Thinning the Unicorn Herd?

unicorn technology startups

Things were somewhat quiet among the unicorns until a spate of news that hit late in the week, including top down data that shows real waning of enthusiasm among the private firms that fill the coffers of these upstart enterprises.

Unicorns floated down to earth in the third quarter, a report from VentureBeat said Friday.  The cumulative tally of unicorn funding came in at $8.3 billion, down from $17 billion last year in the third quarter. And yet there may be some life yet in the firms of size and scope that are in the public markets, or aiming to get there in the very near term.

In the wake of its IPO, Coupa Software said that it closed its books on the offering, with an additional exercise of its over-allotment of shares, via underwriters.  That speaks to some demand for the firm’s shares even after a surge in the stock price.

And in the wake of the recent rallies in tech IPOs, it should come as no surprise that Snapchat is coming to market, with the financial trade press reporting that the issuance could be as much as $20 billion, which would, as the Financial Times reported, lead to a new type of unicorn – the “mega unicorn.”  Morgan Stanley and Goldman are to lead the offering, said the Times.  The $20 billion, should it materialize, would represent a big bump up from the $15 billion valuation implied by a funding round in May of this year.

Data analytics firm Palantir has come under scrutiny in recent weeks due to its hiring practices, where the firm is alleged by the Department of Labor to have discriminated against Asians.  Friday, the firm fired back against the suit lodged by the Department, stating that the agency’s statistical analysis of its process has in fact been faulty.