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Infographic – Billion Dollar Start-Ups by Women Jump in 2021

Chart: Women-owned unicorns

Click on image for full-size view (Crunchbase News)

26 Mar. 2022. The venture capital world calls privately owned start-ups with a market value of $1 billion or more “unicorns,” and like VC-backed companies overall, the vast majority of unicorns are male-owned. According to Crunchbase News this week, in 2021 the number of new women-owned unicorns rose sharply, although the percentage gained only a little.

Crunchbase maintains a comprehensive database of venture capital transactions worldwide, with a special running count of companies reaching unicorn status. In 2021, the number of new unicorns founded by at least one woman rose sharply to 83 from18 in 2020. While 2020 is consider a special case because of Covid-19 shock waves, in 2019 the number of new women-owned unicorns numbered 24. Crunchbase defines new unicorns as companies reaching $1 billion in market value in the same year as their first venture funding round.

On a percentage basis, however, the 83 unicorns founded by one or more women are only 14 percent of the 595 new unicorns in 2021. The proportion remains unchanged from 2019 and only inched up from 10 percent in 2015. Crunchbase News says the new women-owned unicorns represent start-ups in agricultural technologies, health care, electronic commerce, software, and delivery services, among others.

Also this week, Crunchbase reported on the 10 top-funded women entrepreneurs so far in 2022. One of those big fundraisers is Minerva Biotechnologies in Waltham, Massachusetts founded by Cynthia Bamdad, a biophysicist trained at Harvard University and serial entrepreneur. Minerva Bio is developing cancer immunotherapies derived from stem cells targeting a unique cancer-cell protein target.

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