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Unicorns, undercorns and horses: A guide to the nonsense

Its been more than a half-decade sinceAileen LeeofCowboy Ventureskicked off the unicorn craze. Noting in awell-read post for TechCrunchthat an interesting cohort of private companies worth a billion dollars or more was worth examining, the post brought the unicorn into its current usage inside of tech.
And then tech itself did the term a favor, building and financing hundreds more. Now unicorns swarm like fleas, and simply snagging a $1 billion valuation these days is something thathas been done in mere monthsand is a well-known vanity tactic used to juice hiring.
Anyway.
This has now gone on so long that many of us in the tech-focused journalism space are sick of saying the word. Kate Clark,Equity co-host and cool person, literally has I am so sick of the buzz word [sic] unicorn on her Twitter page. I agree with the sentiment.
But thephraseunicorn is back in the mix, so lets examine the hubbub.

Booms and busts


The term unicorn quickly became overused as startups stayed private longer by pushing IPOs off as long as they could, and the capital world decided it was fine. Bored capital was pooling in venture coffers where it was itching to be disbursed by the wealthy into the holsters of the privileged. And thus the companies that in other cycles might have gone public simply didnt, and the ranks of unicorns multiplied.


The jokes on us, however, as we have used the term on the order of six billion times.
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