Libre is an e-commerce and auction platform, similar to eBay. Launched in 1999, it has held five funding rounds and Statista has it as the largest Latin American unicorn by market value.
2. PagSeguro (13.3bn), Brazil
Launched in Sao Paulo in 2006, Pagseguro offers innovative solutions for sales, payments, purchases, and transfers. It raised $2.27 billion dollars on its NYSE IPO and is now valued at $13.3 billion dollars.
3. B2W Digital (4.4bn), Brazil
B2W is an e-commerce company created as a result of the merger between retail sites Americanas.com and Submarino.com. With a market capitalization of $4.4 billion dollars, the company is well-positioned to manage the hard times ahead.
4. Nubank (4bn), Brazil
Founded in 2013, Nubank is a digital bank firm that is making waves in the Latin American market. Inspired by the Chinese experience where a billion people have many options to manage their money through simple apps, Nubank took the Brazilian market by storm and is now going for the whole region.
5. Globant (3.8bn), Argentina
Globant is an Argentinian unicorn that provides engineering, design, and innovation services for customers around the world. Founded in 2012, it has reached a market value of $3.8 billion dollars and over 10,000 employees. Not bad, right?
6. Rappi (3.5bn), Colombia
The only Colombian unicorn on this list, Rappi is a popular app that connects users with drivers who deliver practically anything. Its success is such, that some of the biggest investment funds like Sequoia and Endeavor Catalyst are stockholders of Rappi now.
7. Totvs (2.4bn), Brazil
Totvs challenges the modern startup storyline. Founded in 1983, before the invention of the World Wide Web, this Brazilian software company has learned to re-invent itself, several times. Marketed as a business solutions provider, its rise hasn’t been without bumps as it recently sold its hardware production unit in what has been called “one of the worst deals in the Brazilian tech industry’s history”.
Then, a series of companies with a market value of one billion dollars follow: we have the transportation app 99 from Brazil (which recently sold the 99% of its shares to a Chinese company), tech experts KIO Networks from Mexico, the also Mexican Softtek which offers IT Solutions for businesses, and the popular travel company from Argentina Despegar, as the top unicorn companies in the region.
Are we missing any other important Latin American unicorn? Follow us on Twitter and let us know which one!