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Meet the (real-life) unicorns!

By TECgirls co-founder Caitlin Gould

They’re rare, unique and seem almost magical – but unlike the mythical beasts, business unicorns really do exist.

A ‘unicorn’ is a word for a startup company that experts think could be worth a LOT of money – over a billion dollars, in fact!

A startup is a new company that’s trying to do something different or innovative. Because of this, it doesn’t always make money straight away. To keep the company going, the founders might ask for seed funding. This is money from other people, or a bank, that will help them grow. It can be as little as a few hundred pounds, or as much as a few million!

Unicorn companies are rare, but you may have heard of some of them. Famous unicorns include Snapchat, Instagram and Amazon. They’re so popular that they’re considered to be very valuable.

Unicorn women

Lots of today’s unicorns were founded by women. Here are just three:


Co-founded by Poppy Gustafsson

What it does

Think about when you get a cold. Your immune system fights the cold, and you get better. Darktrace is like an immune system for computers. Its software fights off computer viruses and online attacks by criminals. Big companies use Darktrace to keep their computers and data safe.

Founder facts:

  • Poppy studied maths at school and later trained to be an accountant

  • She co-founded Darktrace when she was 30 years old

  • She’s led Darktrace to huge success – it’s only 7 years old and already worth $1.65 billion!


Co-founded by Holly Liu

What it does

Kabam creates massive multiplayer social games - and they’re really popular. Nearly all of Kabam’s games are for smartphones, and millions of people play them every day. Some of their most successful games are Marvel Contest of Champions and The Hobbit: Kingdoms of Middle-earth.

Founder facts:

  • Holly worked with other founders to start and build Kabam

  • She created the Kingdoms of Camelot game and was one of its lead designers

  • She’s an experienced game designer, and one of the most important women in gaming


Founded by Emily Weiss

What it does

Glossier is an online beauty company, and a very successful digital business.

Over 200 people work at Glossier. Product designers and chemists create the makeup, while digital designers make the packaging. Plus, there are loads of other people making YouTube videos, running social media campaigns, designing the website, and so on.

Founder facts:

  • Emily began her career as an assistant at Teen Vogue

  • She started Glossier in her 20s by selling products from her blog!

  • Glossier is run by an all-women team – and it was funded by women, too.

Could you start a unicorn company?

Could you start a company like Poppy, Holly and Emily? What products would you make, and who would buy them? What would you need to do to be successful?

Why not email your idea to us at - if we like it, we'll send you a micro:bit Inventor's Kit and feature it in the next Sandbox Magazine!


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