The 8 unicorns that surprised me the most

June 30, 2022
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Over the past few months, during my internship at Lunicorn Studio, I have had the opportunity to observe hundreds of unicorns. It's 2022, and currently, more than 1700 startups have reached the unicorn rank. Obviously, with such a high panel, there is something for everyone. Many have a project that could be described as basic, while others have had more than original ideas, sometimes going into extravagance. Some projects are surprising and, at first sight, it was not obvious that they would become so valuable. Of course the fact that these startups are there is absolutely deserved and it is not a value judgment that I want to make in this article.

So here are 8 unicorns that either surprised me or really blew me away with technologies or ways of doing things that are more than promising.

Oora : "Gadgets" have been developing for many years now. It started with connected watches that brought impressive functionalities for the time. Oora follows a similar but very advanced concept with a connected ring that captures all relevant information related to sleep. Then, via your smartphone, you can access a detailed analysis and personalized advice. I find this very interesting because this ring can collect a lot of information, from your heartbeat to your stress to your different types of sleep per period. We often take research or artificial intelligence as a measure of technological progress, but this simple ring is the very reflection of technological innovation by centralizing it all in such a small object.

Zoox: Many unicorns aim to be the first to design a car that is capable of being driven by artificial intelligence and totally viable in every way so that it can be put on the road with human-driven cars. Zoox is also working to create these futuristic vehicles. But it is pushed even further, Zoox even aspires to change the appearance of the vehicle, no longer a car but a fully visited rolling robot. The approach is admirable because more than an autopilot, it is the entire way of moving that is revisited by Zoox

Vayyar: Vayyar is video at the cutting edge of technology
There are many companies in the research field that are constantly duplicating their creativity in order to find solutions for tomorrow's challenges. Of all of them, I chose Vayyar. I chose it because the capacity of this technology still seems impossible, but also for all the benefits that this technology will have in various fields. Vayyar is a video system that incorporates machine learning and AI. It has the ability to detect a possible breast cancer just with video and a wave emission. The startup also proposes a product able to detect when a person has an accident. For example, an elderly person could have a stroke or even stumble, the smart camera then understands that something abnormal is happening and warns the emergency services. Intelligent video is also used in many other fields as this technology has a huge potential, the contribution in terms of health is colossal and these two features mentioned would never have occurred to me

Chief : In the image of a society where the emancipation of women is one of the most current causes, Chief also wanted to fight for women at his level. Her way of doing it is to develop female entrepreneurship through training and the creation of a network reserved for women. No matter what one thinks of a project that excludes men from the equation, the debate is not there. It is the success of this system that surprised me, because it means that this method has been preferred to many of the various trainings already established in the field.  Moreover, it means that the company's business plan, although not obvious initially, was able to convince investors to reach such a high capitalization of 1.1 billion dollars.

Dutchie: Dutchie allows the development of companies that want to sell drugs. It gives all the necessary codes to create a company with stable pillars, whether to supply, manage payments or any necessary support. It also puts on its site all its partners to get drugs on the spot or in delivery. More than Dutchie, it's the fact that a domain like this can have so much mass that is surprising. Particularly in a rather niché sector since the places on this planet where such a set up is possible are not numerous. As for Chief, it is the ability to reach such a high capitalization that is remarkable and that I found quite unexpected (almost 4 billion dollars for Dutchie currently). We can also mention the E-cigarette field which has also been able to obtain unicorns.

Flash and ETCP: We were talking about niche sectors when we mentioned Dutchie, we are in the middle of it with ETCP and Flash. Yes, both unicorns work in the field of... parking. To be more precise, ETCP is specialized in intelligent parking techniques, whether it is by optimizing the logistics to simplify the driver's journey but also to fill a maximum of parking lots, but also with more efficient payment methods. For Flash, the goal is to design the parking lots of tomorrow. More than just offering a parking solution, the startup wants to offer its B-to-B customers more versatile parking facilities that meet the needs of drivers as much as possible. This can include, for example, electric battery recharging stations or catering services during long drives. This is certainly the smallest sector of activity in which startups have been able to obtain such a high valuation and more than the concepts, which are very useful and relevant, it is still the ability to raise so much money that impressed me.

InDriver: The concept of VTC drivers itself is far from surprising and many startups are operating in this field as well. What I was pleasantly surprised by was this way of doing things that really puts the customer first. He sets the rules and this time it's up to the driver to accept or not the conditions. Many companies boast of a "customers first" strategy but the actions do not necessarily follow. Moreover, the story of InDriver, students from a remote Russian countryside with the need to travel, brings out more credibility as to why the startup was created.

This internship will have been an opportunity to gather an incalculable amount of knowledge and to discover more about the world that surrounds us, especially the one of tomorrow. Here is my non-exhaustive list of unicorns that have particularly caught my attention. To stand out in the next few years, we will have to bring something new so the best is surely yet to come

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