Unicorn Definition

A Unicorn is a privately held startup with a valuation of USD $1 billion or greater.

Private Company

A private company cannot have it's shares bought and sold by members of the public. A public company on the other hand is listed on a stock exchange where shares in the entity can be freely exchanged.


A startup is focused on extremely fast-growth, which is usually enabled by technology. Venture capital is typically relied upon to fuel this growth.


A startup is a worldwide concept, therefore we use USD as the measurement currency. Because the USD is almost always stronger than the Australian dollar, an Australian based company must be valued at significantly more than AUD $1 billion.

Australian 🇦🇺

As the title states, to appear on the list, the company must also be Australian. To us, this means a company where the first work was completed in Australia and work on the company continues in Australia to this day. Unfortunately this definition excludes the likes of Zoox.


  • Envato is not a unicorn because it's value hasn't been established through funding. As soon as it can be confirmed, we'd love to add it to the Unicorns!
  • There are a couple of companies that have raised at valuations of over AUD $1bn but not USD $1bn, hence their status as Soonicorns. These include Employment Hero and Zeller.
  • There are also a number of public companies that currently have a valuation of greater than USD $1bn but were not valued at that threshold when they were private. These include Afterpay, REA Group, SEEK, Carsales.com, Domain, Zip and SiteMinder.


By categorising companies as Unicorns, we are drawing lines. As you'll see from the misnomers section, there are plenty of amazing businesses that we don't classify as unicorns. These lines are completely arbitrary. Over time these lines will also change in meaning and importance.


  • Private company

  • Startup

  • Valued at more than $1 billion USD

Not a Unicorn

  • Private company

  • Not a startup

  • Valued at more than $1 billion USD

Employment Hero
Not a Unicorn

  • Private company

  • Startup

  • Valued at more than $1 billion AUD (not USD)