NEW UNICORNS: Meet the 14 startups that grew to be worth billions in 2016

a trip to unicorn islandYouTube

In Silicon Valley, a "unicorn" is a company with a billion-dollar valuation. Its name implies how rare it should be to reach that status.

But as more money pours into startups — a prominent trend over the last few years — more startups are achieving "unicorn" status.

Unicorns hit a fever pitch in 2015, when 42 startups achieved billion-dollar valuations. Yet as the data shows, becoming a unicorn wasn't quite as easy in 2016.

For the purposes of this list, Business Insider asked PitchBook Data to pull a list of US-based companies that reached a $1 billion-plus valuation in 2016. We then ranked them from least to most valuable based on their post-money valuations.

Here are the companies that became unicorns in 2016:

Compass

Compass
Compass

Founded: 2012

Valuation: $1 billion

What it does: While Compass functions like a traditional broker, the company's promise is to use technology to reduce the time and friction of buying and selling a house or apartment.

In July, Compass released an app designed to replace "stale" quarterly market reports with more dynamic information. In the app, buyers and sellers can search by things like neighborhood, number of bedrooms, price range, and so on, but they can also look at more advanced metrics, like year-over-year analysis of median price per square foot, days on the market, and negotiability.

SMS Assist

SMS Assist
SMS Assist CEO Mike Rothman.SMS assist

Founded: 2003

Valuation: $1 billion

What it does: The Chicago-based technology company provides software to help property managers supervise things like electrical work, snow-plow contractors, and landscaping. The "no-glamour" company allows property managers to keep tabs on multiple properties at once, and it has already signed on customers like Family Dollar and Colony Starwood Homes.

ForeScout

ForeScout
ForeScout Technologies

Founded: 2000

Valuation: $1 billion

What it does: ForeScout's technology helps companies monitor all the devices that are connected to their network at any given time. For many large enterprises, the number of devices can easily run into the millions with things like PCs, employees' mobile devices, virtual machines used for testing new applications, and now internet of things devices — and that can make it it hard for network administrators to keep tabs on everything happening on their company's network.

ForeScout's CEO said that when the company first runs its software with a client, it typically finds 20-30% more devices on the network than the client's IT team expected.

Cylance

Cylance
Cylance CEO Stuart McClure.YouTube/Cylance

Founded: 2012

Valuation: $1 billion

What it does: Cylance built a product that uses artificial intelligence to analyze a file you're about to open, determine if it's malware, and then stop it from executing — all in less than a second. It solves the problem of email phishing scams, which are still a favorite method of hackers, and it says it has over 1,000 customers. Cylance was founded by Stuart McClure and Ryan Permeh, two well-known names in security who are perhaps best known for their work at McAfee.

Opendoor

Opendoor
Keith Rabois, chairman and cofounder of Opendoor.

Founded: 2014

Valuation: $1.1 billion

What it does: Opendoor is betting that homeowners would take a guaranteed sale over a higher price. It calculates a fair market value and pays homeowners before reselling the home, with a 30-day satisfaction guarantee.

Anaplan

Anaplan
Anaplan CTO Michael GouldAnaplan

Founded: 2006

Valuation: $1 billion

What it does: Anaplan offers a financial-planning platform that's as easy to use as a spreadsheet but also does things Excel can't do, like modeling and letting groups work together. A planner can use it to see how adding more employees might affect sales and profitability, for instance. Its claim to fame is that it's a lot less expensive than planning software from giant SAP.

Carbon3D

Carbon3D
Carbon3D

Founded: 2013

Valuation: $1 billion

What it does: Carbon3D grabbed headlines and attention for its method of creating shapes out of a liquid resin soup. It's much more complicated than that, but Carbon3D has caught the eye of companies like Ford and Johnson & Johnson. While Ford imagines a future of speedy customizable parts, like custom-designed cup holders, healthcare operators are looking at Carbon3D for a fast way to create surgical parts. The machines are already being tested, less than a year after they launched. In April, Carbon3D released its M1 printer.

Gusto

Gusto
Gusto

Founded: 2011

Valuation: $1 billion

What it does: Gusto offers cloud payroll, insurance, and HR software for small businesses. It was founded by Josh Reeves, who says the company now supports 40,000 customers.

Flatiron Health

Flatiron Health
Saskia Uppenkamp

Founded: 2012

Valuation: $1.2 billion

What it does: Flatiron Health is a software company that organizes the world's oncology information and makes it accessible for doctors, patients, and researchers. In January, Roche, one of the world's leading pharmaceutical companies, made a $175 million investment in the company, which valued the company at $1.1 billion.

OfferUp

OfferUp
OfferUp

Founded: 2011

Valuation: $1.29 billion

What it does: OfferUp is making waves as a mobile-only hybrid of Craigslist and eBay. The company is said to have surpassed the early days of eBay in terms of sales volume, and its users are said to be spending the same amount of time on OfferUp in a day as they do on Snapchat or Instagram.

Zoox

Zoox
Founders Tim Kentley-Klay and Jesse Levinson.Zoox

Founded: 2014

Valuation: $1.55 billion

What it does: Despite remaining in stealth, Zoox has already raised $290 million for its unseen product. The only hint founder Tim Kentley-Klay has given was at a conference in October, when he described it as "Disneyland on the streets":

"At Zoox what we're creating ... is not a self-driving car any more than the automobile is a horseless carriage. We're not building a robo-taxi service — we're actually creating an advanced mobility service," Kentley-Klay said, according to The Wall Street Journal. "You can really think of it as Disneyland on the streets of perhaps San Francisco, and that means a vehicle which is smart enough to understand its environment but it's also importantly smart enough to understand you, where you need to be, what you want to do in the vehicle, and how you want to move around the city."

Quanergy

Quanergy
Quanergy

Founded: 2012

Valuation: $1.6 billion

What it does: Self-driving car startups aren't the only billion-dollar bets around. Quanergy isn't building its own car — instead, it specializes in building lidar systems, the 3-D sensing systems that self-driving cars use to the see the world. Already, the startup has struck partnerships with automakers including Mercedes-Benz and Hyundai.

JetSmarter

JetSmarter
Courtesy of JetSmarter

Founded: 2012

Valuation: $1.6 billion

What it does: JetSmarter, a private-airline firm, has an app that makes it easy for anyone to book a flight on a private jet in a matter of seconds. The company offers three products: JetDeals, which involves booking a one-way private flight on demand; JetShuttle, which lets you grab a seat on a previously scheduled private flight; and JetCharter, which offers travel packages that can be customized by route and aircraft.

Domo

Domo
Domo CEO Josh James.YouTube/Domo

Founded: 2010

Valuation: $2.1 billion

What it does: Domo offers cloud software for businesses in an area called "business intelligence and analytics." It takes a company's data from virtually any source — Twitter, Facebook, Salesforce, corporate databases, spreadsheets, and over 300 other applications — and turns the data into charts and graphs. If a sales rep wants to see how many likes a post got on Facebook from a certain territory in Nebraska, Domo boasts that it's the place.

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