Tech Unicorns Moving OverseasDamien Moye
Let me make it clear: I’m not talking about mystical horses with horns flying in the clouds. When I say tech unicorns, I’m talking about tech companies, not on the stock market, but can still be worth billions. These tech unicorns are moving and flying overseas.
Mainstream news from CNN to Vanity Fair declare tech unicorns are on the endangered species list. The trend started in 2015. The volatile start in 2016 isn’t helping matters either. Only one tech company went public so far in 2016. Maybe that’s why many tech unicorn leaders are taking their businesses to sunnier places, and I’m not talking about Silicon Valley. I’m talking about Europe and China. That’s where unicorns are going. One reason is the field isn’t so crowded in other countries, so the competition isn’t as fierce. Europe offers opportunities for older tech companies. Venture tech capitalists in Europe are eager to bid on tech non-public companies, whether they started in 2015 or 1975. Some of the highest tech unicorn companies are in China: Xiaomi ($46 billion), Didi Chuxing ($25 billion), Meituan-Dianping ($18 billion) and Flipkart ($15 billion). None are in a hurry to go public. But look at how much they’re worth. Look at how tech unicorns in the USA are struggling. If you lead these companies, would you be in a hurry to go public?
This isn’t good for Silicon Valley. This isn’t good for the USA. For many years, we heard horror stories about jobs being shipped overseas. It is never a happy ending, especially not for the American worker. When American unicorn tech leaders send their companies overseas, they’re sending US jobs overseas. That also means European and Chinese companies are prospering while US tech companies are struggling. That’s why this trend disturbs me. What can we do to bring and keep unicorn tech companies here at home?