Combination of large drone and small airplane, flying Uber air taxi in 2030
As unlisted startups worth more than $1 billion (about 1.08 trillion won) emerged in 2013, people in Silicon Valley started calling them "unicorns." The unicorn is a mythical animal with a horn in its head. The emergence of unlisted startups worth 1 trillion won means that the imaginary animal unicorns appear in reality.
However, as years go by, enterprises worth over 10 times unicorns emerged, and people started calling them decacorns. In economic terms, it refers to start-up companies with more than $10 billion (about 10.8 trillion won). Decacorns are a combination of the 'deca,' a prefix meaning 10, and 'unicorn.' Just looking at the faces of the seven major Decacons, which were chosen by Business Insider, one can see where global startups are headed.
Top seven decacorns in U.S.
'Business Insider', a U.S. economic media, introduced the top seven Decacorns in the U.S.' in December 2017. The top decacorn company is by far Uber. Uber, which started its service in May 2010, is the world's largest platform for sharing vehicles and provides vehicle brokerage service in 528 cities in 66 countries as of 2017.
With the only service that connects passengers and vehicles with smart phone applications, Uber recorded the business value of 68 billion U.S. dollars (about 73.02 trillion won), the highest in the U.S. startup history, in 2016. Recently, it is developing a shared service for air taxi service. Uber air taxi is a flying taxi that combines a giant drone with a small plane. Uber plans to begin the service in Los Angeles and Dallas-Portworth, the U.S., where traffic is heavy, as early as 2030.
The second place is Airbnb, a platform for sharing accommodation. It provides a service that connects homeowners who own empty rooms and travelers who want to rent rooms at low prices with smartphone apps. In August 2008, the company made its debut and became the world's largest hotel platform, shaking the existing hotel industry. Entrepreneurship value amounts to 31 billion U.S. dollars (about 33.44 trillion won) in just selling empty rooms instead of owning rooms. The figure far exceeds the market capitalization of the big hotel chains-- Hilton or Marriott.
In 2017, the Trips service that allows home owners who are familiar with local tourist destinations to design travel itinerary and the Resy service that supports reservations at local restaurants were introduced. From now on, the company plans to diversify its business models and become an online professional travel agency that can solve everything from the beginning to the end of the trip.
SpaceX, a company specializing in aerospace equipment, came in third. The company is a private space developer that was established by Elon Musk, who is also known as the real model of the movie "Iron Man," in 2002, a year before Tesla was founded. Before 2002, several large aerospace companies and government agencies, such as Boeing Co. and Lockheed Martin, had monopolized the space industry due to high investment costs and risks.
However, since the advent of SpaceX, the space industry has faced an era of unlimited competition. It is the world's largest space industry enterprise, ranging from the commercial business that sends telecommunications universe to the space orbit at the request of a large company to the public business, including signing a cargo transportation contract with NASA and the International Space Station (ISS). As of 2017, the value of SpaceX is estimated to be 21.1 billion dollars (about 22.7669 trillion won).
The fourth place went to wework, which is an office-sharing platform. A co-working space means the use of office space with other companies. Building owners contract large-scale space into a long-term contract, reducing the risk of a vacancy and allowing tenants to use space as much as they need at low cost. Another advantage of shared office is that experts from various fields in the office share information and have opportunities for cooperation. It has 328 branches in 65 cities as of April 2018.
Wework has transformed the office rental business market into a new model called sharing of business communities rather than just space rents. As a result, it recorded 21 billion dollars in business value (about 22 trillion won) in just eight years from its office rental business without its own building. Recently, it attracted attention by attracting 4.4 billion U.S. dollars (about 4.7476 trillion won) from Softbank and Softbank's vision fund.
The 5th place is Pinterest, which is an image sharing platform. Pinterest is a combination of pin that is used to secure objects to a wall and interest, which means concern or attention. Unlike the existing social networking services (SNS), which focus on relationships such as Facebook, it provides image scrap function and image search service that actively reveals individual interests. Market analysts say that the latest trend can be measured by looking at images that are shared with trends and fashion-conscious apps rather than real-time communication. There are 175 million users per month.
More than 70 percent of them are women who are sensitive to fashion. The company generates profits with services that can be purchased immediately by clicking on products in the image. Currently, the value of Pinterest is around $12.3 billion (about 13.2717 trillion won). In 2017, it newly introduced Lens service, which is an image search tool that automatically recognizes and analyzes various items in pictures taken with smart phones, making higher profits.
Startup Samumed in the life science field came in sixth. It is the only bio company among decacorns and Wintherix, a cancer-treatment specialized pharmaceutical company established in 2007, is its former body. After changing its name to "Samumed" in 2012, it quickly emerged as a leading biotech startup in the world after developing stem cell-based treatment for degenerative diseases such as hair loss and arthritis. According to clinical tests, Samumed's treatments are effective in regenerating hair and knee cartilage. The current value of the enterprise amounts to 12 billion U.S. dollars (about 12.948 trillion won).
Finally, Dropbox, a web-based file sharing platform using cloud computing, ranked seventh. Founded in 2007, Dropbox provides cloud storage for general users. Unlike enterprise cloud repositories, which have dominated the market by several large companies, cloud services targeted at general consumers are crowded with tens of thousands of competitors. Despite this, Dropbox provides easy-to-use, very stable service and surpassed 500 million users in 2017. There are 11 million paid users. Dropbox is worth 1.11 billion dollars in 2017(about 10.79 trillion won). It was listed on NASDAQ in March 2018.
Information revolution in which all things connect each other and evolve
"We are on the verge of a technological revolution that fundamentally changes the way we have lived and worked. The scale, scope and complexity of this change will be very different from what humans have experienced so far."
Klaus Schwab, chairman of the World Economic Forum, officially declared the era of the Fourth Industrial Revolution at Davos Forum in January 2016. The fourth industrial revolution represents the next-generation industrial revolution in which innovative changes occur in the overall economy and society as high-tech information and communication technologies such as artificial intelligence, IoT, big data and mobile devices converge each other.
As seen in the top seven decacorn companies, the latest topics of global startups can be summarized into shared economy, space industry and bio industry. Human beings have faced a completely new way of life in recent years, including a shift in consumption life that shares everything from empty homes to personal tastes, a shift in space travel by plane like taxi to space craft, and a shift in lifestyle that returns body aging from hair to organs.
This is why the global economy is paying attention to startups. This is because new business models that apply high-tech technologies such as artificial intelligence and Internet of things are not traditional businesses that control the existing offline markets, but new innovative companies that compete with fresh ideas and technologies.
The signs are already showing. Viewing the top 10 companies in the global market in terms of market capitalization as of February 2018, information and communication technology companies such as Apple, the Alphabet, Microsoft, Amazon, Facebook, Tencent, Berkshire Hathaway, and Alibaba are all dominating. Traditional companies with a long history such as Johnson & Johnson, Bank of America, and Wal-Mart have long been out of the top 10.
In particular, in recent years, traditional companies will give way to more startups in the near future, considering the emergence of large startups that more than six times the decacorn standard of $10 billion. The world economy is already moving fast into the heyday of startups.
Lawyer Koo Tae-eon/CEO of TEK & LAW(firstname.lastname@example.org)