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What Big Companies Can Learn from the Success of the Unicorns

From an article on the Harvard Business Rreview, the authors carried out a systematic analysis of the 146 unicorns identified by The Wall Street Journal. Thanks to this analysis, we identified four features that are common to pretty much all the unicorns and which we believe helps explain why they have been so successful. Unicorns are:

  1. Small in size
  2. Led by serial entrepreneurs
  3. Financed by VC firms
  4. Narrowly focused

They call this unique approach adopted by unicorns lightning innovation. How can companies achieve the same success:

To realize this potential, established companies will need to fundamentally revisit their business models and cultures. Some of the big players do seem to recognize this — it may be one of Google’s motivations for creating its Alphabet structure, in 2015, splitting itself into smaller and more agile units. In a digital world, learning to fail fast is the key to getting big fast, and we can expect the big, structured companies of today to take a leaf from Google’s book and start to turn themselves into portfolios of unicorns.


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