These 5 Austin Tech Companies Achieved Unicorn Status in 2021
Five new tech unicorns emerged from the Silicon Hills of Austin this year with promises of growth and innovation.
The term unicorn, coined in 2013 by venture capitalist Aileen Lee, originally referred to the rarity of a privately held company worth $1 billion or more. They are no longer rare, though; CB Insights estimates that, as of December 2021, more than 900 tech unicorns exist around the world.
The billion-dollar benchmark, though, is still an incredible accomplishment that deserves to be celebrated and respected, especially for still-growing tech hubs like Austin. These companies are worth keeping a close eye on, as they are primed to grow their teams and expand their products in the new year.
Keep reading to meet the 2021 class of Austin tech unicorns.
$1B+ Valuation as of April
The Zebra? I thought this was a unicorn list? All joking aside, The Zebra is an insurance comparison site that has seen serious growth — from $42 million in revenue in 2019 to $79 million in 2020. It joined the ranks in April, when it raised a $150 million Series D round. The company had 325 employees at the time, but it planned to hire at least 100 more over the next year.
$1B+ Valuation as of May
Firefly Aerospace announced in the spring that it had raised $75 million in Series A funding, and that one of its seed investors sold $100 million in equity holdings to some of the Series A participants along with other investors. The company, which is based 20 miles north of Austin in Cedar Park, develops small and medium-sized launch vehicles, spacecraft and in-space services.
$1B+ Valuation as of August
Abrigo announced this summer that it had received an unspecified strategic growth investment from global investment firm Carlyle, making Carlyle a co-majority stakeholder with Accel-KKR. According to Bloomberg, the investment valued Abrigo at more than $1 billion. Abrigo’s software helps financial institutions manage risk, ensure compliance, drive growth and process loans faster.
$1.7B Valuation as of November
ZenBusiness achieved unicorn status in November, when it raised $200 million Series C round at a $1.7 billion valuation. ZenBusiness is a one-stop shop for entrepreneurs, providing users with step-by-step directions on how to form a LLC, create a website, file required documents and stay legally compliant. The platform also provides customized recommendations on how to take businesses to the next level. Notably, the company also welcomed influential entrepreneur Mark Cuban as a new advocate and spokesperson this year.
$1B+ Valuation as of December
Iodine Software joined the unicorn ranks in December, when its valuation rose above $1 billion in a strategic growth investment deal in which private equity investor Advent International acquired a “significant stake” of equity from existing investors. Used by more than 800 hospitals and 80,000 healthcare providers, Iodine Software uses artificial intelligence to interpret raw clinical data and generate real-time predictive insights that clinicians and hospital administrators can use to make decisions about management of care.