Due to a phenomenon called semantic satiation, if you repeat a word or phrase too frequently, it can sometimes lose all meaning.
That’s what happened to “unicorn:” We wore it out like a pair of sneakers that leak in the rain but are too comfortable to part with.
In fact, most of the startups in CB Insights’ unicorn index are on the bubble and “are actually hovering right at the $1 billion mark,” reports Rebecca Szkutak.
“How many of these will stay unicorns through this calendar year?” Out of 35 investors she surveyed, “the vast majority felt the herd has likely already been winnowed,” she found.
“It’s not just about whether they’ll still command ‘unicorn status,’ but rather whether or not they will be fundable, at any value, period,” said Harley Miller, founder and managing partner at Left Lane Capital.
By all accounts, the IPO window is nailed shut. Any startups that hope to weather this downturn must raise additional funds.
I’m sure the hunt is already on for another mythical animal that best represents startup attainment in a down market, like ‘ARRmadillo.’ You can have that one for free.
My greater hope: investors and founders will use this era of austerity as an opportunity to create value, and not just wealth.
Thanks very much for reading,
Editorial Manager, TechCrunch+