Fortune, WSJ & NYTimes Validate Another of Our Predictions — This Time About Unicorns


In December, we asked (somewhat pretentiously), “Whither unicorns and their business models?” 

We said, “Unicorns – startups valued at upwards of $1 billion – were big in 2015. Expect coverage in 2016 that questions whether the unicorn bubble will burst. This will be true not just of privately held startups but also of publicly held companies (that represent the next stage of unicorn development) that fail to fully monetize their businesses. Twitter and Yahoo! – that means you and other social media platforms that fail to live up to financial expectations.”

In Fortune’s Feb. 1st issue, an article entitled, “Good Luck Getting Out!,” made the case that private investors have put $362 billion into startups over the past five years, pumping up the value of so-called unicorns. Now the broken tech IPO market is cratering. Who will survive the reckoning?”

And on Friday, the Wall St. Journal reported, “For Silicon Valley, the Hangover Begins: With venture-capital investors increasingly nervous, once-hottech startups are retrenching” while the Times’ Farhad Manjoo profiled one unicorn that’s facing a heap of problems in his article, “Zenefits Scandal Highlights Perils of Hypergrowth at Start-Ups.” Both articles are worth reading.

Meanwhile, let’s not forget that we called out Twitter and Yahoo!

Twitter shares “hit a nominal low on Thursday a day after it said that user growth had stalled for the first time since the company went public in 2013,” The New York Times reported this month. 

And Yahoo!? Well, The New York Times also reported this month that “Yahoo Announces First Round of Layoffs as It Trims 15 Percent of Workforce.”

We feel badly for the employees of Twitter and Yahoo! and other unicorns at risk, but we feel pretty good about our trend-calling ability.

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