Startups, who have demonstrated an explosive growth and attracted at least $ 1 billion in investments are called “unicorns.” As a general rule, these are high tech companies, who have offered a genuinely unique product or service to the word. The conditions of “unicorns” forming were explored by the participants of the discussion “Unicorn Era. How to Create a Company with a $1 Billion Market Cap.”

The speakers have agreed that the main condition for the formation of a “unicorn” company is an “unsolvable” global issue which could be affecting the whole of humanity and requires an outside-of-the-box approach. “This is exactly the necessary nudge towards the creation of new technology which then could be put on a large market. Only then will the company be able to attract investments and reach a value of one billion or higher”, said MindMaze Innovations Director Martin Ciupa.

Any new product has to take into account a specific consumer demand, whose effect must be a measurable and reasonable foundation for the creation of a large business, believes co-founder of JUUL Labs James Monsees, “In our case this demand was the problem of smoking, the leading preventable cause of death in the world, and we set out to wipe this cause off the face of the Earth.” According to Monsees, the vaping industry needs to be taken seriously as “we are changing the world of smokers, which has known no innovations for hundreds of years.”

Overall, there are over 390 “unicorns” in the world, and up until 2019 this list had no Russian representation. The OCSiAl company, a manufacturer of carbon nanotubes and solutions based thereon for the enhancement of the properties of materials became the first one. According to founder of the company Yuri Koropachinsky, after 1960s there haven’t been created a single cardinally new material, which is what stimulates the progress.

“The current economic results” of the “unicorns” do not allow to appraise their multi-bullion amounts. All these companies have billion and multi-billion assessment value because investors see perspective technology development,” said Yuri Koropachinsky.

Discussion moderator and Chairman of the Executive Board of Rusnano Anatoly Chubais stated that the founders of all those “unicorn” companies were part of a rapidly growing sector of economy when few took their projects seriously. In answer to the question of what is the best way to realize one’s business idea, the moderator advised to “fight by tooth and nail and if the teeth are punched out - gnaw with the gums - nothing can be achieved in the innovation economy otherwise.”

“I am absolutely certain that everyone present can write a heart-wringing dramatic tale about themselves. Everyone has been through utterly disastrous business times, when everything was ruined, when there was no chance to come back – there was no money left, a conflict with their partner was ongoing, and on top of all that everyone had abandoned them. Nevertheless, they managed to get back on their feet. Everyone here has a dramatic story of will, professionalism, and belief in their business ,” said Anatoly Chubais.

The session was also attended by CEO of Binance Changpeng Zhao, managing partner of Almaz Capital Alexander Galitsky, Higher School of Economics Institute of Innovation Management Director Dan Medovnikov.