It reminds me of something...like 2008 all over again, when everyone knew mortgage backed securities were real and as safe as houses, until they weren't. Uber, the alpha unicorn, is still courting investors, even though it is valued at $51 billion. Obviously it's more about using investments to leverage new investors and less about running a healthy business. Sort of like a Ponzi scheme.
But what's troubling me is the nature of their game. Or perhaps the lack of nature. The business categories of these unicorns are:
- Hardware, 6 companies,
- Consumer internet, 34,
- Software, 41,
- Aerospace and Defense, 1,
- E-Commerce 27,
- Healthcare, 11,
- Real estate, 1,
- Financial Services, 16,
- Entertainment and Games, 2,
- Energy, 1,
- Education and Media, 3.
There is no Environment category.
Only one of the 146 unicorns could be described as having a 'green' objective. It's Bloom Energy Inc. The WSJ describes them thus:
"Bloom makes large stationary power devices that take natural gas as input and convert it into electricity without burning... In 2010, Mr. Sridhar appeared on '60 Minutes' and said he expected a Bloom box in every home in five to 10 years, but Bloom Energy is nowhere near that goal. The company has also raised far more capital -- at least $1.2 billion -- than the $100 million that Mr. Sridhar originally expected would be required."
|Lesotho photo by Tom Philpott|
With all the green funds available from investors looking for a big return since COP21, we should be delighted. However 'green' might not mean the same thing to everyone, and some might not even see survival as a 'big return'.
Disclosure: I am the developer of a portable device that combines wind and solar electrical energy and stores it in rechargeable batteries. Project information can be seen at gensolaria.com and yes, funding is being sought.