Unicorn Dreams

What this phrase actually means, and which Swiss start-ups are in the best position to reach this mystical status.

If someone dreams of becoming a unicorn some day, that person probably works in start-up. Reaching unicorn status is a goal that many companies hope to achieve.

What does that even mean?

In the business realm, a unicorn is a company, usually a start-up, with a market valuation (or estimated valuation) of more than 1 billion Dollars. Prime examples of the best known unicorns are Snapchat, Dropbox or Zalando.

But not every start-up has the requirements needed to reach unicorn status. One mandatory condition is scalability. The company must be able to increase exponentially.


exponential growth

Switzerland’s potential

Worldwide, there are 186 Unicorns, with the leader being Uber, valued at 68 billion dollars. In February 2016, Mindmaze was the first Swiss start-up to reach unicorn status.

Although it still is the only one in the country, Switzerland has great qualifications to develop more unicorns.

Here are three Swiss start-ups that have loads of potential to reach unicorn status at some point.


GetYourGuide is a booking platform. The idea is comparable to Airbnb or Uber: Providers offer their products on one of the GetYourGuide-Sites and potential buyers get a list of activities in destinations all over the world.



It’s the world’s largest collection of things to do. An estimated 224 employees are working in 11 offices situated in Las Vegas, Zurich, Berlin and Dubai, to just name a few.

The incorporated company was founded in 2008 and has an estimated value of 100 Million Dollars.


Teralytics develops big data analytic solutions. It was founded in 2012 and is part of the Top 100 Start Ups 2012 in Switzerland. The ETH-Spin-Off analyzes big data and collects billions of data points about global human behavior. Thanks to their proprietary software, big data can be analyzed within hours or minutes and the process is completed at a reduced rate.

Bildschirmfoto 2017-01-22 um 15.18.00.jpg


Their data products seek to give insight into untapped elements of human behavior by evaluating travel, footfall and movement data.

The Teralytics team consists of 40+ people, situated in New York, Zurich and Singapore.


The social commerce platform hopes to make the lives of intermediaries easier. Intermediaries can offer their products directly to retailers on the platform.

In addition to their out of the box solution, Balluun also offers a social network for intermediaries and retailers to get in touch and to interact with each other. Trading partners can connect to grow and extend their businesses.



Thanks to the most recent funding round last June, the start-up, built in 2009, has an estimated value of 50 Million Dollars. They are rumored to have been gone public.

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